Yosemite officials end search for missing hiker
August 7, 2007
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (AP) ” Park officials have stopped combing the backcountry for an 80-year-old Indiana woman with a history of memory loss who has been missing for more than a week in a remote area.
Yosemite spokeswoman Adrienne Freeman said authorities are still investigating the disappearance of Ottorrina Bonaventura, of Schererville, Ind., but the remaining crews that had been searching the area were pulled out Monday.
Bonaventura was last seen July 30 when she was hiking with friends and decided to leave the group and head back to her tent at Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, a seven-mile hike from the nearest trailhead. The only food she was thought to be carrying was a few peaches.
“Because this woman was carrying so little on her body, there’s just not a lot of physical evidence to connect her to the trail or where she was,” Freeman said.
Bonaventura is described as 5 feet tall, with dyed blond hair and brown eyes. She was wearing canvas shoes and shorts and had no backpack or water bottle. Although she is an experienced backpacker, rangers fear she might have become confused while hiking alone.
Freeman said Bonaventura headed back to camp after remembering that she’d left food out in an area where bears and other wildlife are common. The food was not there when her friends returned, Freeman said, possibly indicating she made it back before disappearing.
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More than 150 searchers scoured the high alpine region full of exposed granite peaks and domes.
“It’s a rugged, rugged area,” Freeman said. “It is the backcountry. It has inherent risks.”
She said investigators are still attempting to retrace her steps and conduct interviews with others who were in the area, but “there still is no indication that there is any foul play.”