New Hampshire Officials Launch Search For Missing 20-Year-Old Hiker

by Amy Myers
Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

On Sunday morning, a 20-year-old woman went hiking near Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia, New Hampshire. When she didn’t return that same evening, New Hampshire officials launched a search for the missing hiker. According to the NH Game and Fish Department, temperatures reached freezing levels last night, advancing the urgency of the search.

Emily Sotelo intended to complete the hiking route of Mount Lafayette, Haystack and Flume. Officials did not specify roughly how long these trails would take, however, they did mention that Sotelo was due back the same day. With wintry conditions quickly sweeping through the region, rescue teams worried that the missing hiker didn’t have the proper gear to survive the night.

Still combing the region for Sotelo, New Hampshire Fish and Game have asked the public to come forward with any information they may have. Officers urged those with tips to call NH State Police Dispatch at (603) 271-1170.

Sotelo is 5’3, 115 lbs, brown hair, blue eyes. She was last wearing a brown jacket and exercise pants.

New Hampshire Locals Believes Missing Hiker Could Be in Great Danger Due to Weather and Lack of Emergency Gear

In response to the news of the missing hiker, New Hampshire locals shared their own experiences exploring Franconia during the colder months. In fact, one person was hiking in the region yesterday and decided to turn back because of the weather.

“I hiked Garfield. It was windy even in the woods. It felt bitterly cold even ascending,” the local wrote. “Despite having adequate layers, a hiking buddy, and all the essential emergency gear in the bag, we turned back just shy of the top.”

According to the fellow hiker, their group was fairly experienced and knew the area well, “But we have not acclimated to the cold yet this year. There are so many variables to consider when hiking in the whites. I think we need to reinforce that it’s a positive to turn back.”

Meanwhile, others believe that the missing hiker’s lack of preparation may unfortunately be what leads to her demise.

“As someone who lives where she’s lost, I can assure you that the trails are in constant use no matter the weather. Too often, people don’t check the mountain forecasts and are woefully unprepared. From the clothing description it seems this may be the case,” one person wrote.

Another agreed, “Yea sorry I don’t think leggings and a brown jacket are going to cut it this time of year. Praying for a safe recovery. But mother natures no joke in the white mountains.”

Still, there’s no indication from police that Soltero isn’t alive and well. As the search for the missing hiker continues, the input continues to pour in.