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39-year-old Austin hiker killed on Franklin Mountains was wife, teacher & mother

EL PASO, Texas -- The husband of the 39-year-old Austin woman who died hiking in the Franklin Mountains amidst Monday's heavy rains said she was loved by her son, her husband and her students.

“She’s Christy," said Gabriel Mata, the husband of Christina Garcia-Mata. "She’s beautiful."

Shortly after 4 p.m. on Monday, search and rescue crews with the El Paso Fire Department responded to the Franklin Mountains after reports of a woman in a danger.

“She was hiking and a stream of water rushed her away," said Enrique Dueñas-Aguilar, a spokesman for the fire department. "She suffered some injuries and she did not survive.”

Mata told ABC-7 that his wife was a UTEP graduate and passionate educator at Akins Early College High School in Austin. Having taught there for the past fifteen years, he said Christy connected instantly with her students.

"They love her," Mata said. "They’re going to hear this and they’re going to be heartbroken.”

Mata said his family lived in Austin, but were visiting family in El Paso. The two loved hiking together.

Rescue crews are reminding the public that even for experienced hikers, intense rainfall can turn a safe hike into a dangerous one.

"It’s heartbreaking when this happens," Dueñas-Aguilar said. "The fire department’s mission is to save lives, so the moment we find out that a patient did not make it, it’s heartbreaking.”

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.



  1. School teachers should know better than going up into the Franklin Mountains hiking when sever e thunderstorm warnings for the area have been issued. Also be aware of your surroundings. Needless waste of life. RIP.

    1. Wasn’t the husband hiking with her? The husband should be a suspect in her death. He may have pushed her off the mountain. For now it may be the perfect crime.

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