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Missing Hiker Was Found. Now It's a Criminal Probe

A Utah sheriff says there are too many discrepancies
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2020 3:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Authorities are investigating whether the 12-day disappearance of a Utah hiker was really on the up and up, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The Washington County Sheriff's Office says its investigation of Holly Courtier, 38, is based on "numerous tips" that "the incident was possibly conceived and carried out as part of a plan to fraudulently generate money to a GoFundMe account for Courtier's recovery," although there is "no evidence to support the theory." Courtier vanished Oct. 6 in Zion National Park and was spotted by park rangers Oct. 18 after an extensive search effort. But Sgt. Darrell Cashin has cast doubt on the family's assertion that Courtier hit her head and survived without much water or food near a river known to be toxic.

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"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 tells ABC4 News. "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." He adds that Courtier would have heard hikers calling for her "in that main part of the canyon." But a GoFundMe page set up by Courtier's sister, Jaime Courtier Strong, insists the lost hiker "has suffered from mental health issues in the past" and was not "in the best frame of mind." The page, which has raised $11,860, was designed to pay medical funds and reimburse people who looked for Courtier. Strong has been asked to refund only $50 so far, per the Spectrum. (Read more hikers stories.)

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