A hiker who was one of the last people to see the woman who died alongside her husband at Yosemite National Park said that the woman was sitting alone on Taft Point at dusk on the night she is believed to have died.
Drea Rose Laguillo and her boyfriend Sean Matteson were at Taft Point on Sunday just after 5pm, and after learning about the deaths of Indian nationals Vishnu Viswanath and Meenakshi Moorthy realized they may have taken the final photo of the pair.
Laguillo posted the DailyMail.com story about the couple’s tragic death to her Facebook on Monday and revealed that she had a rough idea of when the pair likely went over the edge of the 800-foot cliff because she unknowingly captured one of them in her photo.
It was an image taken at 5:11pm that clearly shows the pink-haired Moorthy, 30, in the background of their photo at Taft Point.
‘There were only a few people there that day, the three slack-liners, us, the couple that passed and a group of four people – two of which were taking wedding photos,’ Laguillo explained to DailyMail.com.
‘The person taking the photos contacted us this morning and said that [Viswanath and Moorthy] were there after dark.’
No one saw Viswanath however, with Laguillo stating that his wife was alone the entire time she was in the area that afternoon.
She also noted that Moorthy, who had filled her social media with colorful photos of herself at travel destinations, did not look as though she was preparing to take a photo.
‘Honestly, even though they are known for taking photos, I did not see her with a camera at all,’ said Laguillo.
‘She was not dressed up or had makeup on at all to take photos of themselves like they featured.’
She also later remembered that Moorthy was without a backpack.
Laguillo said she just assumed the pair were there to see the sunset, and after she left Taft Point her fiance took one final photo in which Moorthy can be seen calmly perched on the edge of the cliff.
‘It gets dark extremely fast there, especially with the time change, it is very dangerous to not travel with a headlamp or flashlight at any time – even if it is in the daytime – because you never know how long you may be out,’ explained Laguillo.
‘I personally have been stuck in the dark there about three times unexpectedly, so that is the last place you would want to be as the sun is going down.’
There is a good chance that Moorthy and Viswanath were not aware of this, having never been to the area before, which is heavily forested unlike similar landmarks such as the Grand Canyon.
It is also unclear just where Viswanath was during the time that Moorthy was seen alone on Taft Point.
‘I never saw him and she was alone for the whole time I remember, which was a while cause it was the whole time I was there,’ said Laguillo, who spent around an hour in the vicinity of Taft Point.
‘Not sure if he was off exploring or taking photos.’
Moorthy meanwhile ‘had no expression at all’ said Laguillo, and was ‘just looking at the view and very calm.’
Laguillo said she does not believe anything sinister happened, and thinks that one member of the couple likely fell and the other went down trying to catch them at that moment.
It is something she thinks people need to be more mindful of, noting: ‘I mean my family and friends think I’m crazy for being there in general. One slip or trip and you tumble, there is nowhere to go but down and no room to even try to save anyone.’
And she added that the all-consuming darkness is coming far more suddenly as the seasons change.
Sunset is around 6pm said Laguillo, and by 7pm it is almost pitch black in some spots.
This is why, she explained, the death likely had less to do with a ‘dangerous selfie,’ and was instead possibly caused by two individuals who were unfamiliar with their surroundings.
The funeral will take place in the U.S. since the bodies were not in a condition to be flown back to India, Jishnu Viswanath said.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail – Chris Spargo