Mom dies trying to save toddler son during hiking fall

Horesetail Falls as seen on the USDA Forest Service website, June 5, 2015

CORBETT, OR (KOIN) – A mother of four died in a fall at Horsetail Falls Trail when she jumped to rescue her 3-year-old son who fell down an embankment.

Stephanie Cohen was hiking in the Columbia River Gorge with her family and friends Sunday afternoon when her young son fell. When she went to rescue the boy she fell and suffered fatal injuries.

The 37-year-old Portland woman and her son each fell about 60 feet, then another 20 to 30 feet on a steep slope.

Paramedics tried lifesaving efforts as Cohen was brought up to the trail and then taken down to the parking area. But she died on the trailhead, Multnomah County Capt. Steve Alexander said.

‘I believe she did save him’

Stephanie Cohen was the daughter of Lisa Schroeder, the owner of the popular Portland restaurant, Mother’s Bistro.

Cohen’s best friend, Danielle Dalbok, told KOIN 6 News she was a devoted mother of 4 — including twin 3-year-olds — who put her family first to the very end.

Cohen was on a day hike with her children and her longtime partner, Jayson Lewis. His mother and Dalbok’s 13-year-old son were also on the day trip.

“They made a bunch of sandwiches and they got there and ate sandwiches and did the normal, what they all do when they go (hiking,)” Dalbok said.

The tragedy happened on their way down.

“One of the twins fell off the side and she jumped, jumped right after him,” Dalbok said. She wasn’t surprised Cohen would jump to get him “because it’s Stephanie.”

The 3-year-old was injured, but Dalbok said he’s OK and will likely return home later Monday.

“I believe she did save him,” Dalbok said. “What makes it interesting is that she didn’t pass until she knew he was OK and that kind of, for me, says it all. She needed to see he was OK, and she sat up and saw him and laid back down and passed shortly thereafter.”

Lewis was holding Cohen as she mumbled “her son’s name over and over and over again. And she was able to just rest when she saw him and he was OK.”

She described Stephanie Cohen as compassionate, kind and loving, like a sister. Dalbok’s son, she said, considered Cohen “his second mom.”

“Stephanie loves her family, loved her family. That’s what is most important to her and her whole world.”

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