Woman missing since 2020 found living in tent in Utah canyon, eating moss and grass

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A woman who went missing nearly six months ago was found living in a tent in a national forest in Utah, subsisting on a diet including grass and moss — after a drone that was searching for her crashed nearby, authorities said.

The 47-year-old, who wasn’t publicly identified, was discovered Sunday in a remote campground of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

“This woman… had lost a significant amount of weight and was weak, but she was apparently also resourceful,” the statement said.

Authorities believe the woman voluntarily chose to move to Diamond Fork Canyon — and had been surviving on 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.

The sheriff’s department first began searching for the woman in November 2020, after US Forest Service officials found her car abandoned at the campground.

Detectives gathered information “that suggested this woman might struggle with mental health challenges,” the department said.

Then on Sunday, officers returned to the Diamond Fork area with a drone to try to figure out if the woman was still around.

While searching for the downed drone, they came across a tent that looked abandoned — until, “the zipper of the tent opened and there was the woman,” the department said.

“We now believe she knowingly chose to remain in the area over the months since November 2020.”

Deputies took the hermit to a nearby hospital for a mental health evaluation, but said it was possible she would choose to return to the forest.

“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 department said.

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