A college student who went missing during a weekend hike in New Hampshire’s White Mountains was found dead Wednesday.

The body of Emily Sotello, of Westford, was located on the northwest side of Mount Lafayette in Franconia around 11 a.m., New Hampshire Fish and Game said.

Sotelo wanted to complete a solo hike and was reportedly dropped off by his mother at a campground near Franconia Notch early Sunday morning.


After he did not return until late afternoon, his mother contacted the NHFG.

Crews in New Hampshire are searching for a missing hiker from Massachusetts

New Hampshire authorities have found the body of missing hiker, Emily Sotelo, after she did not return from a weekend hike.
(New Hampshire Fish and Game/Facebook)

More than a dozen search and rescue teams, consisting of Fish and Game officers and volunteers, spent the next few days searching for Sotelo, using aircraft and scent-tracking dogs.


Tracks and items belonging to the missing woman were found at the Lafayette Brook headquarters Tuesday afternoon. That evening, authorities said crews were conducting recovery operations rather than rescue operations.

When his body was found, an Army National Guard helicopter helped transport him to the Cannon Mountain ski area.

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According to the Associated Press, Sotelo was working on a goal to climb New Hampshire’s 48 peaks above 4,000 feet before his 20th birthday. He would have turned 20 on Wednesday, the day his body was found.


Fish and Game officials said the search was difficult as rescuers faced strong winds, cold temperatures and snow. Sotelo was reportedly unprepared for the conditions as he set out for his hike wearing a light jacket, hiking sneakers and exercise pants over long underwear.

“By Sunday evening the weather conditions were single digit temperatures, 40 to 60 mph winds, snow, and he was not dressed for these temperatures,” Fish and Game Major David Walsh said, according to the AP. “These are extreme conditions, and then he’s off track.”

Although Sotelo was described by his family as an experienced hiker, he did not have much experience hiking in the winter.

Walsh said his death should serve as “a warning to all hikers” emphasizing the importance of preparing for the unexpected.


“Know the weather conditions, dress for the weather conditions, have extra clothing, extra food, water, a headlamp, a map and compass,” Walsh said.

FILE - A view of a trail sign in the White Mountain National Forest on May 02, 2020 in Franconia, New Hampshire.

FILE – A view of a trail sign in the White Mountain National Forest on May 02, 2020 in Franconia, New Hampshire.
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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Sotelo studied biochemistry and chemical biology at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. He recently transferred from the College of William and Mary to the Nashville school, the AP reported.


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