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Missing Virginia Hiker Found Dead in Glacier NP, Investigation Ongoing

missing virginia hiker found dead in glacier npMount Gould overlooking Grinnell Glacier Lake. Coleman's body was found in "a steep, rocky" location in the area. (Photo/Lyonstock)
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On Sept. 5, search teams found a hiker’s remains in a ‘steep area’ near the Continental Divide.

Jennifer Lee Coleman of Roanoke County, Va., had been missing since Sept. 1. The National Park Service reported that rescuers found and identified her body in the Grinnell Glacier Overlook area of Glacier National Park. However, high winds at the scene shut down helicopter recovery efforts for several days.

Ironically, the 34-year-old had a family connection to the AWARE Foundation Inc., which advocates for missing people and search efforts. Her parents, Hal and Sharon Coleman, lead the organization.

missing virginia hiker found in glacier np
Jennifer Lee Coleman and her dog, Ellie (photo/The AWARE Foundation Inc.)

In a tribute post on Facebook, the foundation wrote, “Jennifer Coleman had a bubbly personality. She was one who could light up a room just by walking in.”

The last known communication from the missing Virginia hiker came through a text message on Aug. 30. Two days later, park officials found her vehicle in the Logan Pass parking lot and initiated a search.

Sheriff’s deputies found her belongings at a campsite at the West Glacier KOA. On Sept. 5, search teams located her remains near Grinnell Glacier Overlook.

Body recovery efforts resumed on Tuesday, Sept. 7. On Wednesday, the National Park Service reported the recovery operation was successful. It involved over 100 search-and-rescue professionals across multiple agencies, including Two Bear Air and the National Park Service.

Her cause of death is still unknown. The Glacier County Coroner’s office is investigating.

The NPS hosted Hal and Sharon Coleman in a hotel near the park in the wake of the news. The family told The U.S. Sun that they had “no words to describe the grief” of losing their daughter.

The NPS thanked individuals who reached out with tips and information about the missing Virginia hiker ahead of the search.

“Glacier National Park is a big place,” GNP spokesperson Gina Kerzman told GearJunkie. “There are a lot of places to look. Not having public information would have made a tough search effort a lot tougher.”

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