The American tourist who went missing four four days in Glencolmcille has told gardai she has no idea what happened to her.
Kelly Jones (41), who is originally from Texas but lives and works in Charleston, South Carolina went missing from a hostel in Malinmore on Friday afternoon.
She was due to have spent Friday night at the hostel but did not return there, although she had left her belongings behind.
There was one confirmed sighting of her near Glencolmcille on Saturday evening at around 5.30pm but, when she remained missing for a second night, fears for her safety grew and a massive search was launched
A group of local people, including Garda Odie McBride, found her sheltering in na old rectory that is used as a holiday home, at lunchtime on Wednesday.
Amidst all the relief that the missing woman had been found alive and relatively well, there was widespread shock that she had been found just 600m from the GAA club that was the headquarters for the €50,000 search operation.
The garda sergeant involved most closely in the investigation, Tony Arnold, said yesterday that, despite the mystery, there was “nothing whatsoever” to indicate that a third party might have been involved in Ms Jones disappearance.
“She has told us that she can’t remember what happened to her at all between 8.30pm on Friday and 7.30pm on Friday. She told us that she thinks she blacked out at some stage and then came to in the grounds of the old rectory on Tuesday night, then broken in and took shelter there until she was found.”
Ms Jones’ father Rick, a retired Professor at Georgia Univesity, flew over to be re-united with his daughter on Friday. His wife passed away some years ago and he called the disappearance of their only child “the worst thing that has every happened” to him.
He visited Glencolmcille over the weekend and personally thanked many of those who took part in the search.
Mr Jones said: “I really don’t want to answer any question 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 wouldn’t quit until they found Kelly.
“This story is not about Kelly, but about the Irish people and what they have done for Kelly and her family and friends.
He thanked the hostel owners for alerting the gardai when Ms Jones failed to return, all the seach volunteers including Donegal Mountain Rescue, Killybegs Cliff and Rescue, the gardai and the US embassy for their assistance.
“I don’t think we know what happened. I am not certain myself. We all have a lot of questions.”
It has been confirmed that Ms Jones had a history of struggling with depression over the years.
Ms Jones was discharged from hospital yesterday and understood to be returning to the United States with her father today.
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email firstname.lastname@example.org To contact Donegal Post, email email@example.com To contact Inish Times, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.