Local News

NCSU grad, mother found safe in New Zealand

Posted April 29, 2016 3:59 p.m. EDT
Updated April 29, 2016 11:27 p.m. EDT

— The valedictorian of the December graduating class at North Carolina State University and her mother were found safe in New Zealand Friday evening, according to authorities in that country.

Officials said Rachel Lloyd, 22, and Carolyn Lloyd, 45, were found safely by a helicopter crew in New Zealand after hours of searching.

A car being rented by the mother and daughter was found abandoned Friday at the entrance to a hiking trail in the Tararua Range on New Zealand's North Island, police said. The discovery of their disappearance came two days after the mother and daughter failed to check out of their hotel as scheduled.

Family members, the rental company and the hotel had not heard from either of the women on Friday, police said.

Police said the hiking trail is a popular day loop that is steep and can be deceptively difficult in places. Two dog teams were called in to aid in the search for the women, and helicopters and four-wheel-drive were also been deployed.

"One thing about the New Zealand bush is it often takes people unaware," Sgt. Anthony Harmer said. "It's a little bit steeper and a little bit more rugged than a lot of tourists expect or plan for."

Rachel Lloyd graduated from N.C. State with a degree in communications and won the Outstanding Graduate Award, according to her LinkedIn page. She was still enrolled to receive a degree in political science, according to the university. Police said she was studying at Massey University in New Zealand on a one-semester exchange, which started in February.

"Rachel was really smart," said classmate Daniel Kale. "Everybody loved her. She was real outgoing and really involved in the community."

Police said both Rachel Lloyd and Carolyn Lloyd were taken to a medical facility for examination after the rescue.