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Search for missing woman in Zion National Park cost $60,000; still no explanation for disappearance

Holly Courtier Zion.jpg
Posted at 5:43 PM, Mar 11, 2021

SPRINGDALE, Utah — Newly-released documents shed no new light on what led to the disappearance of a woman inside Zion National Park last year, although park officials saythe search to find the hiker cost $60,000.

Holly Courtier went missing Oct. 6 after being dropped off at the park by a private shuttle bus. A massive search was organized, one that included volunteers spurred to help following a plea from Courtier's daughter.

Courtier was found 12 days later after a witness claimed to have seen a person near a specific trail the night before. Based on the tip, officials found Courtier lying in a hammock at the location.

What Courtier told rangers in an interview after she was found has been redacted in the documents released Thursday.

COMPLETE DOCUMENTS: Read park service missing hiker investigation documents

“In this case, the harm to personal privacy is greater than whatever public interest may be served by disclosure and would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy.” Zion officials said.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office investigated Courtier after receiving tips she had staged the incident to raise money. However, the department closed its investigation after uncovering no evidence of fraud.

The documents claim the costs of the search came from money spent on supplies, including GPS devices, monoculars and food and snacks for search crews.

Immediately following the incident, Courtier's daughter, Kailey Chambers, said her mother had "injured her head on a tree" during her disappearance.

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

"She was too weak and disoriented (to seek help). She was unable to take more than a step or two without collapsing. This prevented her from being able to seek out help. She told me she was so dehydrated she couldn't open her mouth."

Courtier has yet to speak publicly about what happened during the 12 days she was missing.

This story originally reported by Adam Herbets on