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Utah woman missing for 5 months found alive, camping in canyon after living off grass and moss

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 5/4/2021 Joseph Wilkinson

A Utah woman missing since late November was found alive Sunday in a Utah canyon, and cops believe she’d been camping out in the area.

The unidentified 47-year-old woman was reported missing Nov. 25, 2020, when Spanish Fork Canyon rangers found her abandoned car in the area, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

Previous efforts to locate the woman were unsuccessful, but searchers caught a lucky break Sunday, according to the release. They were flying a search drone when the drone crashed, forcing them to hike into the canyon, about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City, on foot.

a tent in a field: A woman lived in this tent in Spanish Fork Canyon for several months. © Utah County Sheriff’s Office A woman lived in this tent in Spanish Fork Canyon for several months.

A woman lived in this tent in Spanish Fork Canyon for several months. (Utah County Sheriff’s Office/)

During the drone recovery mission, the search team stumbled across a tent. They believed the tent was abandoned, until the missing woman poked her head out to say hi.

The woman told the cops she’d been eating grass and moss to survive and drinking out of a nearby river. Officials said the woman appeared weak and underweight, but believe she “knowingly chose to remain in the area.”

“Our hats off to her as a survivor. Whatever else is going on in her life, her ability to survive in undoubtedly difficult circumstances is remarkable,” sheriff’s officer Spencer Cannon told local Fox affiliate KSTU.

During the early months of the search, authorities spoke with the woman’s former co-workers, who suggested she could be battling mental health problems, police said. She was taken to a local hospital Sunday for an evaluation.

“We want to be clear that while many people might choose to not live in the circumstances and conditions this woman did, she did nothing against the law,” the sheriff’s office said. “And in the future she might choose to return to the same area. Resources were made available to her should she decide to use them.”


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