Photo provided by Two Bear Air Rescue

Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry has confirmed that Madeline Connelly and her dog, Mogi, who have been missing since May 4, were found alive and in good health.

A massive search has been underway since Saturday, when Connelly, 23, a River Forest resident, was first reported missing.

“She’s just fine,” Curry said in a telephone interview. “There were no injuries. She was warm and hungry, of course.”

Curry said she was found by search crews several miles from the Bull Creek Trailhead on Highway 2 near Essex, where her car was found.

“She was found up in the woods,” Curry said. “She got turned around and got lost and has been wandering around for the last several days.”

Connelly was hoisted out of the woods by a search helicopter and taken to an ambulance, Curry said.

He said she was cleared by paramedics and noted that Mogi also is in good health.

Curry said about 40 to 50 people participated in the search.

“Obviously, the goal was to find her and we were happy those efforts were successful and she was OK,” Curry said.

Connelly’s uncle, Michael Connelly, a Riverside resident, said in an interview that the whole family was relieved to find her unharmed.

“She’s a pretty resilient girl,” he said.

He said his niece was taken to a hospital in nearby West Glacier to “make sure she was OK.”

He said the airlift was used as a precaution.

“She was walking during the day and sleeping at night,” he said.

Michael Connelly told Wednesday Journal that Madeline thought the searchers who found her were regular hikers on the trail and did not realize that a large-scale search was underway.

“She said, ‘Are you hiking?’ and they said, ‘We’re looking for you,'” Michael Connelly said. “She was surprised and a little overwhelmed.”

Michael Connelly said Madeline’s parents – John and Laura Connelly – flew out Saturday to assist with the search. His other brother, Brian, and his wife, Maureen Connelly, also joined the search effort. 

Michael Connelly described his niece as “very much an outdoors person” who “loves to be out in nature.”

He said Madeline knew not to drink river or stream water because of bacteria and marveled at how well she did on her own without food.

“She hasn’t eaten in five days; I don’t know what she lived on out there,” he said.

Connelly is a graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School. She was visiting her uncle in Flathead County on her way to a job in Anchorage, Alaska, according to Madeline Connelly’s next-door neighbor Laura Maychruk.

Her car was discovered shortly after the search effort was initiated.

Laura Maychruk, who also owns Buzz Café in Oak Park, has known Connelly for years and has been in close contact the family through the ordeal.

“She’s alive!” she said in a phone conversation moments after learning that Connelly was found and OK.

Maychruk learned the news from Connelly’s sister. She said on May 8 that search teams believed she was heading for a cabin in the woods “which is a seven-mile hike form the trailhead.”

She said then that search teams tracked her footprints to a small stream a couple of days before she was discovered.


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