LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – For the first time since his daughter went missing Monday afternoon, Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber is speaking out.
In case you missed it, Lafayette Sheriff Mark Garber’s 7-year-old daughter and her 21-year-old babysitter were found safe Tuesday morning after getting lost in the marsh area beyond the lake.
Normally, the lake on Garber’s property is a place of peace, but on Monday it was the source of what Sheriff Garber is calling the scariest moment of his life.
When Sheriff Garber returned home Monday after flood rescue missions in Texas, he realized his daughter and her babysitter were missing.
Garber says, “I know as a professional that every minute that passes by, every single minute diminishes your odds. You could put it on and XY graph and the more time that passes, the more likely you’ll have a bad outcome.”
The sheriff says the babysitter, Juliana Brooks, was vigilant; getting out of the canoe at times to pull it through areas too thick for the paddle, before finding a dock 7 miles from home to wait for help.
When two men, part of the almost 400 people in the search party radioed in and said the girls were found, the sheriff was overcome with emotion.
“And that’s when I dropped the radio and I just collapsed in the boat and cried with complete joy in her having been found”, the sheriff said.
After being missing for nearly 16 hours and spending the night in the wooded marsh of St. Martin Parish, Cora (the sheriff’s daughter) was in good spirits, and well enough for school on Wednesday.
During Wednesday’s interview, Sheriff Garber could not stop expressing his gratitude and appreciate for Acadiana. The effort people put into the search whether through prayer, boots on the ground and even by boat, he sends a sincere thank you.