A retired marine is being called a hero today. A 2-year-old boy went missing in Florida and had been missing for almost 24 hours when the marine, who was part of a volunteer crew, finds the missing toddler safe in the woods, and confirms it’s him.
Retired Marine Finds a Missing Toddler and Returns Him Safely to His Parents
In Brooksville, Florida, a 2-year-old boy named Joshua Rowland (also called JJ) went missing last week and the community was in a panic after almost a day of searching for him.
But thanks to a retired marine, that boy is now safe and sound. Here’s what happened.
Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said hundreds of volunteers had gathered looking for the missing toddler. Roy Link, the retired marine mentioned earlier, was part of this group that was combing through a rural area.
According to Link, he worked for 32 years with the Hernando County parks department; so he knows the area well. And, as he set out to look for the boy, Link said “I said a prayer about 10 minutes before I found him.”
Apparently, Link was planning to go on a fishing trip that day, but he’d cancelled it to help look for the child.
After the missing toddler was found, Link was asked to share how he found little JJ.
Link shared that he was walking through a field, listening carefully for the sound of a child. He told reporters that he heard a “whimpering” and he thought he might be on to something.
“I listened good, and I heard like a whimpering kind of noise and at that point,” Link explained. “I was like, there’s no kids here, it’s gotta be JJ. And sure enough, I went in the woods, 100 feet from where I was at.”
When asked what the boy did when he saw Link, the retired marine said, “He wasn’t smiling, but he was happy. And he put his hands up in the air for me to get him.”
Link explained that he assured the boy that his mom was coming so he wouldn’t be scared.
The boy was found in some briars and Link thought he’d been “hiking” for awhile.
“I think he was in some stickers,” Link said. “But he was happy to see me. He put his arms, his hands up…he was real happy and he wanted mom. He started hollering for mom.”
When asked how he felt about finding the missing toddler, the retired marine said, “So many emotions,” he breaks down in tears. “Who wouldn’t get emotional with that situation? I was just so happy that I found him, so happy that he was alive and well.”
“I just couldn’t ask for a better outcome,” Link said.
Watch Link talk about the experience here:
The missing toddler was found near Parrott Middle School, east of Cobb Road, according to Nienhuis.
Although Link is being called a hero, he remains humble about being the one to find the missing toddler.
“I’m just pleased with all these people that showed up, you know,” Link shared in an interview. “It could have been anybody…just happened to be me.”
When asked about whether he was happy that he’d cancelled his fishing trip to look for the missing toddler, the retired marine said, “I can go fishing anytime. But, you know, I need to come out and help everybody…and I know the area good.”
Wondering how little JJ is? Click on.