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Cause of death revealed for nurse who went missing while hiking

Ann Herford, a Michigan travel nurse who went missing while hiking in Calaveras County (Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office)
Ann Herford, a Michigan travel nurse who went missing while hiking in Calaveras County (Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office)

A Michigan travel nurse who went missing while hiking in California died from exposure, a coroner has ruled.

Ann Herford, 66, was reported missing on 15 November after she failed to return from a hike on the Arnold Rim Trail in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Ms Herford had been expected to work a shift at Adventist Health in the city of Sonara – but she didn’t show up.

Following dozens of searches by several law enforcement departments, she was later found dead on a steep hillside beneath dense foliage on 30 November, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office said.

A coroner ruled her official cause of death was exposure.

The area the 66-year-old’s body was found in was an off-trail area with a “heavy tree canopy and dense foliage,” the sheriff’s office said, with an elevation between 3,500 and 4,000 feet.

Several law enforcement departments searched for the missing hiker (Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office)
Several law enforcement departments searched for the missing hiker (Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office)

California Highway Patrol brought in an aircraft to help extract the woman’s body from the difficult terrain.

County coroner Kevin Raggio said Ms Herford was not wearing proper clothing to be hiking in such elevations, especially as the temperature began to drop.

The temperature dipped as low as 35 degrees around the time when Ms Herford was first reported missing, according to the National Weather Service.

An investigation into Herford’s death is still underway, but the sheriff’s department said it does not appear to be suspicious.

Family members reportedly told law enforcement that Herford liked to go out on short hikes, but did not have the skills to survive in the wilderness, according to The Detroit News.