Authorities believe that Tatum Morell, an experienced hiker, was “caught in a significant rock slide and suffered fatal injuries”

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Tatum Morell
Tatum Morell
| Credit: Carbon County Sheriff's Office

The search for Tatum Morell has come to a tragic end.

A group of hikers located the body of Morell, a 23-year-old hiker who went missing in early July, in Montana's Beartooth Mountains on Saturday, according to a statement from Red Lodge Fire Rescue.

"Rescuers believe that Tatum was climbing Whitetail Peak when she was caught in a significant rock slide and suffered fatal injuries," the statement reads.

Authorities went on to note that while the area where she was found "had been searched numerous times by rescue crews," her body was "extremely difficult to find" as she "was mostly buried under rocks." 

The hikers first noticed a piece of gear before spotting something amid the debris and contacting first responders, Carbon County Sheriff Josh McQuillan told the Billings-Gazette.

"After almost two months of extensive search efforts, we are relieved that she is able to be returned to her family," Red Lodge Fire Rescue's Assistant Chief Jon Trapp said in a statement. "The effort volunteers put into finding Tatum surpassed anything I've seen in my 17 years with Search and Rescue operations." 

On Sunday, rescue personnel were able to retrieve and transport Morell's body to the Red Lodge Airport, according to the Carbon County Sheriff's Office.

"We could not be more grateful and thankful to all of the personnel and agencies that worked together in this effort to hopefully bring some peace and closure to the Morell family, and could not have carried out this effort without all of their assistance," they wrote in a statement.

Tatum Morell
Tatum Morell
| Credit: Red Lodge Fire Rescue

Morell, an experienced hiker who planned to climb five mountain peaks during her hiking trip, was last seen or heard from on Thursday, July 1, authorities said.

That night, she checked in with her mother using an InReach device, a satellite communication device that allows users to send and receive messages.

Authorities believe she left her tent the following day and never returned.