Bodies of two 19-year-old Ore. women discovered after falling from trail

Emma Place. A photograph of Emily Lang was not immediately available. (Contributed photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. — The bodies of two women were recovered along the Pacific Crest Trail, approximately six miles northwest of Timberline Lodge.

The two women were Emma C. Place and Emily D. Lang. Both were 19 years old and from Portland.

Hikers spotted the women's bodies Saturday evening around 5:45. They appeared to have fallen down a cliff, approximately 150 feet.

Several local search and rescue teams were activated Saturday evening. Crews reached the location of the women's bodies later that night. The biggest challenge was finding the location; crews said the women were off the trail.

"Communication was tough when you're up at Mount Hood with all the mountains and ravines and the canyons they had to go into. They had to go down into this waterfall. It's tough," said Chris Schloe, a volunteer with Mountain Wave Search and Rescue. "I got a boy that's 18, so it makes it pretty tough. It's really hard for volunteers for these kind of searches; it's about as tough as it gets."

Close friends of Place say she is remembered for her passion to serve others and God.

Her father is a pastor at First Covenant Church.

“She was full of life and joy. She always had a smile on her face,” said Rob Mohrweis, associate director of Cascades Camp and Conference Center.

It's a smile that now lives on through pictures, many of them from Cascades Camp and Conference where she was an adventure guide this summer.

Mohrweis said he watched her grow up with the camp, adding she was always eager to help others.

“She's definitely been like that since day one of coming to camp. She's been young, energetic and full of life,” said Mohrweis.

Her energy was felt by a close-knit staff, who were devastated to hear about her death. They last saw her a couple of weeks ago.

“We're grieving together today as a community and mourning her loss. Comprehending that it's even real,” said Mohrweis. “I distinctly remember her on her last day coming up to me giving me a big hug, telling me how much she loved serving with us this summer and how excited she was to be back.”

Nathan Hoppernath, a fellow camp staffer and long-time childhood friend of Place’s wrote:

Emma was only the most kindhearted human being ever. She cared so much about everyone she came into contact with. She's been like a sister to me as i grew up with her in Colorado and Oregon when our families moved out here. She is the kind of person that will drop everything and comfort you if you are in need of it. She's adventurous, compassionate, and loves God with all her heart. She has a heart of service and cared so much.

Steve Pace, a close family friend of the Places, told KATU News that she had “a larger than life personality. She lived life to the filled and squeezed every ounce of it loving people and the Lord.” He added that she took every opportunity to go on an adventure.

Both women graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Portland. Both finished their first year of college, Place at Gonzaga University and Lang from Western Washington University.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office is seeking information about how they died.

If anyone has any information about this incident, or was on the Pacific Crest Trail between Timberline Lodge and Paradise Park around the time the bodies were spotted (prior to 5:45 pm on Saturday August 12th, 2017) please contact the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office at (503) 723-4949, or use their online email form.

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