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Rescuer Thinks Missing Hiker's Story Is Fishy

Sheriff's sergeant says there are red flags in Holly Courtier's account
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2020 3:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – A crew member involved in the search for Holly Courtier, the hiker who was missing in Utah's Zion National Park for 12 days, doesn't buy her family's account of what happened. Sgt. Darrell Cashin of the Washington County Sheriff's Search and Rescue says the 38-year-old left her California home in the middle of the night without telling family where she was going, which raises red flags, per ABC4. Cashin, who has 25 years of experience in search and rescue, also takes issues with the claim that Courtier suffered a head injury that left her unable to walk very far. Cashin says rescuers would have called an ambulance if they found Courtier with "any significant injury." But the hiker left the park "of her own capability with minimal assistance," the National Park Service said, per St. George News.

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Cashin adds there would've been "thousands" of searchers roaming the trials around her purported location along the Virgin River. He also doubts that she used the river as a water source as the park had issued warnings about cyanobacteria in the north fork. Author Anne Wheaton says she visited the park in the days before Courtier vanished and saw that the water was "green" and "there were signs EVERYWHERE saying not to touch the water or drink from it." But Courtier's sister acknowledged the hiker couldn't drink the water in a CNN interview. She said Courtier had lost 15 pounds and was dehydrated to the point that her kidneys were shutting down. (Read more Zion National Park stories.)

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