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Gainesville hiker remembered as calming, inspirational
27-year-old woman found dead Tuesday near Yonah Mountain
Virginia Hill
Virginia Hill. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

GAINESVILLE -- A Gainesville woman was found dead Tuesday near Yonah Mountain in White County, according to authorities.

The White County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Wednesday morning the woman was 27-year-old Virginia Grace Hill of Gainesville and said an autopsy will be performed Wednesday.

Caroline Mutch recalled her sister as a bubbly person with a “great smile that could light up a room.”

“She always made everyone feel loved and feel like a friend,” she said.

Hill played on the Chestatee High School basketball team and stayed physically active, Mutch said. It was not uncommon, she said, for Hill to be hiking on her own.

“It was very calming, and she could gather her thoughts,” Mutch said, adding that the family believes it to be an accidental death.

As a middle child in a family of Army brats, Hill grew close to her sisters after moving around.

“It forced a closer bond because a lot of times we weren’t around other family,” Mutch said.

Jennifer Woodcock, who worked with Hill at Inman Perk Coffee, said her fastest time running was trying to keep up with Hill.

Woodcock met Hill when Woodcock was attempting to lose weight, remembering Hill as “extremely upbeat” and encouraging. The two ran together in a 5K race.

“I did my best to keep up, but she did outrun me,” Woodcock said. “But it was awesome because she definitely encouraged me to push myself.”

Woodcock and Mutch said there has been an outpour of support from friends and family after Hill’s death.

“She had a lot of friends on the square,” Woodcock said. “We’re all a really tight-knit kind of family around here.”

The department said Hill was believed to be alone when she fell Monday night.

A 911 call was made before 8:30 p.m. Monday night, and rescue personnel and the Sheriff’s Office responded.

No foul play is suspected.

The investigation is ongoing.