Kelly Jones, 41, will leave Sligo General Hospital today before returning to the States where her father Rick tomorrow. She has told gardai that she ‘blacked out’ for five days before she was found inside a renovated rectory in Glencolmcille.
Her grateful father said: “She is going home with me on Tuesday.”
Mr Jones, a former professor of animal science at The University of Georgia, went on: “I really don’t want to answer any questions 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 were elated.
“I don’t think we know what happened. I am not certain myself. We all have a lot of questions. It’s going to have to be on the positive side and not going into too much of the other part.”
Mr Jones said Kelly is an only child. Her mother passed away some years ago. His daughter had been fascinated with Ireland from an early age and had traced a great-grandmother called Collins to Co Antrim.
“The fact that she had red hair may have entered into her mind as having Irish descendancy. She was an avid reader of literature and poetry and she read stories about Ireland. Her love of it may have grown from that and from the music. She knew of U2.
“The people at the hospital were fantastic. They have gone out of their way to take care of her, beyond my wildest expectations.
“When I entered the hospital she was in high spirits but she was still a bit sore from her injuries. She was definitely glad to see me.”
The 64-year-old said Kelly worked in various jobs in the food and beverage industry, mainly waiting. She was born in Texas, but worked in Charleston South Carolina and he lives Georgia.
She has said she doesn’t remember anything since 8.30 p.m. on Friday week past and 7.30 p.m. last Tuesday evening when she woke in the foliage around the old rectory in Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal, and then broke into it for shelter. She was found inside the rectory at lunchtime on Wednesday.