Nepal police search for missing Colo. hiker
Associated Press Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
KATMANDU, Nepal – Police are scouring a remote region in northern Nepal searching for a Colorado woman who has been missing since last month when she failed to check in after a solo hike in the Himalayan mountains, an official said Wednesday.
Aubrey Sacco, 23, of Greeley, was reported missing by her family. She had arrived in the Langtang area in the northern region of Nepal in April for a trek that was to last just over a week.
Her mother, Connie Sacco, said Aubrey had promised to check in by e-mail around April 29 but did not.
The young woman was hiking alone without a guide or porter. There were not many other backpackers in the area because it was end of the trekking season.
The police chief in the Rasuwa area, Om Bahadur Rana, said police teams were searching the trekking route and interviewing inn owners and villagers. Word has been sent to local monasteries, which are often visited by foreign trekkers.
Rana said the teams are searching for clues up to 300 feet on either side of the mountain trail. Police sniffer dogs will also join the search, he said.
Rana said Sacco had signed in before entering the Langtang conservation area as required on April 20. But she never signed out and nobody saw a woman fitting her description leave the area, he said.
The search was unable to begin sooner because mass protests on May 1 and a general strike imposed by the Maoist former rebels shut down all transport in Nepal until May 7.
Information about the missing woman was received only after the strike was over and a search was immediately ordered, police said.
Thousands of Western backpackers visit during the spring season to hike in Nepal, home to dozens of popular mountain trails as well as Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.
Sacco’s father, Greeley attorney Paul Sacco, pleaded with residents or those with relatives in the area to conduct foot searches.
“I will reward those people who find her,” he said Wednesday.
He said his daughter, who graduated from the University of Colorado last year with degrees in art and psychology, is a yogi and former soccer player who has traveled to Asia before.
“She may not be lost, but there’s no communication. It’s terrible. But what do you do? Do you wait a month? It’s so frustrating,” he said.
“Aubrey is a student of eastern philosophy, and she firmly believes that positive thoughts from everyone will fix any problem, and I really believe that,” he said.