The 47-year-old woman, who was not named, was reported missing on Nov. 25 in the Diamond Fork area of Spanish Fork Canyon after her car was found abandoned at a campground parking lot, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
“Believing the car and camping equipment might have been abandoned, Deputies impounded the car and took the camping equipment for safekeeping,” said the release. “Over the next several months efforts were made to identify and contact family without success.” After obtaining more information, officials later determined that the woman “might struggle with mental health challenges,” the release said.
But on Sunday, when a sheriff’s deputy was carrying out a search via drone, the drone crashed, forcing the deputy to attempt to retrieve it.
“As they walked into the hills they found a tent that they believed was abandoned. About then the zipper of the tent opened and there was the woman … officials searched for in December 2020,” the news release said.
They said the woman “lost a significant amount of weight and was weak” and apparently was “also remorseful.”
“We now believe she knowingly chose to remain in the area over the months since November 2020,” according to the office.
To survive, the woman foraged on grass and moss and also had access to enough water from a nearby river, the office said.
“Because of the woman’s condition, and information in their discussion with her, Deputies took her to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation,” the news release added. “But 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.”