SEATTLE (AP) — The families of two 19-year-old Seattle women missing in Nepal since that country’s devastating April 25 earthquake said Thursday their own on-site investigation has convinced them that the teens are dead.
Sydney Schumacher’s brothers, Will and Paul, searched the route of the girls’ trek in Nepal’s Langtang region and saw “the immense and unfathomable destruction and devastation,” Bailey Meola’s mother, Rachelle Brown, said in an email statement written on behalf of both families.
“It was clear that there was no chance our girls had survived,” she said, adding “there are no words to describe the depths of our sorrow and loss.”
While the families hope for final confirmation from the U.S. Embassy, “and to receive our girls’ remains, we haven’t, and may never,” the statement said.
The two friends had been traveling after graduating from Seattle’s Garfield High School in 2014.
The families raised more than $51,000 on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to help them search for the women and used some of that money to send family members to the area. Brown wrote that “in due time,” the families will say how they will use the rest of the donations “to aid the people and economy of the Langtang Valley region in the names of our beautiful daughters.”
More than 100 people attended a candlelight vigil for the teens last week on a Seattle beach.
“We have been profoundly moved by the support and love we have received from near and from far, far away,” the families wrote.
Nepal has been hit by two powerful earthquakes in less than three weeks.
On Tuesday, a magnitude-7.3 quake killed at least 110 people and injured more than 2,300. The magnitude-7.8 earthquake that hit April 25 killed more than 8,150 people, injured tens of thousands more and left hundreds of thousands homeless.