LOCAL NEWS

Woman Missing For 2 Weeks Found Safe In Zion National Park

Oct 19, 2020, 11:04 PM | Updated: 11:14 pm

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.

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.

“It sounded like they found her the other day, of course, she wasn’t that far from where she was initially said to be lost and started her hike,” said Josh Carver, conservation officer with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “In a case like this, we are just happy that the outcome was that she was alive, that she was found safe.”

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.

Like many, Phil Lowry, a wilderness expert and former search and rescue team member, was astonished Courtier was found alive  after nearly two weeks.

It was extraordinary, She’s really lucky,” Lowry said. “Outside of that window, you don’t expect to find anybody alive — it’s going to be a recovery rather than a rescue.”

KSL-TV’s Garna Mejia contributed to this report.

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Woman Missing For 2 Weeks Found Safe In Zion National Park