Joshua “JJ” Rowlands, has been found safe by a group of volunteers. This is a developing story.
Around 11AM, Sherrif Al Niennhuis announced the child was found near Parrott Middle School. He was immediately taken by ambulance to a hospital out of an abundance of caution.
“He was found north of [his] residence, just south of Parrott Middle School, so he was quite a way away from home,” Nienhuis said at a press conference just minutes after JJ was found. “The good news is that he did not wind up in any water, and he was not abducted. He was found in the woods, he seems to be fine. He’s definitely going to have something to tell his kids and grandkids.”
The only injuries Nienhuis noted were insect bites on JJ’s legs.
Trish Graeme was searching alongside Roy Link, who is pictured carrying JJ. Link reportedly accompanied the child and family to the hospital.
“I saw the curly hair, and I screamed, ‘That’s JJ!’ Graeme said she then ran to the child, “He didn’t look scared or act scared. I said ‘Are you okay, baby?’ he said, ‘I’m okay, I want Mommy.”
In a later interview, Nienhuis introduced Link as “The man of the year in Hernando County.”
“Little JJ glommed on to him and didn’t want let go, he was so excited to see him. Nienhuis gave thanks to Link on behalf of the HCSO, the entire county, “and probably the whole United States.”
Parrott Middle school is located at least .75 miles from the center point of Cheever Road.