PALM BAY, Fla. - The mystery surrounding last month's disappearance of Marsharie Lemons-Garrett, 22, has been solved with her being found alive late Wednesday but today detectives are trying to determine how she managed to elude Palm Bay police and other search efforts for several weeks.
A Brevard County sheriff's deputy found the woman attempting to hide in the woods while investigating a suspicious person report in the south Brevard town of Malabar, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.
Lemons-Garrett, reported missing June 22 from her home in Palm Bay, appeared dehydrated, covered with insect bites and suffering from exposure, according to Lt. Andrew Walters, spokesman for the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. Detectives are now trying to determine if she found shelter or if she survived in the heavy brush alone as the area was hit with rains from tropical storm Debby.
"She was found to be covered with ant bites," said Yvonne Martinez, spokeswoman for the Palm Bay Police Department. "She was taken to Palm Bay Hospital for evaluation. Palm Bay detectives went to the hospital to interview her."
For weeks, patrol officers used all-terrain vehicles and police dogs to search the heavily-wooded area near her home. Aerial patrols by the Brevard County Sheriff's helicopter and the police department's paraglider were also made over the thick canopy of woods along the Turkey Creek Sanctuary.
Lemons-Garrett, described by family associates as emotionally troubled, was last seen by her mother, Marsha Muhammad, at about 9 p.m. June 22 at her home on Oaklyn Street near the Turkey Creek Sanctuary.
Last weekend, members of the Nation of Islam – the faith community that Lemons-Garrett attends – joined with dozens of other Palm Bay residents to search the same area and passed out fliers featuring pictures of the missing woman. Family members also pleaded for her safe return.
Lemons-Garrett was located at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in a wooded area on Briar Creek Boulevard in Malabar. A resident called to report seeing a suspicious person wandering in the area off the 1300 block of Pemberton Trail, prompting a sheriff's deputy to hike through the woods.
An investigation is ongoing.
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