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Young couple falls to their deaths during eclipse hiking trip

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Posted at 6:51 AM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 15:03:34-04

A woman was identified as one of the two people found dead in the mountains near Aspen, Colorado on Tuesday.

Carlin Brightwell and her boyfriend, Ryan Marcil, were found dead below the summit on the north face of Capitol Peak.

Brightwell and Marcil were reported missing Sunday night. Her sister, Sidney Brightwell, posted on Facebook, asking for any information on her sister and suggesting they may have stayed near the peak for the solar eclipse.

The search didn't begin until early Tuesday morning, according to authorities, because the couple's plans were "tentative."

"Because the plans were somewhat tentative and there was no confirmed medical emergency, it was decided that the urgency to initiate a search was not great," according to a Sheriff's Office statement Tuesday evening. "By Monday evening when the couple had not yet returned the urgency increased."

On Tuesday afternoon, a helicopter search crew found the bodies, Jesse Steindler, a commander with the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, told the Aspen Times.

"Given where the bodies were found, it is probable they fell off somewhere near (Capitol's summit)," Steindler said. "Generally speaking, they were found below the summit."

The Aspen Times spoke to several people who said the couple was "fully in love" and planned to get married. They had been dating for six or seven months and recently moved in together, friends said.

"(Brightwell) was awesome," Hank Carter, a mutual friend of the couple, said. "She was always smiling. She was really energetic and outgoing. She could make friends with a doorknob."