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Body of missing hiker from Virginia found in Montana's Glacier National Park

Jennifer Coleman's body was located in rocky area near Continental Divide
Richmond woman missing after hiking in Glacier National Park
Posted at 1:21 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 15:27:13-04

RICHMOND, Va. — The body of a Richmond woman who went missing while hiking in Glacier National Park in Montana last week was located on Sunday, according to the National Park Service (NPS).

"It is with heavy heart that we have to share this news. Jennifer Coleman, daughter of one of our own AWARE family, Hal and Sharon Coleman, has been located deceased," read a statement posted to the Roanoke-based group's Facebook page Sunday evening. "Please respect the family as they process their grief & loss."

Officials with Glacier National Park later said that Coleman's body was found in a steep and rocky area near the Continental Divide.

"Rescuers will extract Coleman’s body when weather conditions permit. Air operations were halted today, September 5 due to high winds in the incident area," NPS officials said.

Coleman's cause of death remains under investigation, officials said.

Officials believe Coleman was hiking around Logan Pass in the national park Monday, Aug. 30, or Tuesday, Aug. 31. Park rangers discovered her car in the Logan Pass parking lot Wednesday afternoon, according to a park spokesperson.

"Glacier National Park would like to thank the public’s response to the tip line," NPS officials wrote. "Although the end result was not the one searchers hoped for, public tips were key to a faster resolution of the search."

The AWARE Foundation of Virginia, which shares the stories of missing people and victims of violent crime, released information that the 34-year-old Richmond woman and Roanoke native was last heard from via text.

"Jennifer sent the text [on August 30] from Highline Trail/Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet in Montana," according to an email from the AWARE Foundation. "She was to pick up her dogs from a boarding facility the following day, but never showed to get them. A welfare check was done at her campsite by the local sheriff’s office, where they discovered her belongings at the site. Her vehicle was located in the parking lot for the Highline Trail."

Glacier National Park Spokesperson, Brandy Burke, told WTVR that teams had been out searching Thursday and Friday on the ground and in the sky, with K-9s searching through the trees. Officials said 50 people had joined the search as of Sunday.

Friends and family described Coleman as a tough-as-nails experienced hiker.

Coleman's cousin, Will Coleman, told WTVR Friday he was "lost for words."

"I was just shocked and worried," Coleman said. "She's very intelligent. She's very smart. You know, she's grown up on a farm her entire life. So, I know she has survival instincts."

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Glacier National Park tipline at 406-888-7077.

This story was originally published by staff at WTVR.