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Son of missing elderly Defuniak Springs woman speaks about viral rescue video

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Over the weekend, James Goodman got a call no one ever wants to answer.

“My heart dropped. I couldn’t even say anything,” said James.

His mother, 95-year-old Julia Goodman, was missing. Julia wandered away from her Defuniak Springs home on Macedonia Church Road early Sunday morning.

“It was like, where is she at? What’s being done to her?” said James.

James said his mom is diabetic, among other health problems. He said his brother normally meets her early in the mornings to check her blood sugar level. When his brother arrived, James said he didn’t see her.

“He noticed mom hadn’t made it back yet, that’s not like mom,” said James.

James said he believed his mom couldn’t find her way back from where she was.

“she just got in an area she wasn’t familiar with and got turned around,” said James.

This was followed by what James said was more than 12 hours of searching.

“It started raining, it was getting dark and they didn’t give up,” said James.

A Walton County Sheriff’s lieutenant checked pictures from a game camera near where Julia disappeared on County Road 183 south and Sue Lane. Deputy Craig Yost heard Julia in a heavily wooded area, she was crawling on her hands and knees. The video shows Yost carrying Julia back to the patrol car. Yost and Deputy Chris Webster brought her blankets to comfort her until paramedics arrived to treat her.

“Rescuers, the people that were there, the first responders, they did a beautiful job,” said James.

James said he was amazed when he saw the video for the first time Monday. He said they haven’t had a chance to speak with the deputies yet.

“We definitely want to tell them how much we thank them and if there’s anything we can do for them, we would do it,” said James.

Julia is back in the comfort of her home with her family. James said they still don’t why his mom ended up in the woods. We reached out to the sheriff and deputies Yost and Webster, who were all unavailable to speak today.

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