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A missing woman who was found living in a tent in a remote area is free to go back to the wilderness after after a mental health evaluation, police said.
Search and rescue teams were looking for the body of a 47-year-old missing woman who had been missing for months when they entered remote Diamond Ford Canyon, near the city of Spanish Fork, Utah.
To the shock of police, the woman was found alive and well, and told rescuers she had survived by eating moss, grass and supplies from an abandoned tent.
She also reportedly said she had battled freezing temperatures during winter months, and would often find herself shivering in the wild.
Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer for the Utah County Sheriff's Office said the woman "did nothing against the law" and will be allowed to go back home should she choose to return.
Mr Cannon said the woman will be asked to undergo a mental health evaluation before the case is closed, and future resources will be made available to her.
He said: "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,' the sheriff's office said in a statement.
"And in the future she might choose to return to the same area. Resources were made available to her should she decide to use them."
The missing woman's motivation for living in the park was for "solitude and isolation," Mr Cannon told Fox News.
However, he said the woman opened the zipper of her tent immediately when the search team stumbled upon her and willingly spoke to the rescue team.
Detectives said she was found alongside camping equipment and items that formally identified her.
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The woman was never formally reported missing by family, but her disappearance was flagged around Thanksgiving 2020 when her red Sedan was discovered by a U.S. Forest Service official.
Deputies searched the area at the time but she could not be found and concluded that she had somehow made her way back to a nearby city.
Investigators said the woman's co-workers who told police they had no idea where she was or planned on staying and described her as "quiet" and a "loner."
- In the News
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