Sheriff’s sergeant questions rescued Zion National Park hiker’s story

Holly Courtier was found in Zion National Park in Utah on Sunday, nearly two weeks after she disappeared on a day hike.

  • Sgt. Darrell Cashin, who helped the search-and-rescue effort, now says he has questions about Courtier’s story and pointed out discrepancies.

  • For example, Courtier’s daughter told CNN that her mother hit her head early in the hike and became so dehydrated that she couldn’t open her mouth. Cashin said he doubted this, adding that park officials said she was able to leave the park largely unassisted.

  • Cashin also questioned how Courtier was able to survive for nearly two weeks alone without food and with little water, as her family said.

  • An official who helped in the search for Holly Courtier, the woman who was found nearly two weeks after disappearing during a hike in Zion National Park, is questioning her family’s story of how she survived with little water and no food.

    Courtier, a 38-year-old from California, was found on Sunday about a half-mile from the parking lot where she began what was supposed to be a day hike through the Utah park. Zion National Park officials said Courtier was found in a “thickly vegetated area” near the Virgin River.

    Sgt. Darrell Cashin, who served as an advisor in the park’s search for Courtier, told ABC 4 this week that she left California in the middle of the night without telling her family where she was going.

    Discrepancies about the water source

    Courtier’s daughter, Kailey Chambers, told CNN on Monday that her mother had hit her head early on in the hike and then decided to stick close to a river, thinking it was her best shot at survival. Chambers did not say whether Courtier drank from the river, and CNN said it was not clear from the interview whether the water was potable.

    Cashin, who works for the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, told ABC 4 that Courtier likely would have died if she drank from it.

    “If she had been drinking that water, unless she had some really high immune system, she would’ve been very, very ill and probably unable to come out on her own,” Cashin said.

    “She either took a lot of water with her or had another clean water source that was near here, but the Virgin River is not that source.”

    Cashin also told St. George News, a local newspaper: “Had she been drinking that water, she would be extremely ill or passed on by now. If she did have a good water source, what was it?”

    ‘Was she that bad or was she not?’

    Cashin pointed out other discrepancies in the family’s story.

    Chambers told CNN that Courtier recounted that during her time in the park she became so dehydrated that she couldn’t open her mouth.

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