The body of an Ohio mom who went missing last week in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was found more than two miles from where she was last seen, not on a trail but in a “rugged, heavily wooded” spot, said a release from the National Park Service.
Specifically, Sue “Susan” Clements was spotted by a search team “off trail” in the Huggins Creek drainage area, three-quarters of a mile south of the Appalachian Trail, officials said in the release.
“The cause of death is under investigation, however foul play is not suspected at this time,” said a statement released Wednesday.
Clements, 53, is from the Cincinnati suburb of Cleves, had been missing since Sept. 25, said the park service.
Elizabeth Clements, who identified herself as one of Clements’ daughters, posted on a GoFundMe page that searchers “found my mom’s body in one of the drainages off of a trail.” She offered no other details.
The GoFundMe account was set up to cover “unexpected travel expenses” while the family waited for their mother to be found, but Elizabeth Clements posted Wednesday that it is now intended to cover funeral expenses. The campaign had raised nearly $10,000 Thursday afternoon, despite having a goal of only $1,000.
The Clements’ family released a statement Wednesday thanking the National Park Service and 50 other agencies that helped in the search. “We will be eternally grateful,” said the statement.
Park officials said Susan Clements was last seen Sept. 25 around 5 p.m., near the parking lot for Clingmans Dome, the highest spot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The mother of three was hiking with one of her daughters on the Forney Ridge Trail near Andrews Bald “before the two separated with a plan to meet back at the Clingmans Dome parking lot,” said a press release.
In the days that followed, searchers hiked more than 500 miles of trails in search of Clements, said a press release.
Clements worked as an accounting tech at the Metropolitan Sewer District of Cincinnati, reported WKRC. She was vacationing in North Carolina when she vanished, the station said.