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Holladay teen dies following LDS girls camp hike

Posted - Jun. 29, 2010 at 9:56 p.m.

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HOLLADAY -- A 17-year-old Holladay girl collapsed and died following a hike at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints girls camp Monday afternoon. Now a community is grieving the loss of a talented musician and caring friend.

The entrance to the Heber Valley Girls Camp
The entrance to the Heber Valley Girls Camp

According to those who knew her, Sophie Barton had a lot going for her. As a musician, she had written more than 25 original songs and performed many of them on local television stations. She was also well-liked and well-respected, as evidenced by the number of people who attended a Tuesday night fireside in her honor.

Barton often performed alongside her sister Tessa. According to the bishop of her ward, she had plans to go even farther.

"I think she was very interested in pursuing a musical career and performing as much as possible," Bishop Scott Wilmarth said.

But late Monday afternoon, while at Heber Valley Girls Camp in Wasatch County, Barton collapsed while hiking alongside her mom and other girls from the Holladay 25th Ward. In and out of consciousness, she was taken to the Heber Valley Medical Center, where she died a few hours later.

"There's a big question mark as to what the cause of all of this is," said Wasatch County Sherriff's Chief Deputy Jared Rigby.

[Boy Smile by Sophie Barton]( index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=102620 916) object> [Sophie and Tessa Barton]( | [MySpace Music Videos](
The state medical examiner hopes to have an answer to that within 48 hours.

Meanwhile, friends and family poured into a Holladay church Tuesday night to remember Barton.

"I think Sophie was embraced by the whole neighborhood, community, our ward and had many, many friends," Bishop Wilmarth said.

Her talent may have drawn people toward her, but Bishop Wilmarth says it was Barton herself that kept them close.

"She was a bright light because -- not by her own interest in the attention -- but because of her kindness, because of the way she treated people, because of her unassuming personality," he said.

The rest of the camp was obviously cut short. Church leaders are reaching out to those who may be affected by her death -- Tuesday night's fireside was the second meeting in as many days. Grief counselors are also available.


Story compiled with contributions from Sarah Dallof and Paul Nelson.




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