Former Marine Hailed as ‘Man of the 12 months’ for Discovering Lacking Florida Toddler

A younger boy, nicknamed “JJ,” was lacking for twenty-four hours after leaving his residence in central Florida whereas a mother or father slept — till a 911 name got here in.

Greater than 500 volunteers joined regulation enforcement within the seek for Joshua “JJ” Rowland, trekking deep into the woods and thru buggy swamps after he disappeared from Brooksville the morning of Feb. 23 sporting a grey Batman shirt and grey pants, based on the Hernando County Sheriff’s Workplace.

Alongside trying to find the 2-year-old on foot, authorities deployed drones, helicopters and used canines to trace the toddler’s scent, the sheriff’s workplace stated in a number of updates shared to Fb.

However the blonde, curly-haired boy was nonetheless lacking the early morning of Feb. 24.

Then, a former Marine, who volunteered within the search and is now being hailed because the “man of the 12 months” by Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis, phoned 911.

“I discovered him!” Roy Hyperlink informed a dispatcher about JJ within the 911 name shared by the sheriff’s workplace. Within the background, the toddler is heard calling out for his mom.

Hyperlink discovered JJ unhurt and within the woods a number of miles north of his residence after the boy spent the night time outdoors, based on the sheriff’s workplace.

“Little JJ climbed onto him and didn’t need to let go,” Nienhuis stated in a video with Hyperlink. “He was so excited to see him.”

Hyperlink stated he prayed about 10 minutes earlier than recognizing JJ.

“The excellent news is he didn’t find yourself in any water clearly, and he was not kidnapped,” Nienhuis stated in one other video shared to Fb. “He was discovered within the woods and he appears to be high-quality.”

The morning of Feb. 24, Hyperlink, 62, entered an open area whereas trying to find JJ and selected between pursuing considered one of two wooded areas on his proper and left aspect, based on the Tampa Bay Instances.

Following his instinct, Hyperlink picked the woods on his left and heard JJ whimpering earlier than discovering him about 100 toes away, the Tampa Bay Instances reported.

Whereas discussing the seek for JJ, Hyperlink described his amazement at discovering JJ protected in a cellphone interview with the outlet.

“You recognize all that dangerous stuff begins going by way of your thoughts, however then discovering him wholesome and alive, it’s simply…wow,” Hyperlink stated.

The sheriff’s workplace expressed its gratitude for many who helped seek for JJ and the individuals who dropped off water and snacks for the volunteers.

With reference to JJ’s rescue, Nienhuis stated the boy may have a narrative to inform his youngsters and grandchildren in the future earlier than including “I’m certain mother and pop are going to maintain a more in-depth eye on him from this level ahead.”

Brooksville is a metropolis about 50 miles north of Tampa.

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