Hiker, dog found alive after 6 days lost in Montana wilderness

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RIVER FOREST, Ill. — A 23-year-old Illinois woman who had been missing in Montana for six days has been found safe.

Madeline Connelly was seen Thursday when she went for a hike and overnight campout with her dog in the Great Bear Wilderness area. The dog was also rescued.

“She was found just a couple hours ago, and she’s just fine,” Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry told the Chicago Tribune. “She’s in good condition. She was pretty hungry and tired.”

The search began Saturday. Her car was found, and rescue teams discovered Connelly’s footprints, her dog’s paw prints and bear tracks.

The oldest of four daughters, Connelly had stopped in Montana to visit some family on her way to Alaska, where she was going to take a job running a bakery.

On Monday night, family and friends packed St. Luke’s Catholic Church to pray for her safe return.

On Wednesday, Connelly’s relatives are celebrating the return of a young woman who they say radiates kindness and always finds the best qualities in others.

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.”

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