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‘This is gut-wrenching:’ Missing WMU student found dead in Norway

Posted at 3:59 PM, Oct 25, 2015

LAWTON, Mich. — A Western Michigan University student who was reported missing last week while hiking in Norway was found dead Sunday morning, family members confirmed to FOX 17.

Dallas Rauker, 21, was a senior at WMU studying business abroad at Hogeschool Utrecht in the Netherlands, university officials confirmed. While on a fall vacation, he traveled to Norway for a hiking trip on the coastal mountains.

Rauker was found dead Sunday morning around 11 a.m. Norway time in the town of Lofoten. Local media reports indicate Rauker was found with injuries suggesting he might have fallen.

The area where Rauker was found is considered a popular hiking destination but also one of the most dangerous, according to local media reports.

Rauker was originally reported missing on Friday after his parents grew concerned because they hadn't heard from him since Oct. 18.

A search was conducted but was called off Friday due to bad weather.

"You always have that question of why. How it could have it been different?" said Mary Quasarano, a friend. "Dallas lived a full life, and you don't see this coming."

Rauker's friends described him as a caring, responsible and adventurous young man.

"Last time I saw him was here, we all expected him to come back, and this is something you can't even fathom," said Taylor Bartholomew, who grew up with Rauker. "I'm going to miss everything about him and growing up with him. This is just gut-wrenching."

Rauker's parents boarded a plane Saturday headed to Norway to meet with officials. The family also set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations to help cover search expenses.

"This is the scariest thing we've  ever had to go through," Alicia Ruble, Dallas' sister wrote on the GoFundMe page. "We have no words that can describe how our hearts are breaking."

Dallas' brother, Garrett Rauker wrote FOX 17 Sunday night and said:

"I really don't know where to begin with Dallas.  Him and I always had a strong bond. He wasn't only my brother, he was my best friend."