St. Mary's Academy community mourning loss of recent grads kille - KPTV - FOX 12

St. Mary's Academy community mourning loss of recent grads killed in cliff fall

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Emily Lang and Emma Place Emily Lang and Emma Place
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The local community is mourning the loss of two young women who died on a backpacking trip when they fell off a cliff along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Friends say Emily Lang and Emma Place, both 19, were cut from the same cloth – two young women with big hearts and big plans, just starting their lives. But on Saturday evening, hikers found their bodies below a 150 foot cliff, six miles northwest of Timberline Lodge. Investigators can only assume they fell.

Place’s life-long friend Nathan Hoppenrath says she and Lang had been looking forward to their backpacking adventure.

“This was a big one Emma was talking about for a while. She was super excited,” said Hoppenrath. “Just the amount of love Emma has, she showed that to Emily. The two of them got along really well. They shared many memories together and they shared a beautiful friendship.”

Lang just finished her first year at Western Washington University and Place at Gonzaga.

Place spent the summer working as a counselor at Cascades Camp in Yelm, Washington. She grew up there as a camper. Assistant Director Rob Mohrweis says Place had a strong faith and a passion for service. The staff is devastated.

“We’re all just shocked and in disbelief,” said Mohrweis. “Emma was an incredible light. She had a smile that would light up the room. She was just goofy with a fun personality. She was kind an uplifting fr everybody that was around her.”

The teens graduated from St. Mary’s Academy together in 2016.

On Tuesday, Principal Nicole Foran sent out a written statement saying, “These remarkable, special young women left memorable imprints on our community during their time at SMA. May the peace of the Lord be with us all, and especially bless the families of Emily and Emma with courage and grace.”

Clackamas County deputies are seeking tips and more information from other hikers or potential witnesses about what happened that led to the teens’ deadly fall.

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