CHICAGO (CBS) — A River Forest woman, who had been missing after going on a hike in Montana, has been found alive, according to family members.
Madeline Connelly, 23, hadn’t been seen since Thursday, when she left for a seven-mile hike with her dog, Mogi, in the Great Bear Wilderness area near Glacier National Park.
According to KPAX-TV, Connelly was treated at Kalispell Regional Medical Center and released and was reunited with her family. When she was found, according to relatives, she told rescuers that she wanted to hike out. They refused her request and lifted her into a helicopter.
The dog was also located alive.
Connelly’s explanation was simple: She got lost.
“The first night I realized I was not in the right place, but I thought if I kept going I would be on the same loop of a trail and I would just get out,” she said in a hoarse voice, with her relieved parents flanking her. “Then I ended up on a lake and I was like, ‘This is not right.'”
“Everyone is overjoyed that she was found,” her uncle, Michael Connelly, says. Family members were celebrating Wednesday after receiving the good news, CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports.
Earlier in the search, her car was found near the trailhead, and investigators had initially found her tracks.
Searchers had been working day and night to find Connelly, a graduate of Oak Park-River Forest High School.
Her uncle said earlier this week that the family had great faith she would be found safe.
“We’re very positive,” Michael Connelly said. “They’re treating this as a rescue, not as a recovery, and there have been no signs of any torn clothing, or blood, or anything like that. So they’re treating it as if she’s out there.”
Connelly took to Facebook Friday, May 12, to express her gratitude. In part, she writes, “From everyone here in Montana to all back at home, and to all the messages I received from all over the world, I cannot be more thankful.”
She also said Mogie is healthy.