Medical examiner: Missing Fairfax Co. firefighter killed herself

WASHINGTON – A medical examiner confirmed that the body discovered in Shenandoah National Park Thursday afternoon was missing Fairfax County firefighter Nicole Clardy Mittendorff, and she died of suicide.

Mittendorff’s remains were found more than a mile from the Whiteoak Canyon Trail parking area, where her car had been located last Saturday.

After her body was recovered, Virginia state police revealed that a note was found in the car, but police chose not to disclose that fact while still searching for the 31-year-old Mittendorff, of Woodbridge.

Throughout the search for Mittendorff, who was last heard from April 13 and was reported missing two days later, police had said they had no reason to believe foul play was involved.

Mittendorff’s family declined comment about the medical examiner’s findings, which were released by Nancy Bull, administrator of the northern Virginia office of the state medical examiner, according to the Associated Press.

Soon after Mittendorff’s body was discovered, her sister Jennifer Clardy Chalmers issued a statement to WTOP:

Our hearts are broken. We believe that Nicole has been found and is finally coming home, however not in the way we anticipated. This is not the positive outcome that we continued to hope and pray for over the past week. It has been a challenging time for everyone and we learned that there is an amazing community spanning the entire globe, full of love and support. It was this community that helped sustain us. We heard from and received assistance from dear old friends, strangers and everyone in between. Thank you to those who took time away from their own families to let us be with ours.

We wish to especially thank the Virginia State Police, National Park Service and the numerous agencies that used every resource at their disposal during our search for Nicole.

We thank everyone for their time, dedication and support in our search to find Nicole and ask that you keep our family in your prayers in the challenging days ahead.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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