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Woman missing for nearly a week in Montana found alive

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Woman missing for nearly a week in Montana found alive

"There is not one of us that doesn't think she's coming home", Elaine Cinkay Connelly said at the time.

Aunt Elaine Cinkay Connelly, who said Monday she had complete faith that her niece would be found, told WGN, "She has done more things in her life than we have collectively as a family".

"After the first night I realized I was in the wrong place", Connelly said.

The two had been reported missing after Connelly never returned from a hike last week.

But she figured she was on the loop of a trail and if she continued walking she would get back to where she had been.

"I'm so grateful. This is completely unexpected", she told KTMF.

"I feel like an idiot, honestly", she added. Her parents and other family members have flown to Montana to join the search, which has expanded to a 25 square mile area of rugged terrain.

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When grizzly bear tracks were found in the area, the search intensified with rescue workers using horses to navigate the hard terrain, as well as search dogs and infrared cameras.

Teams from Two Bear Air Rescue had been looking for Connelly. Her vehicle was found abandon at the trailhead.

She was able to find fresh water but had no food for days, police said.

She says she spent the days sleeping and hiking.

Officials had said Connelly had planned to spend a night camping with her dog, Mogi, following her hike May 4 but had not been seen until today. "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". She also thanked those who searched for her daughter and prayed for her safe return.

Connelly's mother called her daughter's rescue the best Mother's Day gift ever.

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