Search crews find body of missing woman in Smoky Mountains National Park after 7th day

(ABC NEWS)- Authorities have found the body of a woman who went missing while hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Mitzie Sue “Susan” Clements was last seen in the Clingmans Dome area of the park hiking with her daughter on Sept. 25.

They had split up and planned to meet later on at the Clingmans Dome parking lot, but Clements never showed up, according to the National Park Service. Clements was last spotted on the Forney Ridge Trail, about a quarter-mile from Andrews Bald.

Clements’ body was found Tuesday afternoon about 2 miles west of the Dome parking lot and about three-quarters of a mile south of the Appalachian Trial, according to park officials, who offered condolences to Clements’ friends and family.

Additional details on Clements’ death were not immediately available.

 

“We had an absolutely incredible search team working day and night to find my mom,” Elizabeth Clements, Susan’s daughter, said in a statement after the body was recovered. “We are so unbelievably thankful for everything they have been able to do for us. Words can’t even express it. My mom’s body was found on the afternoon of October 2nd, 2018. These funds will now go towards covering her funeral expenses.”

Park officials began their seventh day searching for Clements on Tuesday. In all, over 100 people were involved in the search, including members of the park’s Search and Rescue team, sheriffs, local police and logistical support personnel. They’ve also used a variety of tools at their disposal, including two helicopters, five drones and K-9 units, according to Julena Campbell, spokesperson for the park.

 

The search teams were able to find Clements despite inclement weather limiting their search capabilities.

“They’re all out in the woods. [It’s] foggy and raining here now, so today we are not using the helicopters. We can’t use the drones,” Campbell told ABC News prior to finding Clements. “But we have a number of ground searchers and K-9. The dog teams are out working today.”

 

 

Campbell said earlier on Tuesday that the search teams were going to be focusing on certain areas “that we haven’t combed through as thoroughly yet. So we’re working in those areas today.”

“Our hearts are with the family and friends of Ms. Clements,” park officials said in a statement after finding the body. “The park would like to extend our appreciation to the many agencies and organizations that participated in the search effort.”

 

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