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St. George investigation into missing hiker closes with no evidence of fraud

Holly Courtier, 38, was found alive after being missing for nearly two weeks in Zion National Park. (PHOTO: National Park Service)

ST. GEORGE, Utah — After a lengthy investigation into the case of a hiker who went missing in Zion National Park, authorities concluded Friday there is no evidence of fraud in subsequent fundraising campaigns. This comes after Holly Suzanne Courtier, 38, was reported missing for two weeks in October 2020. 

After her disappearance, family and friends created a GoFundMe titled “Please Help Find Holly Courtier!” The account raised $12,000 by the time Courtier was found Oct. 18. 

Park rangers and the Washington County Sherriff’s Office began questioning the legitimacy of the story as details from Courtier and those described on the GoFundMe didn’t add up. 

Despite reports from the family that Courtier hit her head and was severely disoriented when she was found, Zion National Park released a statement confirming she was found with minimal harm. The sheriff’s office then opened an investigation after concerns were raised that the incident was a ploy to raise money. 

“After reading this article it strengthens our beliefs that this woman and her daughter orchestrated this ‘plan’ to get lost then found in her attempt to make some $$ and she is doing so from her GoFundMe that was conveniently created the minute that she was found,” one reader commented on the GoFundMe.

Investigators closed the investigation three months later, citing no evidence of fraud in neither the disappearance of the missing hiker and subsequent rescue nor the fundraising campaign. The national park has not responded for further comment, according to the St. George News.