Calif. Woman Who Went Missing After Going for Hike Found Dead on Trail: 'Shocked and Devastated'
A California woman who went on a day-long hiking trip and never returned was found dead over the weekend along a trail in an incident police say does not appear to involve foul play.
"We are all shocked and devastated with the news of Narineh's passing," her family said in a GoFundMe post. "She was a wonderful daughter, sister, and friend, who loved her family, life and nature."
Avakian's family said she left her home around noon on March 7, and told them she was going on a one-day hiking trip, but did say where and did not return.
"Per the family, it is common for Narineh to go hiking with groups and on solo trips — though lately she has been going solo," the release said.
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Her vehicle was found four days later parked at the Buckhorn Day Use Area along Angeles Crest Highway, an area that had recently been hit by a snowstorm.
Search and rescue personnel from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department were deployed in the area, and they searched until 2 a.m. as a foot of snow fell overnight, then resumed their efforts in the morning, police said.
Avakian's body was eventually found near the Mount Waterman Trail following a search that involved the sheriff's department and search and rescue teams from 17 different counties.
"Based on preliminary investigation, it does not appear that foul play was involved with her death," the release said. "An investigation into Narineh Avakian's cause of death is ongoing."
A GoFundMe page arranged by her brother-in-law to help pay for her funeral costs has so far raised nearly $30,000.
"The family would like to thank various search and rescue teams, including Glendale Police Department and all the volunteers, for their support," the page read. "We also thank our family and friends, as well as the community, for all the support we received and continue to receive in these difficult days."
According to HikeSpeak.com, the Mount Waterman Trail where Avakian was found is more than 2.75 miles long and is about an hour's drive from Los Angeles. The site said it "provides a secluded hiking experience."