Emily Sotelo Missing

First off, let's not bury the headline. This past Sunday, November 20, according to a Facebook post by the New Hampshire Fish & Game, 20-year-old Emily Sotelo was dropped off in the morning at Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia, New Hampshire.

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According to a story from NEWS CENTER Maine, Emily, who is from Westford, Massachusetts, was dropped off Sunday morning by her Mom. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department mentioned Emily's plan was to hike Mount Lafayette, Haystack and Flume.

When Emily never returned after her planned hiking route, authorities began searching for her. The weather conditions at ground level included chilly winds and even flurries in some areas of New Hampshire and Maine.

But up in the mountains? The weather was reported to be close to or just below zero. Add in the wind chill and the real feel was about 30 below, and the post from New Hampshire Fish and Game mentioned that Emily was only wearing a brown jacket and exercise pants.

She hasn't been seen since.

NH Fish and Game Department via Facebook
NH Fish and Game Department via Facebook
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Reactions to Emily Sotelo Gone Missing

You would think that upon hearing there's a missing hiker, no matter their age, experience, and where they're from, the masses would rally to try and find said missing hiker. And while that is happening and people are trying to offer helpful suggestions, there also seems to be a lot of amateur sleuthing going around.

The comments sections in multiple posts about Emily being missing -- whether it's the NH Fish and Game post, a post from NH news station WMUR, or the post on u local New Hampshire -- just seem to be going off in some true crime-obsessed direction.

When one commenter suggested that hikers may consider not going on trails alone as it could be safe, a 100-comment thread was sparked focusing on that topic, with responses including it possibly being safer to hike alone, hiking alone is safer than living alone, and hiking alone being safer than walking to a car after work at night.

And then there's the rabbit hole people have been jumping down pointing the finger at Emily's mother having a hand in Emily's disappearance or knowing more than she's letting on.

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And it's not to say there's not a debate about the safety of solo hiking compared to everyday life, or that the entire situation doesn't seem a bit odd, but that shouldn't be the focus right now.

Debate whether or not hiking up a mountain when the winter weather comes closer to striking us by the day, whether or not dropping a 20-year-old off to hike for the day by herself in the mountains in frigid weather was a wise decision or not should come after.

The main focus right now should be on finding Emily, and hopefully finding Emily safe and sound. Because at the end of the day, an entire family and entire group of friends -- hell, an entire community -- is missing one of their own right now.

THAT should be the focus.

According to NH Fish and Game, Emily is 5'3 and about 115 lbs with brown hair and blue eyes.

If you saw Emily on the trails at all Sunday morning/afternoon or have any information that may help out, New Hampshire State Police are urging you to contact them at 603-271-1170.

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