herald

Thursday 22 August 2019

US tourist has no memory of missing days

A US tourist at the centre of a huge search has no memory of what happened during the five days she was missing.

Kelly Jones (41) had been staying in a hostel in Malinmor but went missing last weekend.

She was found on Wednesday in a building in Glencolmcille -- less than 600m from where the search headquarters were set up in a football field.

She has spoken for the first time about her ordeal to gardai -- but only added to the mystery of what happened.

She told them she couldn't remember anything from 8.30pm last Friday until 7.30pm on Tuesday when she woke up among foliage at the old rectory in Glencolmcille.

She was discovered 17 hours later in a weakened state on a couch inside the building.

She told hospital staff and gardai: "I don't know what happened. It was cold and it was raining and I thought I was going to die."

Kelly said she broke a window pane to get into the rectory to shelter from the harsh conditions.

She was reported missing on Sunday afternoon and a huge search of Slieve League and other hills and mountains in the area was carried out over the next three days in a search operation costing €50,000.

It was called off when she was found in the old rectory, now a holiday home whose owners use it once or twice a year. Gardai are satisfied Kelly was spotted 200m from the rectory on Saturday evening but she has no memory of it.

She did not remember noise from the coastguard S-61 helicopter used in the search.

Rescuers scoured the old rectory grounds on Sunday and Monday but saw nothing.

She does not say she was unconscious during those days but only remembers waking up in the garden on Tuesday.

She was reunited yesterday with her father after he flew into Ireland from his US home.

Gardai are now trying to build a picture of her background and movements during the 10 days she spent in the area. She is a skilled trail and hill walker.

hnews@herald.ie

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