On Monday, a search and rescue crew from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office and representatives of a nonprofit aerial search organization went to the Diamond Fork area of Spanish Fork Canyon in the hopes of finding a woman who had been missing since November.
The woman’s car was located in the parking lot of a forest service campground on Nov. 25, after U.S. Forest Service officials began preparing the canyon for seasonal closures.
Information was found to identify the person, along with camping equipment, but search and rescue crews from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office could not find anyone in the area.
According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, telephone information led law enforcement to believe that the woman might have been in Colorado. Thinking the equipment and car may have been abandoned, the vehicle was impounded.
In the following months, law enforcement tried to identify and contact the family of the woman but was unsuccessful. Former co-workers of the woman did not have information about the woman either but found information that she might struggle with mental health challenges.
When the crew returned to the area on Monday, a drone was used and on one of its first passes of the area that drone crashed.
A Utah County Sheriff’s Office sergeant and the drone pilot walked into the hills to find the drone and instead found a tent. The tent was believed to be abandoned but the zipper opened up as the two approached, and it was the missing woman.
The 47-year-old woman was reportedly resourceful, and chose to stay in the area since at least November.
“It would be an understatement to say that we were surprised that this woman was still alive,” sheriff’s office PIO Sergeant Spencer Cannon said. “The more we found out, the more we realized that she wanted to be there and while she was not completely without resource, she did have a small amount of rice and beans. At least one couple who came up there camping for a night or two a few months ago left her some food. She didn’t have that much, she had lost a lot of weight, she was very weak, but the fact that she was alive is no less than amazing.”
Cannon added that the woman was very tidy and everything was very organized at her campsite.
The woman was transported to a local hospital to be evaluated medically and from a mental health standpoint and she has since been released, according to Cannon.
“Who knows, she may go back up there,” Cannon said.
The release stressed that the woman did nothing against the law and resources for those with mental health issues were made available to the woman by the sheriff’s office.