Navy veteran's therapy dog missing after I-4 crash

Maltese-papillon mix hasn't been seen since Sunday

By Loren Korn - Reporter

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Family members are desperate to find a therapy dog that ran away from the vehicle after a crash on Interstate 4 in Volusia County on Sunday.

Zoraida Castellon said her brother-in-law, 46-year-old Navy veteran Jose Castellon, was driving home to Jacksonville with his 5-pound Maltese-papillon mix Luna on Sunday when he was involved in a crash and rushed to the hospital.

"All he remembers is when the first responders got there and they were taking him out of the car," Zoraida Castellon said.

Luna fled from the car after the crash and hasn't been seen since.

"He got attached to the dog, very well. Wherever he goes, he'll take the dog," Zoraida Castellon said.

Luna and Jose Castellon have been inseparable since Castellon suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2016. Now, as he's  at Halifax Hospital without her, Castellon is struggling to remain focused on recovery even as his surgery approaches.

"He's been depressed. He cares about getting better. I don't know. It's just him missing that dog so much. It's making it a little bit harder for him to recover,"  Zoraida Castellon said. "We really, really need to find her."

She said the family has searched the nearby woods and called nearby shelters but so far they have been unable to locate Luna. The dog is microchipped.

Family members said they're hoping someone will find the dog and help reunite her with her owner. Anyone with information on Luna's whereabouts is asked to call Laura Kennedy-Albrecht at 760-807-5205 or Mary Castellon at 904-271-0840.

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