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Missing Butler Co. Native's Remains Found In Mountains Of Colorado

BUTLER, Pa. (KDKA) -- It was a mystery in the mountains.

Back in 2012, a Butler County woman living in Colorado went hiking near Boulder never to be seen again.

For two years, her daughter back home has been waiting and wondering. But the waiting has ended with the discovery of remains just below the Continental Divide.

"Part of me kept thinking if she got disoriented she would come back down this way," said Katie Moore, the missing hiker's daughter.

As if it was land near her Butler County home, Moore has come to know the area along the Boulder Grand County border and Roosevelt National Park in Colorado.

That's where her 74-year-old mother, Pat Wallace, disappeared while hiking July 3 two years ago.

A fit, experienced hiker, Moore believes her mom had had enough of the group she was with after lunch that day and decided to take a different trail off the mountain.

"The fact that they tried to talk her out of the different route probably played a part in it because she was stubborn and nobody was going to tell her that was not a good route to take," said Moore.

For days, there was an extensive search of miles of the rugged Colorado landscape for Wallace. Moore says on day three there was a terrible ice storm.

"I knew there was no way she could be out in the elements and survive at that point," said Moore.

After 13 days, the search was called off, and for two years the days have ticked by.

"I was afraid it wouldn't ever be resolved," Moore said.

Then, 11 days ago, a family from New Mexico searching for a campsite found a bone they did not believe came from an animal.

"I believe it was divine intervention," said Moore.

The family got word out to the Forest Service who sent a search crew in; and last Friday, they found Wallace's backpack.

"The backpack was in close proximity to skull, arm bone and rib bones," said Moore.

The call from Colorado came this past Sunday. DNA tests are needed, but Moore is certain her mom's remains have been found, several miles from the original search areas.

"I was overwhelmed," said Moore. "I cried; I was happy. It was a relief to finally have it done, to finally know what I always figured. It was a good feeling; it really was."

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