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She Reportedly Died Taking a Pic. That's Not What Happened

35-year-old mom was reaching for tree branch when she went over waterfall in California
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2019 7:41 AM CDT
Updated Jun 8, 2019 11:29 AM CDT
This Friday photo released by the North Tahoe Fire Protection District shows Eagle Falls at Emerald Bay State Park in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.   (Erin Holland/North Tahoe Fire Protection District via AP)

(Newser) – A death in California last Friday is still a tragedy, just not quite the one initially thought. Although it was reported that a 35-year-old mom—identified by the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office as Dina Espinosa, though a GoFundMe set up in her name calls her Stephanie—had fallen at Eagle Falls in Emerald Bay State Park while taking a photo, a clarification from the North Tahoe Fire Protection District on Sunday says that's not the case, per NBC News. "Stephanie Espinosa ... was a lover of nature and living in the moment. She was reaching for a tree branch when she was taken over the falls," the post read. The sheriff's office added Espinosa was "swept away in the very fast moving waters over the waterfall" while reaching for that branch.

Espinosa's brother confirms to CBS Sacramento that his sister wasn't snapping selfies, noting that she didn't even have her phone on her at the time. The fire protection district says the initial report about the picture-taking was "information we had available at the time based on information from bystanders and the [sheriff's office]." Its added warning: "Especially after this record winter, our creeks, rivers, waterfalls, and lake carry many dangers that visitors need to be aware of." The GoFundMe for Espinosa, which had raised just over $3,315 by Monday morning to be used for her memorial service, says she was "a beautiful human being inside and out" and "the core of her family," which included her three children. (Read more fall stories.)

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