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Thursday 14 December 2017

US tourist 'blacked out' before going missing

Holidaymaker recalls little of her five-day ordeal

Greg Harkin

THE American tourist found alive after going missing for five days has told gardai she cannot remember most of her ordeal.

Kelly Jones (41) was found in a renovated rectory in Glencolmcille in south-west Donegal last Wednesday.

She was missing since the previous Saturday after spending 10 days in the area on a hillwalking holiday.

She was reunited with her father Ricky at Sligo General Hospital last night.

Ms Jones, who lives in Charleston, South Carolina, has told investigating officers that she "blacked out" at around 8.30pm on the day before she was reported missing.

She was seen several times on Saturday, with the last sighting not far from the rectory.

But the catering services manager said her next memory was at around 7.30pm on Tuesday.

When she woke up, she was cold and very afraid and feared for her life. She broke into the rectory to take shelter. She doesn't remember much else until she was found by Garda Odhran McBride and volunteers on Wednesday at 12.30pm.


She knew she was in Glencolmcille and remembered going on several walks prior to her disappearance.

Rescue teams have said she couldn't have been in the grounds of the rectory throughout her 'missing' period as they had been thoroughly searched twice.

The estimated cost of the search operation was €50,000.

The tourist has offered to pay the cost of repairing the window at the rectory and apologised for the inconvenience caused to the searchers and local people.

Ms Jones has been a regular visitor to Ireland for a number of years and spent last autumn travelling along the west coast, staying mostly in Galway.

She has Irish ancestry and traces one great-grandmother to Co Antrim.

Ms Jones was due to spend another month in Europe and had planned to travel to two of Donegal's islands -- Arranmore and Tory -- before going to the west coast of Scotland.

Her father is due to return to Georgia next Tuesday and she is now expected to travel with him.

Gardai have completed their inquiries and do not plan to interview her any further. Her belongings, including her mobile phone, passport and wallet, are due to be returned to her today.

Irish Independent

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