Duluth native Cornelius Kees Brenninkmeyer, whose family once owned the Duluth-based Mauriceschain of clothing stores, was found dead last week in a snow cave collapse in the Canadian Rockies.

The bodies of Brenninkmeyer, 25, and girlfriend Claire Dixon, 27, were found covered in snow in Yoho National Park in British Columbia, about 100 miles northwest of Calgary.

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The couple, experienced mountaineers, were on a monthlong backcountry ski-touring trek and may have been dead since Jan. 4. The couple was reported overdue to wardens by family members Tuesday night.

Searchers began scouring the Wapta Icefields area near the Alberta-British Columbia border by helicopter on Wednesday, first spotting a shovel, then the couple's bodies, at 9,600 feet near Mount Collie.

Because of inclement weather, the bodies were not recovered until Sunday morning, Janet Klock, spokeswoman for Parks Canada, told the News Tribune Sunday afternoon.

Rescue authorities said the collapse of the snow cave, which mountaineers commonly use for shelter, apparently was a freak accident.

Family friends said Brenninkmeyer was born in Duluth when his parents, Hans and Susie Brenninkmeyer, lived here. The family moved to Toronto when Cornelius Brenninkmeyer was a boy attending Holy Rosary School in Duluth, friends of the family said Sunday.

The Brenninkmeyer family, originally from the Netherlands, owned American Retail Group, which owned Maurcies women's clothing stores. The Maurices chain was founded and based in Duluth. The family, which sold Maurices Inc. to Dress Barn in 2005, still lives in Toronto.