Authorities in New Hampshire continued their search Tuesday for Emily Sotelo, a Westford resident who went missing Sunday while hiking in the White Mountains, officials said.
Colonel Kevin Jordan of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said that roughly 20 search teams, made up of staff and volunteers, were looking for the 19-year-old.
“It is a challenging place to find people,” Jordan said of the area where Sotelo was hiking Sunday.
Sotelo was dropped off Sunday morning at Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia and had planned to hike the route of Mount Lafayette, Little Haystack Mountain, and Mount Flume, officials said.
Sotelo was seeking to finish hiking every 4,000-foot peak in New Hampshire before she turned 20 this week, officials said. But the weather Sunday was cold and windy. She was last seen wearing a brown jacket and exercise pants.
“We still hang onto hope” that Sotelo may be found alive, Jordan said. “The good news is, the trail system is probably the most popular one in that section. There’s a lot of foot traffic there year-round.”
Sotelo’s family is “obviously very upset” but also hopeful that “she was able to build a shelter” to protect herself, Jordan said. The concern is that she wasn’t carrying the necessary equipment to build a makeshift shelter and start a fire.
Sotelo’s father, Jorge, said Monday that she enjoyed being outside and had done primitive camping before, but not in the bitter cold.
“Emily loves the outdoors,” he said.
“She was an experienced hiker for summer conditions,” her mother, Olivera, said. “Not so much in winter.”
Sotelo is 5 feet 3 inches, weighs 115 pounds, and has brown hair and blue eyes. Any hikers who may have encountered her should call New Hampshire State Police at 603-271-1170.