Zion Hiker Rescue: Sheriff’s Sgt. Raises Questions in Rescue of Woman Missing in Zion National Park
OutdoorHub Editor: Keenan Crow 10.22.20
A woman went missing in Zion National Park earlier this month, somehow managed to go unseen by rescuers for days, and then suddenly was found about a half mile from the parking area where she was last spotted. Now, a sheriff’s sergeant who was involved in the search and rescue effort is calling several details of her account into question.
According to ABC4 News, Sgt. Darrell Cashin says several details about Holly Courtier’s story ‘don’t add up.’
Kailey Chambers, Courtier’s daughter, claimed in a previous statement that her mother had banged her head on a tree causing her to get ‘very disoriented,’ and lost her way. As a result, she ended up near a river bed where she thought would be her best chance of survival, Chamber’s explained to Fox News.
She also added her mother couldn’t walk more than a few steps at a time because she was so weak.
“This prevented her from being able to seek out help. She told me she was so dehydrated she couldn’t open her mouth,” Chambers said.
However, Sgt. Cashin made the observation that the river Courtier says she found runs straight through the main part of the canyon, which many people traverse daily. For someone who is familiar with the area like Sgt. Cashin to feel it is unlikely she could have avoided detection for 12 days, something certainly seems off, but that’s not even the strangest part..
Cashin also pointed out how the Virgin River was full of cyanobacteria from a toxic algal bloom. In other words, if Courtier did drink the water, she likely would have become very ill. And if she didn’t drink the water, she would have died within three days.
I’m no detective, nor have I ever been to Zion National Park, but the first time I read this story something didn’t seem quite right to me. Courtier supposedly left California in the middle of the night and didn’t even bother to tell a single family member where she was going. She had just lost her job working as a nanny, and always dreamed of traveling to see national parks, her daughter said.
Sgt. Cashin, who has over 20 years of experience on search and rescue teams, noted that park officials said Courtier was able to walk out on her own with little assistance and no ambulance was called for her head injury.
“If we found somebody in that condition with that kind of severe head injury, we would have at minimum called for a transport agency to check her out,” Cashin stated. “The fact that didn’t happen tells me that they did not find any significant injury to her that would’ve prompted them to do that.”
Maybe I’ve just been watching too much of Netflix’s ‘Unsolved Mysteries,’ but you can’t deny something seems odd here. I’ll stay with this story and be sure to update you if any new details emerge!