Police have said a woman who was found living in a flimsy tent in a remote part of Utah is free to return to the wild after a mental health evaluation, if she so chooses.
Search and rescue teams who were looking for her body found the 47-year-old woman alive last weekend, living in remote Diamond Ford Canyon, near the city of Spanish Fork.
‘Her motivation was, in part, for solitude and isolation,’ Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office told Fox News.
‘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 in a statement.
‘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.’
Deputies searched Diamond Fork Canyon found an abandoned tent last November, pictured, close to items that helped them identify the missing woman
The woman told rescuers that she had survived by eating supplies she found in the abandoned tent she moved into, as well as moss and grass, and was severely underweight when she was found.
The woman managed to survive temperatures that regularly hovered around freezing during the winter months, and says hikers also provided her with supplies.
Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office told DailyMail.com how searchers had set off expecting to find the woman’s body.
The drone search was part of a semi-regular hunt for the missing woman, and resulted in her being found through sheer luck when it crashed into a tree.
While recovering the drone, which was operated by a nonprofit group which works with cops to help track missing people, a sergeant and the drone operator saw the woman’s tent.
The missing woman opened its zipper, and stuck her head out of it.
The woman’s abandoned red sedan was also found in a parking lot near the Dry Canyon Trailhead in Diamond Fork Canyon, and was later impounded
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office found a 47-year-old woman who was missing since November in Dry Canyon Trailhead in Diamond Fork Canyon after a drone searching for her corpse crashed into a nearby tree
Authorities sent out a medical team to the campsite and examined the woman who had lost a significant amount of weight and was weak.
Cannon says that authorities were incredibly impressed with the woman’s survival instincts, especially in the harsh winter conditions.
‘She was resilient and manage to survive over the coldest months of the year, sometimes the temperature hits below zero,’ he said. ‘She’s an amazing woman. In my 30 years involved in search and rescue I have never seen anything like this,’ Cannon told DailyMail.com
Her disappearance was flagged up around Thanksgiving 2020, when a U.S. Forest Service official preparing for seasonal canyon closures found the woman’s red Sedan in a parking lot near the Dry Canyon Trailhead in Diamond Fork Canyon.
Deputies searched the area and found an abandoned tent red and gray tent and camping equipment along with items that identified the missing woman.
The Sheriff’s office was not able to successfully contact the woman’s family and she was never reported missing.
Detectives were able to speak to the woman’s co-workers who told police they had no idea where she was or planned on staying and described her as ‘quiet’ and a ‘loner.’ That led investigators to conclude she had mental health struggles,
The woman vanished in Diamond Fork Canyon, pictured, where temperatures regularly hover around freezing during the winter months
This is the tent found last November that cops believe belonged to the missing woman. She was found living in a second tent on Sunday.
The woman told authorities that she was living in a tent a camper abandoned and was found with small amounts of food.
She told officials she foraged for grass and moss to survive and had access to water from a nearby river.
Sergeant Cannon told DailyMail.com they will not release the woman’s identity because of her suspected mental health issues, and because she has not committed any crime.
The woman willingly stayed in the area since November and the Sheriff’s office says that other than overstaying the Forest Service’s camping allowance, the woman did not break any laws.
Cannon said that the Sheriff Office does not charge people for overstaying on campgrounds, only for making a mess – but that the missing woman had kept her camp site tidy.
‘The camping area was very tidy and well-kept,’ he said. ‘which is unusual in that regard, criminally speaking there was nothing that would have drawn our attention to her.’
He said that if in the future she chooses to return to the same area, support will be offered to her to try and ensure she remains in good health.