Vigil held as search continues for missing Va. firefighter

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A candlelit vigil was held Wednesday night for a missing Fairfax County paramedic-firefighter.

31-year-old Nicole Mittendorff has been missing since Friday, April 15. About 100 searchers have been scouring the rugged terrain of the Shenandoah National Park, where Mittendorff’s car was found Saturday. Family members have said she is an avid runner and tri-athlete who might have been training in the park.

On Wednesday, fire officials say Mittendorff called out sick last Wednesday and didn’t report for her next scheduled shift on Friday.

A park spokeswoman says the search area encompasses about 10 square miles of the 300-square-mile park. About 4 and a half miles of five trails are closed for the search.

Wednesday’s search efforts – executed by land and air – concluded at sundown and will resume Thursday (April 21) at daybreak.

On Tuesday, approximately 80 personnel from the National Park Service, Virginia State Police and volunteer search and rescue groups concentrated efforts in the Hawksbill and Crescent Rocks area. Dog Teams from K9 Alert, Virginia Search and Rescue Dog Association, and Blue and Grey Search and Rescue were in the field with personnel and volunteers from six additional organizations and agencies including Fairfax County Fire and Rescue. A Virginia State Police helicopter provided air support

Friends and family have started a Facebook page dedicated to finding Mittendorff.

Mittendorff is described as a white female with blonde hair and green eyes. She is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs approximately 125 pounds.


At a news conference Tuesday, Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers said Mittendorff always put others first and is a high-achiever who is well-liked by her colleagues.

Anyone with information concerning Mittendorff’s whereabouts is asked to call Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026 or #77 on a cell phone or 911 or email at

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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