It's a sad ending to a weeklong search for an Ohio woman who vanished while hiking on the North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the body of 53-year-old Mitzie Sue Clements was found Tuesday afternoon, less than a mile south of the Appalachian Trail and a couple of miles west from where people park to visit Clingmans Dome, per a park release. The park noted in a Facebook post last week that Clements disappeared on Sept. 25 on the Forney Ridge Trail after she became separated from her daughter, who said she'd gotten ahead of her mother on the trail late that afternoon and that Clements never caught up.
The search for Clements was an intense one in inclement weather, with more than 100 people from dozens of agencies joining in, as well as canine helpers, helicopters, and search-and-rescue drones. A new cellphone tower was even put up to help rescuers combat bad service and stay in communication as they searched. Scientists toiled over digital composites of the landscape, and medical professionals consulted with officials on how Clements might be reacting as she struggled to survive. Bad weather, rough terrain, and thick vegetation also slowed efforts down, per WATE. "Our hearts are with the family and friends of Ms. Clements," the park tweeted Tuesday evening, thanking everyone who'd helped with the search. A GoFundMe set up by another of Clements' daughters has raised more than $5,000 that will now go toward funeral costs rather than the travel expenses her family initially sought help with. (Read more missing person stories.)