WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WALA)– It’s a heart tugging video that’s been viewed by thousands of people on Facebook, Walton county Deputy Craig Yost carrying 95-year-old Julia Goodman in his arms after finding her two miles from her Defuniak Springs home.
“I’d asked God to lead me to her.”
Goodman, trembling as Yost held her, had been missing for nearly 10 hours.
She got lost in the woods behind her house after hanging laundry Sunday morning.
“We were really scared for her,” said her granddaughter, Luebirda Peterson, who was in tears as she spoke about her grandmother’s rescue, “Didn’t realize she was that far away from home and didn’t know how to get back. She told me she had fell several times and didnt know how to get up. She was on her hands and knees crawling.”
The search became more dire as the hours passed, night had fallen, it was cold and raining; Goodman, a diabetic, needed her insulin.
Yost remained hopeful.
A picture captured on a game camera helped the sheriff’s office narrow their search area.
The deputy prayed, even sang to God with his windows down, shining his flashlight, listening closely as he made his way down the beaten path.
“I was actually singing to God. It was something short, something along the lines of ‘help me locate her.’ And it was a few minutes later that I found her. I don’t think that was a coincidence. I absolutely believe that God gave her the strength to call out to me to come help her.
Yost says Goodman was radiating with strength, shocked to see that she still had it in her to shout for help.
He says when her found her she kept repeating her address and told him to take her home.
“She said ‘get me my hat!’, ‘Yes maam!”, I said. She was a little shaky on her feet so that was the point that I scooped her up.”
Yost believes the power of prayer is what led him to Goodman.
Her family is grateful for him and all of the deputies who never gave up.
“I hugged all the officers and.. I don’t mean to cry, but we hugged the officer and we thanked them. They did not give up. They kept looking for her.”
Yost says he puts a lot on the Lord doing his job and He hasn’t failed him since.
He says saving Goodman was truly a team effort.
He says if it hadn’t been for the lieutenant who thought to check game cameras in the area they may not have found her as soon as they did.