When 23-year-old Madeline Connelly went missing in the Montana wilderness, her family didn’t panic. They prayed.
On May 4, Connelly let for a hike with her dog, Mogi at the Great Bear Wilderness. When she didn’t return, local officials launched a search and rescue effort to find her.
It took seven days. She was found “uninjured” but “tired and hungry” on Wednesday, able five miles away from her car.
Connelly was able to find fresh water for her and Mogi, but she was without food or shelter. She slept under trees to protect herself from the “treacherous weather.”
Her mother told KTMF that the family “never lost the faith” that she would be found due to all the support they were receiving, both from the local community in Montana and back home in Illinois, just outside of Chicago, where prayer vigils were being held for Connelly’s safe return.
Connelly told KTMF that she couldn’t believe she and Mogi were able to get out of the woods after she lost her way.
“I thought if I kept going I would be in the same loop of a trail, and I would just get out,” she said. “And then I ended up at a lake, and I was like. ‘Well, this isn’t right.'”
Connelly said getting lost was just a “huge mistake” and she didn’t realize that her disappearance had caused such a media spectacle.
“I feel like an idiot, honestly,” she said.
After she was found, Connelly appeared smiling with first responders on a Two Bear Air Rescue helicopter as they airlifted her to safety.
Her mother said finding her was the “best Mother’s Day gift ever.”
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