More details have emerged in the case of Holly Courtier, the 38-year-old woman found after she had been missing in Zion National Park for 12 days.
A GoFundMe page created by Courtier’s family said she has suffered from mental health issues in the past and went on the hike at Zion while “not in the best frame of mind.”
“She did not intend to become injured or so weak on her journey,” the page reads. “Nor, did she intend for her trip to become a search and rescue effort. If Holly was not found when she was, she would have died.”
Jamie Strong, Courtier’s sister, said in an interview with Today that Courtier had lost between 15 and 18 pounds after not eating or drinking for 12 days. Strong also said that two days prior to her leaving for Zion, she hadn’t eaten for two days because she was fasting.
While Courtier’s daughter, Kailey Chambers, said in a recent interview with NBC News that her mother was near a river, Strong said she did not drink from it.
“She said she didn’t have anything to drink at all,” Strong told Today. “She was very well aware of the toxins in the river. There was a statement made that she said she set up camp because she wanted to stay close to the river, but we were never implying that she drank the water.”
The statement about Courtier being near the river was one aspect of the ordeal that raised questions from authorities. Sgt. Darrell Cashin of Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, which was asked to assist in the search for Courtier, told ABC4 that had she drank out of the nearby Virgin River for 12 days, she would have fallen very ill and possibly died.
Cashin also said he had found several other “discrepancies” in Courtier’s story, including the report that she had suffered a head injury and descriptions of where she was found.
“Understand, there’s a lot of country up there,” Cashin told the news station. “If you go off-trail, it will be virtually impossible to find somebody unless they want to be found.”
Strong said Courtier suffered a concussion and that she had planned to be at Zion for only one or two days to fast and be away from technology. Strong said her sister did not tell anyone where she was going.
“I really think she had a mental breakdown and was not in the right state of mind when she decided to take this journey and not tell people where she was going,” Strong said.
Courtier lost her job as a nanny due to the coronavirus pandemic, Strong said. Strong added that her sister has also been through some trauma in recent years and perhaps has not properly dealt with it. Strong said after she was found, Courtier checked herself into a mental health wellness clinic.
Courtier kept track of the number of days she was lost by writing them in black marker on a tree, per a photo in the Today article. Strong said that at one point, Courtier saw another person nearby, but was so dehydrated that she couldn’t open her mouth and call for help.
Courtier’s family drove her to the hospital shortly after she was found, Strong said. Earlier reports said Courtier was taken by an ambulance.