A Utah County woman who had been missing for more than five months was found unharmed in a tent in Spanish Fork Canyon — because a drone being used to search for her crashed near her camp.
On Nov. 25, the 47-year-old woman’s car was found in a parking lot at the Dry Canyon Trailhead in the Diamond Fork area. Utah County Sheriff’s Office detectives and search and rescue personnel were unable to find anyone in the area, and “telephone information” led them to believe the woman might be in Colorado. Believing the car was abandoned, they impounded it.
According to the sheriff’s office, attempts to locate and contact the woman’s family members since November have been unsuccessful, and her former coworkers were unable to provide any information about where she might be.
Search and rescue teams returned to the area several times, both on foot and in aircraft, to search for her, without success.
On Sunday afternoon, the sheriff’s search and rescue coordinator returned to the area with members of a nonprofit aerial search organization. The group’s drone crashed “during one of the first passes,” according to police, and when the officer and the pilot set out to search for it, they came across a tent they believed was abandoned — until the woman unzipped it.
Police said she “knowingly chose to remain in the area” since November. She was weak and had lost “a significant amount of weight.” The woman told officers she had a “small amount” of food, “foraged for grass and moss to subsist,” and drank water from a nearby river. She said campers also gave her some food.
The woman was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.