Utah Official Says Story Of Hiker Rescued In Zion Doesn't Add Up


As more details emerge about the disappearance and rescue of Holly Courtier, 38, who was located in Zion National Park in Utah two weeks after she was reported missing, one local official has more questions than answers.

Sergeant Darrell Cashin, liaison of the Washington County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, told KTVX that the story Courtier's family has been telling the media doesn't add up.

"The statements that the family is giving and the statements that the park is giving don't add up," Cashin told the news station.

The first discrepancy Cashin has is with how she ended up getting lost in the first place. Courtier's family said that she hit her head on a tree and collapsed. Cashin said that when a search team found her, she did not have any signs of a head injury and did not require an ambulance. Despite spending two weeks in the elements, Courtier was able to walk out of the park under her own power.

"If we had 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 said. "The fact that that didn't happen tells me that they did not find any significant injury to her that would've prompted them to do that."

Cashin questioned how she managed to find water. Cashin said that the only water in the area is not safe to drink due to high levels of cyanobacteria from a toxic algal bloom. He explained that if Courtier was drinking water from the Virgin River for 12 days, there was a "high possibility" that it would have killed her.

"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 questioned how nobody found her sooner because she was lost in a popular area of the park.

"If she's by the Virgin River, she's down in the valley, not in the backcountry up in the plateaus and the peaks," Cashin said. "She's in that main part of the canyon, which always has thousands of people walking up and down those trails. I'm sure people walked by yelling for her."

Cashin told the station that only Courtier can clear up those discrepancies.

"Those are the types of questions I think everybody has. I think the place where that question can be answered is with her," Cashin said.

Photo: National Park Service