U.S. Marine Veteran Prayed Before Finding Missing Toddler in Florida

A United States Marine veteran was showered with thanks and praise on Friday once he found a two-year-old boy who went missing in Brooksville, Florida, the day before.

“I said a prayer about 10 minutes before I found him,” Roy Link said, according to NBC Miami.

Approximately 500 people, along with law enforcement, had been looking for little Joshua “JJ” Rowlands once his parents reported the child was missing. He apparently left home while one of his parents was resting.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office shared a photo of Link holding the little boy, adding JJ was doing well, even though he had been outside overnight.

The child was found a good distance away, and ended up in the woods. The sheriff’s office also posted the emotional 911 recording of when Link discovered JJ.

“Hey, I found him,” he told the dispatcher, then relayed his location. In the background, the child is heard asking for his mother.

“He’s alive, he’s well. We’re giving him some water and he’s wanting Momma,” Link noted on the call. Moments later, a woman is heard crying out, “Are you okay, baby?”

When speaking with reporters after the rescue, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis announced the good news, adding JJ appeared to be fine.

“I was hoping and praying for a miracle. I certainly was not expecting one, but I think a lot of people were praying, and prayer works. That’s all I got to say, so thank you all for coming out and helping.”

The sheriff said the child was found far north of his residence, “But the good news is, he did not end up in any water, obviously, and he was not abducted.”

According to WFLA, Link had prepared his boat for a fishing trip, but something told him he needed to join the volunteers in their search for the missing boy:

“I came upon some woods, and I listened good. I heard like a whimpering kind of noise, and at that point, I was like, ‘There’s no other kids here. It’s gotta be JJ’s,” Link recalled, adding, “He was happy to see me.”