A missing woman nearly six months ago was found living in a tent in a national forest in Utah, eating a diet including grass and moss – after a drone searching for her crashed nearby, authorities said.
The 47-year-old man, who has not been publicly identified, was found Sunday at a remote campsite in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, a statement from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said.
“This woman … had lost a lot of weight and was weak, but she was obviously resourceful,” the statement said.
Authorities believe the woman voluntarily chose to move to Diamond Fork Canyon – and survived with a small amount of food she brought with her, as well as grass and moss. She also had access to water from a nearby river.
Detectives have gathered information “suggesting that this woman may be struggling with mental health challenges,” the department said.
Then on Sunday, officers returned to the Diamond Fork area by drone to try to find out if the woman was still around.
While searching for the downed drone, they came across a tent that looked abandoned – while “the tent’s zipper opened and the woman was there,” the department said.
“We now believe that she deliberately chose to stay in the area during the months of November 2020.”
Deputies took the hermit to a nearby hospital for a mental health assessment, but said she might choose to return to the forest.
“We want to be aware that while many people choose not to live under the circumstances and conditions this woman has created, she has done nothing against the law,” the department said.