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Searchers look for two missing Duluth hikers

DULUTH - A search is under way for two missing Duluth women overdue from a weekend hiking trip.

As of 9:45 today, the women had not been located, according to the Cook County Sheriff's office.

The women were identified as Maria Jacenko, 42, and Grace Knezevich, 23, both of Duluth, according to the Cook County Sheriff's office. They had left Ely on Oct. 3 intending to hike the Kekekabic Trail from near Ely to the Gunflint Trail. Arrangements had been made for the women to be picked up at the Gunflint Trail at 5 p.m. Monday, according to the Cook County Sheriff's office.

"The Cook County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Forest Service have conducted an extensive air and ground search of the Kekekabic Trail in Cook County but, so far, contact has not been made with the missing women, the sheriff's office said in a statement issued at mid-morning today.

Lake County also is involved in the search. The majority of the Kekekabic Trail is in Lake County.

The rugged, hilly trail is nearly 40 miles long. It includes some steep areas and beaver dam crossings.

Sheriff's Deputy Lief Lunde told WCCO-AM that volunteers aren't needed. Most of the searchers are Forest Service employees familiar with working in rough terrain.