UPDATE: Mother Who Mysteriously Vanished at Zion National Park Found Alive
Utah authorities were desperately searching for missing mother Holly Courtier, 38, who vanished in Zion National Park. She was last seen at approximately 1:30 p.m., on October 6, 2020.
Holly rode a private shuttle to the Grotto parking area and intended to hike the Kayenta Trail, headed to Emerald Pools, and was scheduled to be picked up at 4:40 p.m. She never showed.
Holly’s family reported her missing two days later. Authorities began their search on October 9, 2020, and found her vehicle in a neighboring town.
Her survival looked dim after 12 days, but the miraculous happened. Search and rescue crews found Holly on Sunday after a visitor at the park told rangers that they saw her in the park.
Kailey Chambers, Holly’s daughter, told CBS Los Angeles that her mom had lost her job as a nanny due to the pandemic and had planned on traveling the country in a van she converted into a camper.
Holly left her phone in California and she left no itinerary or mention of her travel plans.
“I just want to bring her home because I feel she is hurt and can’t get the help she needs,” her daughter Kailey told Inside Edition while sobbing.
With frequent posts on Facebook, and talking to news reporters, Kailey Chambers kept the public updated about her mother’s disappearance in Zion.
“I refuse to give up on her because I know she wouldn’t give up on me,” Kailey told People. “If this were reversed, I know she would give everything to save me. I’m willing to the same.”
Kailey had her prayers answered on Sunday, October 18, 2020, when her mother emerged from the park, along with family.
An official at Zion told the Salt Lake Tribune that Holly was able to leave the park, but no made no other comments about where she was found or her condition.
A statement from the family on HelpFindHolly.com was released on their website.
“We are overjoyed that she was found safe today. We would like to thank the rangers and search terms who relentlessly looked for her day and night and never gave up hope. We are also grateful to the countless volunteers who were generous with their time, resources, and support. This would have been possible without the network of people who came together.”
Zion park officials had partnered with K-9 Units from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and rescue crews from Washington County and Washington County Sheriff’s Office, using canine, aerial searches, and drones.
Officials had held a press conference on October 13 and said the good weather increases the odds of survival.
One of Holly’s four sisters, Jillian Courier-Oliver, told ABC’s Good Morning America that Holly remains hospitalized Monday morning. “She had lost a lot of weight and had bruises all over her body, “ said Jillian. “She hasn’t [eaten] since then at all. She’s had very little water, we found out.”
Jillian told the news show that bringing Holly home was her “only goal,” since her sister went missing — but she had started to lose hope in the past several days.
“Basically they [park officials] said today or Monday was going to be the last that rangers could be involved and help us,” said Jillian.
Jillian went out searching for her sister over the weekend and seeing the rough terrain, thought, “How could she be alive through this?”
“It wasn’t until two days ago I actually said, ‘I’m starting to lose hope,’” Jillian said to the ABC reporter. “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.”
A GoFundMe page was updated indicating over $10,800 has been raised but to continue sharing to help with medical costs in the days moving forward as Holly has no medical insurance.
“We are all just overwhelmed and grateful,” friend Kelly Kaufman told CNN.