The daughter and babysitter of Lafayette Sheriff Mark Garber have been found safe after the two went missing in a canoe overnight. John Mowell with the sheriff’s office says the 21-year-old Juliana Brooks took 7-year-old Cora Garber canoeing in the sheriff’s pond, which is adjacent to a swamp.
“They ventured out a little too far, got back in that swamp, and apparently got turned around. As the sheriff was coming home yesterday, he noticed right away that things weren’t right,” Mowell said.
Mowell says when the sheriff saw the babysitter’s phone and car at his home and no sight of the girls, he immediately deployed search and rescue teams. He says local law enforcement agencies joined in the effort, along with volunteers in canoes who searched throughout the night before finding the girls in the Lake Martin area near an oil well.
“As you would imagine from spending the night in the swamp, they were bitten up by mosquitos pretty good, little bit dehydrated. They’re currently getting evaluated as a precautionary measure,” Mowell said.
Mowell says the girls used mud from the swamp to protect themselves from mosquitos. He says the babysitter is a skilled kayaker with survival skills, which came in handy during the long night in the swamp.
“As soon as she realized she got off track, she held the course and kept going until she got to ground, and then they took off on foot from there. So she obviously had good judgement,” Mowell said.