The sister of a California woman who claims she went missing in Zion National Park for 12 days with 'no food and a tiny amount of water' has revealed the mother of one fasted for days before she went on the solo hike without telling her family.
Holly Courtier, 38, was suddenly found in the park on Sunday after her family had raised more then $12,000 through a GoFundMe page to cover the expenses for the search.
The family said the funds are now going toward her medical expenses, as her sister Jamie Courtier-Strong told CBS that Holly lost 15 pounds while she was missing and 'would have died for sure if we hadn't found her'.
It comes after a local Utah sheriff cast doubt on Courtier's version of events and claimed she could not have survived on the nearby infected river water.
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Jamie Courtier-Strong said her sister Holly had been fasting before her hike and continued it as she started her trek but became weak and disorientated and got lost
Holly Courtier marked the number of days she was lost on a nearby tree
Holly Courtier was missing for 12 days in Zion National Park with no food and little water. She left for the hike in the middle of the night with no phone and without telling her family
The family claim that Courtier was found a half mile from where she had started on her solo trek by a mother and son hiking.
They spotted the hammock it was known Courtier had with her and placed a call into search and rescue.
Her sister now says that Courtier, an avid hiker, had planned to go off the grid, after leaving her home in Los Angeles for a solo trek in the middle of the night without telling her family.
Courtier took a shuttle bus to the park on October 6. She did not take her phone with her.
It's unclear how long she intended to stay there.
'Initially she wanted to be off the grid, she did not want to be off the grid for 12 days,' Courtier-Strong told CBS. She added that her sister just wanted to 'go and be with nature for a couple of days'.
Yet before she embarked on the hike, Courtier had been fasting for a few days and planned to continue that throughout her time in the park.
'She became extremely weak very early on in the first day or two because she wasn’t eating or drinking,' her sister said.
The family claims that at one point, the fasting made Courtier so weak that she hit her head off a tree, causing concussion and disorientation and preventing her from seeking help.
She instead drank water from a nearby river and marked the number of days she had been there on a nearby tree.
Holly Courtier was said to be an experienced hiker but had been fasting
Holly's family raised more than $12,000 of their $15,000 goal. They say she needs medical care but the sheriff said she had no serious injuries when she was found on Sunday
Courtier had gone for a solo hike without a phone in Zion National Park
'She was crying to me saying that she was just praying to be found,' Courtier-Strong claimed. 'She said that she felt like she was dying a slow death.'
She said that her sister has now learned her lesson about the dangers of going off the grid without letting anyone know beforehand.
'When we explained to her that this is not a normal thing to do - you can go off the grid properly and not have people be concerned,' she said.
'I think she now understands that she didn’t mean to cause worry.'
The family was raising funds on the GoFundMe page saying that Courtier needs medical help after her disappearance. As of Thursday afternoon, they had disabled new donations to the page.
They have not specified what her injuries are but say they are for a hospital stay and therapy costs.
On Monday, her sister told