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Searchers find hiker's body in Glacier National Park

by CHAD SOKOL
Daily Inter Lake | September 5, 2021 4:00 PM

Searchers on Sunday afternoon found the body of a 34-year-old woman who was reported missing Wednesday in Glacier National Park.

Jennifer Coleman, of Richmond, Virginia, "was found deceased in a steep and rocky area near the Continental Divide," park officials said in a statement.

An expansive search-and-rescue operation involving helicopters and up to 50 personnel was halted Sunday due to high winds in the area. Officials said Coleman's body would be extracted when the weather permits.

The cause of her death remains under investigation.

Her parents, Hal and Sharon Coleman, are leaders of the AWARE Foundation, a Virginia-based nonprofit that advocates for missing people.

"Worse possible news today, Jennifer has been found deceased," they said in a Facebook post on Sunday. "Many thanks to everyone for the kind words, prayers, messages. People have been a blessing to us. We are thankful and appreciative to the bottom of our hearts. No words to describe the grief."

Coleman was supposed to check out of the West Glacier KOA campground on Tuesday but never did, officials said. The search in Glacier began after rangers found her vehicle in the Logan Pass parking lot on Wednesday.

Officials didn't disclose the precise location where her body was found, but previously said Coleman was believed to be hiking near Logan Pass, possibly on the Highline Trail or on a treacherous ridge known as the Dragon's Tail, where a 20-year-old man fell roughly 500 feet and died in July 2020.

Personnel from Two Bear Air, Flathead County Search and Rescue, the Flathead National Forest, and the Flathead and Glacier county sheriff's offices assisted in the search for Coleman.

Glacier officials said calls to the park's tip line helped, too.

"Although the end result was not the one searchers hoped for, public tips were key to a faster resolution of the search," officials said.

This story has been updated to include a statement from Coleman's parents.

Assistant editor Chad Sokol may be reached at 406-758-4439 or csokol@dailyinterlake.com.