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Family releases statement after crews find missing hiker dead

Posted at 6:10 AM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 08:16:01-04

ALAMOSA COUNTY — The search for a missing hiker in the Zapata Falls and Ellingwood Point area, near Great Sand Dunes National Park, has come to a tragic end, according to the Alamosa County Sheriff's Office.

Crews assisted the sheriff's office to search for 60-year-old Joy Cipoletti, who was last heard from on Saturday.

The sheriff's office shared this statement from her family:

It is with the heaviest of hearts that the Cipoletti family says goodbye to our amazing Joy, who we love beyond words.

Joy's strength and love of life impacted everyone who knew her. She played a deeply caring, active role in the lives of her three children, parents, three sisters and four brothers. As an avid hiker and outdoor adventurer, nature was Joy's happy place. She shared this love of the Colorado outdoors with many people in her life.

Our hearts are broken by this sudden loss of our dear Joy.

Our family would like to thank the Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue, the Alamosa County Sheriff's Department and the dozens of other amazing search and rescue volunteers and professionals who dedicated their time and expertise to search for and eventually find Joy. We can't begin to show our appreciation and gratitude for how you searched for our Joy with the determination and care that you would show as if she were a member of your family. You are heroes to us and we are forever grateful to each and every one of you.”

Authorities did not have an exact location of where she was hiking, but she was in the area of Zapata Falls, the South Zapata lake trail, and Ellingwood Point, which is a 14,042-foot mountain in the area. This is east and southeast of the Great Sand Dunes National Park.