Mount Rainier body ID’d as Atlanta woman

Body found on mountain believed to be Atlanta woman

A body found on Washington state’s Mount Rainier was identified Monday as that of an Atlanta woman missing since January.

Michelle Trojanowski, 30, was one of four climbers who disappeared during storms on the mountain. Her friend, Mark Vucich, 37, of San Diego was found in August.

A spokeswoman at the Pierce County, Wash., medical examiner’s office confirmed the one of two bodies found Friday was Trojanowski.

Mount Rainier National Park spokesman Kevin Bacher said in a recorded message that a body was spotted from a helicopter earlier in the week near the top of a part of the park known as Paradise Glacier. Another body was found under snow nearby, he said, but the fourth person has not yet been found.

Along with Trojanowski, the other missing climbers were Sork “Eric” Yang, 52, of Springfield, Ore., and Seol Hee Jin, 52, of South Korea.

Trojanowski's best friend, Meg Rumpell, told Channel 2 Action News, "She was an inspiring, inspiring person. The story of her life is one that inspires people to get up and do something for someone other (than) themselves, and I know personally I am one of those people that's been touched and inspired to do that."

Trojanowski and Vucich started hiking to Muir Snowfield, 10,000 feet above sea level, on Jan. 12. They were expected back three days later, on Jan. 15 — a day after the first snowstorm hit the mountain — and were reported overdue when they did not show up. Two more storms quickly followed.

At that height, snow depths of up to 20 feet were reported, with drifts reaching 50 feet. A break in the weather Jan. 23 allowed mountaineers on the ground and searchers in a helicopter to look for the missing visitors, but they found no sign of them.

Officials at first were hopeful that Trojanowski and Vucich were prepared for cold-weather camping, having taken a sturdy tent, good sleeping bags, food and a stove. But those hopes faded as time passed.

Online memorials to Trojanowski speak of her thoughtfulness and generosity. Trojanowski volunteered with Lazarus Ministries, a group dedicated to providing for the homeless, and was involved with her church.

On a page dedicated to her memory, friends at Lazarus recall her as someone efficient and capable, with a huge heart. Trojanowski was someone who remembered everyone’s name and story, they said, and made everyone feel special. They tell of her showing up with tea and soup for a new friend who was ill, or rushing to make chili for a service outing.