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Sunday 19 November 2017

Missing US tourist and dad prepare to fly home after 4-day ordeal

Greg Harkin

AMERICAN tourist Kelly Jones who went missing for four days in Donegal, will fly back to the USA tomorrow with her father Rick.

Ms Jones (41), who has no recollection of what happened to her while a massive hill and mountain search took place, was preparing to leave Sligo General Hospital.



She told gardai she 'blacked out' for five days before she was found inside a renovated rectory in Glencolmcille.



Yesterday, Mr Jones said he wasn't certain what happened but he wanted to focus on the positive outcome rather than the unanswered questions.



"I really don't want to answer any questions about details. I'm just interested in seeing the people who put it all on the line. They spent many, many hours to find Kelly.



"I was talking to a few of them and they were just thrilled. It's been a plus for them. They really worked very hard. They were elated.



"I don't think we know what happened. I am not certain myself. We all have a lot of questions. It's going to have to be on the positive side and not going into too much of the other part," he added.



Mr Jones was speaking before meeting his daughter's rescuers to offer his thanks.



Delighted



"She is going home with me on Tuesday," said her delighted father, a former professor of animal science at the University of Georgia.



Mr Jones said Kelly was an only child. Her mother passed away some years ago. His daughter had been fascinated with Ireland from an early age and had traced a great-grandmother called Collins to Co Antrim.



"The fact that she had red hair may have entered into her mind as having Irish descendancy. She was an avid reader of literature and poetry and she read stories about Ireland," he said.



"The people at the hospital were fantastic. They have gone out of their way to take care of her, beyond my wildest expectations.



"When I entered the hospital she was in high spirits but she was still a bit sore from her injuries. She was definitely glad to see me," he added.



She has said she doesn't remember anything since 8.30pm on Friday week past and 7.30pm last Tuesday evening when she woke in the foliage around the old rectory in Glencolmcille, Co Donegal, and then broke into it for shelter.



She was found inside the rectory at lunchtime on Wednesday.



Irish Independent

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