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Mother of 2 dies after falling from Lake Tahoe waterfall

A 35-year-old mother of two teens died Friday after going over Eagle Falls near North Tahoe in California. Stephanie Espinosa slipped and fell 150 feet while reaching for a branch and was swept over a waterfall, CBS Sacramento reports.

An initial report from the North Tahoe Fire Protection District showed pictures of the area, and included a line, "this is a sad reminder to be cautious when taking selfies and other photos in dangerous areas."

But her brother, Nick Martinez, told CBS Sacramento that Stephanie wasn't on her phone.

"She was trying to enjoy the moment which is something she was a big advocate of," said Martinez.

Martinez decided to speak out "to clear up the articles" that he believes portrayed his sister in a negative light. "They were really disturbing," he said. "It really made Stephanie sound like she was a young girl who was just trying to take a selfie and fell off a cliff."

"When I go back to my furthest memory in life, it's with her," Martinez added. "She is my older sister but has been more of a mother to me."

Fire district spokeswoman Erin Holland told The Associated Press that witnesses reported the young woman was too close to the edge. There was no guardrail blocking access to the area.

This Friday, May 31, 2019, photo released by the North Tahoe Fire Protection District shows the Eagle Falls at Emerald Bay State Park in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. Firefighters say Stephanie Espinosa (inset) died Friday, while taking photos at a Northern California waterfall. AP/GoFundMe

Holland said very cold water feeding the waterfall is moving extremely fast because of snowmelt from record snowfall in the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains.

CBS Sacramento said Espinoza's family has set up a GoFundMe page.

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