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Missing Florida Child Found Safe and Sound in Everglades

Missing Florida Child Found Safe and Sound in Everglades

In this photo provided by the Winter Springs Police Department via The Orlando Sentinel, Nadia Bloom is picked up by Cpl. Kevin Chaulk of the Winter Springs, Fla. Police Department after she was found in a swampy wooded area near an alligator-infested swa

Associated Press

April 14, 2010

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A missing 11-year-old central Florida girl with an autism-related disorder was found alive Tuesday by a member of her family’s church four days after she disappeared into an alligator-infested swamp a half-mile from her home.

Fifth-grader Nadia Bloom was taken to a hospital where she was evaluated and treated for dehydration and insect bites, said Winter Springs Police Chief Kevin Brunelle.

’If I never believed in miracles, I sure do now," Brunelle said during an afternoon news conference.

It took nearly two hours for rescuers to carry Nadia out of the thick brush and swamp. James King, who goes to church with Nadia’s family and was helping in the search, found her in a dry patch in the middle of the swamp and called authorities. He started walking at daylight and found her several hours later, he said.

‘Hey, I’ve got her," King said, in the 911 call. ’I’ve got Nadia."

King said the girl had bug bites yet ’no major injuries, just exposure."

King added: ’The Lord told me where to find her."

A Winter Springs dispatcher asked to speak with Nadia.

‘Hi," Nadia’s little and weak voice said. ‘This is Nadia and I’m the girl that got lost."

Later in the afternoon, the medical director at South Seminole Hospital in Longwood spoke to reporters.

’She’s smiling. Her vital (signs) are stable. She has some abrasions and bites. She is dehydrated and receiving (intravenous) fluids and wound care," said Dr. Rakish Parekh. ’She is doing remarkably well."

By 8 p.m., Geo Morales, a spokesman from the hospital, said that Nadia’s family requested privacy and said he could not release any information about her, including whether she was still being treated.

Brunelle said Tuesday night that he wasn’t sure if Nadia had gone home.

‘Children can be very resilient," Brunelle said. ’Especially Nadia. She’s a driven young lady, and she surprised a lot of people today."

Nadia’s discovery was a welcome — and rare — event in a state that has been plagued with missing children.

Brunelle said Nadia told rescuers two things: ’I’m glad you guys found me" and ‘I can’t believe you guys rescued me."

Her sister has said Nadia, who has Asperger syndrome, may have gone into the dense woods around their Winter Springs home hoping to make a nature video.

When King found her, he gave her a nutritional shake, an apple and some water.

During the 911 call, King asked Nadia if he could take her photo, ’so you can show how God protected you."

’Sure!" Nadia replied.

King then unfurled toilet paper around a tree in an attempt to draw attention to where they were. Brunelle then dispatched a helicopter to look for the pair, but it didn’t work.

Using cell phone signals, authorities found them.

’Mr. King is a hero right now," said Brunelle. ’He led us to her."

Brunelle added that detectives are questioning both King and Nadia for more details about the rescue and how the girl spent her time while she was missing.

Brunelle did say that Nadia told them that she had not talked to anyone since going into the woods on Friday.

Authorities began searching for her in wooded areas near Lake Jesup, one of the most alligator-filled lakes in Central Florida. She was last seen riding her bike and authorities became alarmed when they found it and her helmet in her neighborhood. She did have a backpack with her.

Shortly after word came that Nadia was alive, her father briefly spoke to the media.

’It all came so fast and it just shows the compassion of the human spirit. It should give everybody encouragement," Jeff Bloom told reporters after rescue crews lifted her into an ambulance.

When asked how he felt, Bloom said: ‘I can’t even describe it. Let’s give the glory to God."

  • Sfa_iv_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Thanks be to GOD.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    Asperger syndrome is a very high functioning form of autism. Problem is they can go into their internal world and wander away from everything that is familiar to them. They can focus so hard on an idea or item, they totally block out everything else. Oh yeah, they don't lie very well either. I can understand how she got out into the swamp. Since we know nothing about the background and skills of the rescuer, I will not be quick to judge. However after 30 years in law enforcement, I do believe in miracles. Let's all pray this is a true miracle.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago

    I just saw a map of this place. Now I would say there is no way on gods green earth he was just able to walk that far out in the swamp to the girl. I want to believe it is a miracle but I am very skeptic now.

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max160_max160_max160_max160_max50


    about 5 years ago


    I'm wondering here as well. Is an autistic child walking away from their doing's? I thought that these kid's or let's say people do live on a schedule./routine. But yes I could use some help here with this autism behavior.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    That's a blessing. Glad she is ok. May she recovery quickly.

  • Lion_cub__masai_mara__kenya_max50


    about 5 years ago


    you just walked into an alligator infested swamp (And the term Infested does little to describe the numbers involved here.) and just happened to come across an eleven year old girl?

    God i pray my inner 'Cynical Bastard' is wrong here but this sounds very umm... suspicious.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago

    And isnt it nice to hear news like this. Brings a smile to your face! Thank goodness shes safe!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    Expect a miracle receive one. Enough said. What a happy ending.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    about 5 years ago


    This is a happy ending.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    nice topic.

    Cho Yung Tea

  • My_kids_027_max50


    about 5 years ago


    Hopefully my gut instinct is wrong, but I guess we will find out later. The main concern is that she is safe and back with her family.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago

    great she is safe, but that police instinct (which is never wrong) tells me there something more to this.

  • 4533_1068510194942_1291686471_30165148_3810701_n_max50


    about 5 years ago


    I agree with dolphinblue and the others on the story.

  • Me2_max50


    about 5 years ago


    I work very close to this city where this occured and it really pulled at my heart strings as I BOLO'd her out to my units. I have a nephew who is autistic and they are very easily distracted. I am so glad they found her safe and sound. It is a true miracle they did find her. I believe she had angels with her. That land is so easy to be lost in. Way to go to all who helped search for her! Job Well Done!

  • Dolphins_fantasy_max50


    about 5 years ago


    Glad the girl is OK, but have a few questions for the person who was able to just walk right in and locate her.

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