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Texas teacher dies after rainfall swept her off during hike

June 30, 2021 GMT

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — An Austin high school teacher was found dead after heavy rainfall swept her away during her hike in the Franklin Mountains, El Paso fire and police officials said.

Christina Garcia-Mata, 39, was found dead Monday evening.

The El Paso Combined Search and Rescue team responded after the Fire Department received a report of a lost hiker around 4 p.m., according to El Paso Times. Her body was found around 6 p.m.

Garcia-Mata had been a teacher at Akins Early College High School since 2006. She was named the 2017-2018 Akins Early College High School Teacher of the Year.

Several students shared on their social media the impact Garcia-Mata had on them.

“Thank you for the best advice that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” Jose Luna-Espinoza, a student of Garcia-Mata’s for four years, said in a tweet. “Love you Mrs. Mata.”

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Officials said Garcia-Mata died after she was swept away by the rain and fell down the mountain. An investigation by the El Paso Police Department ruled her death as an accident.

The forecast shows heavy rain will continue for the rest of the week, including flash floods throughout the city.