Police Continue Search for Experienced Hiker Days After She Went Missing in Wa. National Park
Samantha "Sam" Sayers, who turns 28 on Aug. 13, went out for a solo hike at Vesper Peak in North Cascades National Park
Police are continuing to search for a woman who went missing after going out on a solo hike in Washington State on Aug. 1.
Over a week ago, Samantha “Sam” Sayers, whose 28th birthday is on Aug. 13, went out for a solo hike at Vesper Peak in North Cascades National Park. However, alarms were raised after she did not return.
“Samantha is a very avid hiker,” her mother, Lisa Sayers, told the Huffington Post, adding that her daughter, who lived nearby in Seattle, had previously hiked there before. “She wanted to go off alone. I know people have said she shouldn’t have, but hikers do that.”
“When we say she’s a hiker, people think of someone walking through the woods,” her mother added, before explaining that the hike up the 6,220-foot summit was far more complicated than that.
“This hike consists of rock climbing, mountain climbing and scrambling,” she shared.
On Friday, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on the continuing search for Sayers.
“Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel continue to search today for missing hiker, 27-year-old Samantha Sayers, who did not return from her day hike at Vesper Peak last Wednesday, August 1,” they wrote.
Continuing, they added: “The Sheriff’s Office helicopter, SNOHAWK1, continues air search operations today. The Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit has a vessel on the water searching the shoreline of Spada Lake. Additional teams are on day two of reviewing the high-definition photos and videos taken on Wednesday by King County’s UAS (Drones).”
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office tells PEOPLE on Saturday that they are continuing to search for Sayers, who has still yet to be found.
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Earlier in the week, the Sheriff’s Office released a statement sharing that after Sam left for the hike around 8 a.m., multiple hikers reported seeing her on Wednesday.
“One group of hikers reported seeing Sayers on her way up Vesper Peak around mid-morning on Wednesday,” they wrote, before adding that another hiker also reportedly had lunch with Sayer and then “saw her walking south from the summit.”
“That individual has been working closely with the sheriff’s office over the past few days to identify the location of where they had lunch,” they added.
Additionally, they wrote that 16 organizations were busy looking for Sam, including the Snohomish County Search and Rescue, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, and the Coast Guard.
While the plan had originally been for Sam to check in with her boyfriend, Kevin Dares, around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, after an hour passed and he still hadn’t heard from her, he decided to go looking for her himself, according to the Herald Net.
After arriving at the scene, Dares told the outlet that he saw her car parked by the start of the trail, but after walking for two miles in the dark without finding her, he realized he was going to need help, which was when he contacted the ranger station.
Dares also said the couple had hiked together on the peak around a half-dozen times, and that while Sam was known to go off by herself, she had always been careful while hiking alone.
“That’s why this is so frustrating,” Dares explained. “For her to go off trail doesn’t make any sense.”
On Tuesday, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Courtney O’Keefe told The Seattle Times that the search for Sam has been one of the longest rescue efforts the sheriff’s office has undertaken in recent years.
“We are going to exhaust all the resources we can to bring her home,” O’Keefe told the outlet.
Sam’s mother went on to tell the Huffington Post that she believes her daughter, who was diagnosed with alopecia in high school, is still alive and that her whole family still hopes to celebrate her upcoming birthday on Aug. 13 with her.
“We’re staying positive,” she said. “Our energy is saying focused on Sam staying positive. We’re talking to her every day and she knows we’re looking for her. She will be found. She will.”
Sam’s boyfriend also started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for bags of food and survival gear, which rescuers have been leaving in various locations in the hopes of helping Sam survive while rescue teams continue to look for her.