UTAH COUNTY, Utah (KTVX) — A woman reported missing five months ago was found alive in Utah’s Diamond Fork Canyon on Monday.
The woman had been missing since November.
On Nov. 25, U.S. Forest Service officials found a car in the parking lot of a campground in the Diamond Fork Area of Spanish Fork Canyon. Officials also found camping equipment and information that lead them to identify the person who was camping there.
Utah County Sheriff’s Office detectives and a search-and-rescue team scoured the area, but no one was found.
Police had telephone information that led them to believe the woman could be in Colorado, according to a press release from UCSO. The UCSO then impounded the woman’s car and camping equipment, believing they had been abandoned.
Over the next several months, UCSO attempted to identify and contact the woman’s family but was unsuccessful.
Deputies then contacted the woman’s coworkers and received information that suggested she struggled with her mental health, UCSO said in a press release.
Then, on May 2, a UCSO sergeant returned to Diamond Fork with a nonprofit aerial search organization in an attempt to find evidence that suggested the woman still might be in the area.
The aerial search organization deployed a drone to search, but the drone crashed. The UCSO sergeant and a drone pilot then set out to find the drone.
During the search, UCSO said, the sergeant and drone pilot spotted a tent nearby.
At that moment, the zipper of the tent opened and the 47-year-old missing woman appeared, according to a news release.
UCSO said the woman had willingly chosen to remain in the area since November 2020. The woman told officials that she foraged for moss and grass to survive and had access to water via a nearby river, a news release said.
Deputies took her to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation.
In a news release, the UCSO stressed that the woman did not break the law.
“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 UCSO said. “And in the future, she might choose to return to the same area.”
The UCSO said resources were made available to the woman if she decided to use them.