Woman missing for six months found living in tent on diet of moss and grass

(Picture: Utah County Sheriff's Office)
The woman chose to live this way, according to police (Picture: Utah County Sheriff’s Office/Getty)

A woman who disappeared six months ago has been found living in a tent in the middle of nowhere – surviving on a diet of moss and grass.

The 47-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, went missing in a canyon in the US state of Utah on November 25 last year and after months of searching, was found alive and well on Sunday.

She was initially reported missing in the Diamond Fork area of Spanish Fork Canyon, but little did authorities know, the woman wasn’t in grave danger as they feared and had actually ‘willingly chose to remain in the area’ on her own. That’s what she told officials who found her living in an tent with basic supplies, and having lost a ‘significant amount of weight’.

She has managed to survive freezing cold temperatures in the wild and hostile environment partly by foraging for food herself, and partly by asking passing hikers for supplies, officials said.

The woman has been living alone in the tent for six months
The woman has been living alone in the tent for six months (Picture: Utah County Sheriff’s Office)

According to the US Forest Service, officials began investigating the woman’s disappearance when they found an abandoned car in a campground parking lot, on November 25 last year.

The rangers wanted to notify the owner of the car about seasonal canyon closures for the winter months, but could not find them.

They then discovered camping equipment and information that helped identify the missing woman, who was the owner of the car.

Search crews – both on foot and in helicopters – were dispatched but they could not locate the woman, a spokesperson said.

The local police impounded the car and took the camping equipment, thinking it had been abandoned, as investigators carried on trying to trace the woman over the following months.

Detectives made attempts to contact her family, which were unsuccessful, but police did speak to her co-workers who said she might be struggling with mental health issues.

The location of the woman remained unknown until Sunday, May 2, when a Utah County Sheriff’s Office sergeant traveled to Diamond Fork with members of an aerial search team to continue their search.

They used a drone to search for evidence, but when it crashed, the team had to set off on foot to retrieve it. As they walked to collect the drone they came across what appeared to be an abandoned tent.

The woman has been living alone in the tent for six months (Picture: Utah County Sheriff's Office)
Officials began investigating the woman’s disappearance when they found her abandoned car (Picture: Utah County Sheriff’s Office)

But from inside the tent emerged a woman, who was soon identified as the one who went missing in November.

The woman ‘had lost a significant amount of weight and was weak’, according to the sheriff’s office, but was apparently ‘also resourceful’.

She had a small amount of food with her, but told officials she had been foraging for grass and moss for food and was using the nearby river for water. The woman also said passing hikers had also given her supplies.

‘And we now believe she knowingly chose to remain in the area over the months since November 2020’, a police press release said.

Officials said the woman was taken to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation and resources had been made available to her, should she need them.

The sheriff’s office added: ‘But we want to be clear that while many people might choose to not live in the circumstances and conditions this woman did, she did nothing against the law.

(Picture: Utah County Sheriff's Office)
She only had basic supplies (Picture: Utah County Sheriff’s Office)

‘And in the future she might choose to return to the same area.’

Sergeant Spencer Cannon, public information officer for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, told DailyMail.com: ‘She was resilient and manage to survive over the coldest months of the year, sometimes the temperature hits below zero.

‘She’s an amazing woman. In my 30 years involved in search and rescue I have never seen anything like this.’

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