Deborah Pilgrim, 55, was camping with friends near the town of Sedan when, on Sunday, she disappeared after 6 a.m., police said. Authorities searched for days trying to find her but had no luck. As they headed into the fourth day of their search, they received a breakthrough.
Neil Marriott, who owns land in the area and knew Pilgrim was missing "had been intermittently logging onto his CCTV cameras remotely," South Australia Police said in a news release. He noticed late Tuesday night that a large "SOS" had been written on his driveway, which hadn't been there previously. The man alerted authorities, who quickly went to search the area.
Pilgrim was found safe and sound on a nearby property, where she had access to water. She was taken to a hospital to be examined, but police said she appears to be in good health.
Pilgrim told Australia's ABC News she went for a walk on Sunday, and suddenly she was lost.
"I just kept wandering and laid low at night. I tried to stay out of the sun and stay alive, I just knew that it was my job to stay alive," she said. "I thought, 'Somebody is going to think I've been kidnapped or something,' because it's not something I would do."
Marriott said his security camera was only recently installed after his home had experienced several break-ins. He said when he saw the letters on his driveway, he "put two and two together and called police."
"By the time they were able to get out there it was dark, so they found the SOS on the ground," he said. "But then they also found a hoodie jacket which obviously belonged to the lady."
Marriott added that a police officer texted him soon afterward thanking him and said they found Pilgrim.
Investigators said Pilgram was ultimately discovered outside their search area — roughly 4 miles from the location from which she was reported missing.