California mother missing for 12 days in Zion National Park found safe

After being missing in Utah's Zion National Park for 12 days, a 38-year-old mom was located by park rangers and reunited with her family Sunday.

Holly Courtier, an experienced hiker from California, was last seen on Oct. 6 when she was dropped off by a private shuttle bus at the park's Grotto parking area. She was supposed to be picked up that afternoon but never returned, according to park rangers.

Courtier's daughter, Kailey Chambers, told KABC that her mother had lost her job and was traveling to visit national parks, but she hit her head on a tree and decided to stay put to survive.

"She was very disoriented as a result and thankfully ended up near a water source - a river bed," Chambers said. "She thought her best chance of survival was to stay next to a water source."

Courtier was without food the entire time. As a result, she was unable to walk more than one or two steps without collapsing.

"She told me she was so dehydrated she couldn't open her mouth," Chambers said.

Park rangers said Sunday that they located her after receiving a credible tip from a park visitor that they had seen Courtier at the park.

"We are overjoyed that she was found safe [Monday]. We would like to thank the rangers and search teams who relentlessly looked for her day and night and never gave up hope," Courier's family said in a statement. "We are also so grateful to the countless volunteers who were generous with their time, resources and support. This wouldn't have been possible without the network of people who came together."

Courier left the park with her family.

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Jillian Courtier-Oliver, one of Courtier's four sisters, told ABC's "Good Morning America" after the rescue that bringing Courtier home was her "only goal" from the moment she went missing -- but in the past few days, she had started to lose hope.

"Basically they said today or Monday was going to be the last day that rangers could be involved and help us," Courtier-Oliver said Sunday.

Courtier-Oliver said she went out with a very experienced hiker to look for her sister on the day she disappeared, but after "hanging on the edge of a cliff" and hiking in extreme conditions, she thought: "How could she live through this?"

"It wasn't until two days ago I actually said, 'I'm starting to lose hope,'" she said. "They had a lot of cadaver dogs out and I knew what they were looking for was a body, not a person. It was the first time I actually started losing hope. And I went with up with so much help knowing that we needed to find her."

When search crews finally found Courtier, she had lost much weight and had "bruises all over her body." But now, Courtier-Oliver said, she is recovering with the help of her family.

"I knew if anyone could do it, it was going to be her," Courtier-Oliver added. "She's such a fighter."
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