COURTESY THE WARKE FAMILY
Elizabeth Brem, right, is pictured in this Thanksgiving photo, with her husband, Monte, and their two sons, Aidan 5, and Ryan, 14 months. Brem died Tuesday with her cousin, Paula Gonzalez Ramirez, while hiking near Opaekaa Falls on Kauai.
Hikers killed by fall were cousins
The pair were enjoying time together on their first vacation on Kauai
KAPAA, Kauai » Cousins on their first trip to Kauai were identified by police as the two women who died Tuesday after falling 300 feet to the base of Opaekaa Falls.
Police identified the victims as Elizabeth Ann Brem, 35, of Encinitas, Calif., a lawyer and mother of two; and her first cousin Paula Gonzalez Ramirez, 29, a businesswoman from Bogota, Colombia.
The two were hiking along an unmarked, unmaintained trail, which is listed in a number of guidebooks, when they went over the edge. Two hikers found them about 35 feet from the pool at the base of the cliff.
The two women were just at the start of their careers and had a huge future in front of them, said Brem's mother and Ramirez's aunt, Anna Warke.
"You can't imagine what we are feeling," said Warke. "I'm just praying to God that I have the strength to live without (my daughter)."
COURTESY THE WARKE FAMILY
Paula Gonzalez Ramirez, 29, of Bogota, Colombia, died while hiking with her cousin Elizabeth Brem on Kauai Tuesday.
Brem and Ramirez had come to Kauai a few days ago to spend some time together, said Warke. Brem's husband, Monte, flew in to meet the two Tuesday night. Instead, Warke said she called Monte Brem just after he disembarked on the Garden Isle. She could not however, give him the bad news herself.
"The detective in Hawaii was very special," she added. "He picked Monte up and told him what happened."
Instead of a surf-and-golf vacation, Monte will be taking the bodies home to California, as family members fly in from Bogota and New York over the next few days, Warke said.
Warke said she and her husband are in charge of watching the couple's children, Aidan, 5, and Ryan, 14 months.
Elizabeth Brem was a doting mother and proud of her Latin roots, Warke said.
After graduating at the top of her class at Barnard College, she made Law Review at Yale. Right after graduation, the New York native moved to California to start work at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, one of the top law firms in the country.
She made partner at the firm's Orange County office last year and was appointed in July to the board of the California Coastal Conservancy, a California agency charged with protecting coastal resources.
It was her children and her work in the Hispanic community, however, that gave her the most joy, her mother said. Brem worked with school-age children and their parents to dispel myths about college and graduate school.
She was also fluent in Spanish and a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County.
Timothy Warke, Brem's father, called her "a rising star."
Ramirez, her aunt said, was a recent business school graduate and was working for a company in Bogota.
The two had been planning the trip for a year.
"I think, in my daughter's name, they should improve the signs," Anna Warke said. "If they have a path that dangerous, why don't they have signs?"