SPRINGDALE, Utah (AP) — A California woman who was missing for about two weeks in Zion National Park in Utah has been found and left the park with her family who had feared the worst, authorities said.
Holly Suzanne Courtier, 38, of Los Angeles, was found Sunday by search and rescue crews in a thickly vegetated area along the Virgin River after park rangers received a tip that she had been seen in the park, Zion National Park officials said in a news release Monday. They didn’t say anything about her condition or what had happened.
Courtier’s daughter, Kailey Chambers, told CNN that her mother hurt her head early in her hike and became disoriented.
“She injured her head on a tree,” Chambers said in a text exchange. “She was very disoriented as a result and thankfully ended up near a water source — a river bed. She thought her best chance of survival was to stay next to a water source.”
Chambers said Courtier was so weak she was unable to take more than a step or two without collapsing.
“This prevented her from being able to seek out help. She told me she was so dehydrated she couldn’t open her mouth,” Chambers said.
Crews began searching for Courtier after she didn’t show up for her scheduled pickup in the park by a private shuttle on Oct. 6, authorities said. The park and nearby town of Springdale were filled with missing person signs featuring pictures of Courtier and the clothes she was wearing.
Her sister, Jillian Courtier-Oliver, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that her sister is recovering after being found with bruises all over her body and losing weight.
Courtier-Oliver said she had started losing hope her sister was alive in a park known for its towering red rock cliffs that has several hikes that take people along narrow trails with steep drops nearby.
“It wasn’t until two days ago I actually said, ‘I’m starting to lose hope,’ ” she said. “They had a lot of cadaver dogs out, and I knew what they were looking for was a body, not a person. It was the first time I actually started losing hope. And I went with up with so much help knowing that we needed to find her.”
The park released a statement attributed to the family.
“We would like to thank the rangers and search teams who relentlessly looked for her day and night and never gave up hope. We are also so grateful to the countless volunteers who were generous with their time, resources and support,” her family said in statement.