Searchers are combing the desert near San Felipe, in Baja California, for a 68-year-old woman originally from Seattle who went missing Thursday after a hike.
Kat Hammontre, a Nathan Hale High graduate, was hiking near San Felipe, Mexico on Thursday with a group of people when she reportedly hurt her foot or ankle about 10 minutes into the hike, said her daughter, Desiree Blair of Spokane.
Blair said Hammontre told the other hikers that she would wait for them to get back from the short hike, which led to a waterfall. But when the group returned, Blair said, neither Hammontre nor her dog Tootsie were anywhere to be found.
Her husband, Warren Sundquist, was waiting at the trailhead in a car, and told rescuers that she did not return to the car either, Blair said. A local search-and-rescue group and the Mexican military has been searching the area, using helicopters, since Friday.
Hammontre has lived in Mexico for about 20 years and wrote a blog, Kat’s Korner, reporting on San Felipe news. She also taught English to local schoolchildren and was well known in the area, Blair said.
Hammontre had worked as a paralegal in Washington, and returned to the Seattle area occasionally to visit friends and family.
Last year, she was treated for liver cancer, and the treatments had left her weak, although Blair also described her mom as “a pretty tough chick” who was a good hiker and familiar with the area. A smoker, she likely had a lighter with her and could have set a fire to call attention to searchers, Blair said.
San Felipe is about 120 miles south of the U.S. border, on the western side of the Gulf of California. Blair said she was getting together money to go down to San Felipe to help in the search.