Search continues for missing firefighter as tips flood in

A Virginia State Police recovery team helping in the search for Nicole Mittendorff reunites Monday at the a trail entrance in the Shenandoah National Park. (Courtesy Virginia State Police)

WASHINGTON — The search for a missing Fairfax County firefighter continued Thursday, as investigators announced that dozens of tips have been flooding in related to Nicole Mittendorff’s disappearance.

Virginia State Police say they have fielded more than 100 tips since the search began last weekend at Shenandoah National Park. Mittendorff’s vehicle was discovered there Saturday.

“State police investigators are still in the process of establishing a timeline of Nicole’s movements,” the Virginia State Police said in a statement. They repeat that the evidence thus far suggests “nothing suspicious about her disappearance.”

The National Park Service has closed five areas in Shenandoah National Park, in the search for Nicole Mittendorff. (National Park Service)
The National Park Service has closed five areas in Shenandoah National Park, in the search for Nicole Mittendorff. (National Park Service)

Five trails in the Whiteoak Canyon area – Limberlost, White Oak Canyon, Crescent Rocks, Cedar Run and Cedar Run Link — remain closed for the search, according to the National Park Service.`

Investigators are reviewing Mittendorff’s cellphone records, hoping to get an idea of where she was and what she was doing before her disappearance. Mittendorff called in sick for work last week Wednesday, the last day her family heard from her in a text message to her father at 10:50 a.m. that day.

Nicole Mittendorff
An undated photo provided by the Virginia State Police shows paramedic-firefighter Nicole Mittendorff, who has been missing for nearly a week. (Virginia State Police via AP)

On Wednesday afternoon, Mittendorf’s sister Jennifer Clardy Chalmers said data from Mittendorf’s cellphone was with the authorities. The family sought to have that data released to investigators earlier Wednesday, but Mittendorf’s wireless carrier initially refused, citing federal law.

Later in the day, Chalmers said “the information is now with the authorities.” She would not describe how the information was gathered.

During a news conference this week, Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers said, “We stand united; we stand strong, and we know Nicole will be brought home safely.”

Anyone with any information about Mittendorff is urged to call the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026 or by email at questions@vsp.virginia.gov.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

A vigil was held for Mittendorf on Wednesday night. The video, courtesy of NBC Washington:

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