The body of a Massachusetts woman who went missing while hiking Franconia Ridge was found Wednesday morning on what would have been her 20th birthday.

Emily Sotelo, 20, of Westford, Massachusetts, became separated from her group at the Lafayette Place campground in Franconia Sunday, and did not return at the designated time. NH Fish and Game was notified, and a search was started.

A search involving helicopters and dozens of rescue workers on the ground was hampered by high winds, cold temperatures, and blowing snow. Sotelo was not properly dressed for conditions, and wearing exercise pants.

Members of the Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue look for Emily Sotelo
Members of the Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue look for Emily Sotelo (Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue)

NH Fish and Game said a ground crew found her body on the northwest side of Mount Lafayette. Items belonging to Sotelo were found at the headwaters of Lafayette Brook on Tuesday. A New Hampshire Army National Guard helicopter flew Sotelo's body to the Cannon Mountain Ski Area.

The Boston Globe reported that Sotelo was trying to hike all 48 of the 4,000-foot mountains in New Hampshire before her 20th birthday, which was Wednesday. Her family told WCVB TV that she was an experienced hiker, but not in winter conditions.

Sotelo was attending Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team, Mountain Rescue Service, Lakes Region Search and Rescue, Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team, New England K-9, NH Army National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, and the White Mountain National Forest were all part of the search for Sotelo.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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