Ex-Marine finds missing Florida boy safe in woods

Ex-Marine finds missing Florida boy safe in woods

Brooksville, Fla. (AP) – A former U.S. Marine is being hailed a hero Friday for finding a 2-year-old boy who had been missing since wandering from his north Florida home a day earlier.

“I said a prayer about 10 minutes before I found him,” Roy Link said Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis In a video posted to Facebook by the sheriff’s office.

About 500 volunteers and law enforcement officers have searched for Joshua “JJ” Rowland since he was reported missing by his parents. Sheriff’s officials said the boy left the Brooksville home while his parents were asleep.

“Roy Link is Man of the Year here in Hernando County,” the sheriff said.

Brooksville is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The boy was found in the woods “a good distance” from his home, Nienhuis said.

“The good news is he didn’t end up in any water, obviously, and he wasn’t kidnapped,” the sheriff said. “He was found in the forest. He seems to be fine. He’s definitely going to say something about his kids and grandkids.”

The sheriff said he was overwhelmed by the large number of volunteers who went out to look for the child.

The boy was examined by paramedics and appeared to be OK, the sheriff said.

“I was hoping and praying for a miracle. I certainly wasn’t expecting one,” he said. “I’m sure Mom and Dad will keep an eye on him from this point on.”

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