Police Question Account of Missing Hiker Found in Zion National Park After 12 Days: 'Discrepancies'
“The statements that the family is giving and the statements that the park is giving don’t add up,” Sgt. Darrell Cashin told local station ABC 4
Authorities in California are questioning the story of a hiker who was found alive after 12 days of being lost in Utah's Zion National Park.
On Oct. 18, Holly Courtier was found alive by rescuers in the park half a mile from a trail. Missing for almost 2 weeks, Courtier was located after authorities received a tip of a possible sighting.
“Understand, there’s a lot of country up there," Sgt. Darrell Cashin of the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue told local station ABC4. "If you go off-trail, it will be virtually impossible to find somebody unless they want to be found."
Courtier's family told CNN that the 38-year-old had stayed close to a river bed as a source of water while she was missing.
However, Cashin said the river was not a source of clean water.
“If she had been drinking that water, unless she had some really high immune system, she would’ve been very, very ill and probably unable to come out on her own,” Cashin said. “She either took a lot of water with her or had another clean water source that was near here, but the Virgin River is not that source.”
Courtesy National Park Service
If Courtier had consumed the river's water for 12 days, Cashin told the station, there was a “high possibility” she would have died. Without any water at all, she would have died within two or three days, he said.
Courtier's family also told CNN she had hit her head on a tree and became disoriented before collapsing. But Cashin says Courtier appeared to have no significant injuries or severe head trauma when she was found.
“The statements that the family is giving and the statements that the park is giving don’t add up,” Cashin said. “Those are the types of questions I think everybody has. I think the place where that question can be answered is with her.”
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During the search for her mother, Courtier's daughter, Kailey Chambers, opened up to PEOPLE about their quest to find her.
"I refuse to give up on her because I know she wouldn’t give up on me," Kailey Chambers said at the time. "If this was reversed I know she would give everything to save me. I’m willing to do the same."
Courtier's family declined PEOPLE's recent request for comment.