J.D. Simkins

Courtier had been missing since Oct. 6, when she was seen exiting a shuttle near the park’s Grotto picnic area.

J.D. Simkins  – October 20, 2020

A hiker missing in Utah’s Zion National Park was found Sunday nearly two weeks after she was last seen entering the park.

Holly Courtier was spotted by other hikers who subsequently contacted park rangers with a “credible tip,” according to a National Park Service release. The 38-year-old had been missing since Oct. 6, when she was seen exiting a shuttle near the park’s Grotto trailhead.

Courtier’s daughter, Kailey Chambers, said that her mother became disoriented early into a hike on Oct. 6 after injuring her head on a tree.

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“She was very disoriented as a result and thankfully ended up near a water source—a river bed,” Chambers told CNN. “She thought her best chance of survival was to stay next to a water source.”

Confused, malnourished, and traveling without a cell phone, Courtier’s state weakened to the point of being incapable of searching for help.

“She was unable to take more than a step or two without collapsing,” Chambers told CNN. “This prevented her from being able to seek out help. She told me she was so dehydrated she couldn’t open her mouth.”

Park spokeswoman Amanda Rowland said that Courtier, who was planning to travel to various national parks after losing a nannying job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was found “in a thickly vegetated area along the Virgin River” and “was able to leave of her own capability with minimal assistance.”

The picturesque Virgin River runs alongside the famed Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, where it is oftentimes in sight of the road.

After the arrival of rescue authorities, Courtier was taken to a hospital near Zion, the report said, where she is expected to begin a full recovery.

“She is still weak but recovering,” said Chambers, who traveled to Zion from her home in San Diego to help with the search. “We are slowly introducing foods. Her health remains our top priority.”

Search and rescue efforts, which were reportedly close to being called off, comprised emergency crews from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources K-9 units, Grand Canyon National Park Emergency Service Team, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, among numerous other organizations and volunteers who participated.

“We are overjoyed that she was found safely today. We would like to thank the rangers and search teams who relentlessly looked for her day and night and never gave up hope,” Courtier’s family said.

“We are also so grateful to the countless volunteers who were generous with their time, resources, and support. This wouldn’t have been possible without the network of people who came together.”


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