A British woman who had been missing from an alternative rural community in the south of Brazil since last Sunday, sparking international concern and a police investigation, has been found alive and well.
Katherine Brewster, 27, from Seaford in East Sussex, had walked into a local forest to meditate and disconnect from modern-day comforts for seven days without telling anyone where she was going, got lost and was living in a makeshift shelter when she was found by a search party.
The couple who were hosting Brewster had reported her missing to police on Tuesday, and she had last been seen near a hydroelectric power plant on the banks of the Uruguay river, according to local reports.
Clairton da Silva, 33, co-founder of an alternative rural community in Alpestre, in Rio Grande do Sul state in the south of Brazil, and Edson Medeiros, a local man, found Brewster after searching for hours.
She told them she had gone into the forest and had built a makeshift shelter from the leaves of a banana tree by a waterfall.
“We had a feeling we would find her and we kept looking. We found signs of her. She was collecting garbage from the river. She went to the forest, her idea was to stay some days there, just seeing nature,” he said. “We found her. It is a happy ending.”
Brewster had superficial injuries, was hungry, but otherwise was well. However, cuts on her feet meant the two men had to carry her on their backs some of the way.
Brewster had been staying with a Brazilian couple who live near the UniPermacultura community.
“We are a community of environmentalists,” said Neimar Marcos, 35, who co-founded UniPermacultura, a centre for bio-construction and alternative living with his brother Clairton. The community is largely vegetarian and alcohol and drugs are prohibited.
The community’s world is one of “vegetarianism and yoga”, Marcos said. “Everyone comes here for security, things work, education works, there are no private schools, the health system works. We joke it is the Brazilian Europe. People come for quality of life.”