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Deputy rescues 84-year-old woman from creek

Woman, who has dementia, was reported missing by family Wed. morning

Baker County Sheriff's Office Investigator Trey McCullough
Baker County Sheriff's Office Investigator Trey McCullough (Baker County Sheriff's Office Facebook)

MACCLENNY, Fla. – A deputy's gut feeling might be what saved an 84-year-old Baker County woman Wednesday.

Ida Outlaw suffers from dementia and deputies said she wandered into a creek a few hundred yards from her home.

When Baker County Sheriff's Office investigators found her, she was waist deep in the water and very cold.

"My gut told me I heard someone deep in the woods area," Baker County Investigator Trey McCullough said. "It was very good, a feeling of relief knowing she was still alive. She was submerged in water -- a little bit above her waist. Luckily she was hanging on to a tree, and from her chest up she was dry and she was still able to breathe."

Outlaw had last been seen at the Winn-Dixie store in Macclenny around 8:30 in the morning.

Family grew worried when she didn't come home and called police around 11 a.m. Hours later McCullough found her in Turkey Creek.

He said he went to her home to start searching for her.

Baker County Sheriff's Office Investigator Trey McCullough
Baker County Sheriff's Office Investigator Trey McCullough

"Something just told me to start walking this creek," said McCullough (pictured). "I didn't hear anything for the first few minutes, and it was right up here where after one time I called for her name I thought I heard something. I wasn't sure, so I responded back."

He said a few minutes later he heard someone yell, "I'm here."

McCullough said he quickly took his boots off and began treading through the swamp with Outlaw's voice leading him in the right direction.

A friend of Outlaw's said he checks on her sometimes and was shocked to hear what happened. He was relieved that she's OK.

McCullough said when he found Outlaw, she was very cold. Doctors said her body temperature was about 94 degrees. She was taken to Fraser Memorial Hospital, but she is recovering well.

Deputies said they are thankful McCullough found her because this area is so wooded. They said Outlaw is lucky she wasn't bitten by a snake in the muddy area around the creek.

Outlaw's relatives said they aren't sure what made her go near the creek.

"That's the million dollar question, we're still trying to figure that out," McCullough said. "Somehow she got there, but the main thing is she's safe. She's at the hospital and she's getting treated."

Right now, Outlaw lives alone, but deputies believe family members are with her now for comfort.

Sheriff Joey Dobson said Outlaw has live din the area for years and is very feisty and sweet. Her friends were showing up at her home all day after news of her rescue spread. They were all grateful she is OK. 

The rescue brought to mind the Baker County Sheriff's Office search and rescue effort last year for 8-year-old Peyton Blodgett. He was found safe deep in the woods after being missing for three days.