martins

An elderly couple went missing from their Finger farm Tuesday, December 8, and after a massive search operation were found many hours later completely unharmed.

David and Loveda Martin, owners of their 100-acre farm on Leapwood Road, were discovered missing by their children around 3:30-4 p.m. that day.

They were found around 10:30 p.m. walking down Center Hill Road, and were picked up by McNairy County resident Collin Sealander.

“A huge thank you to everyone that turned out this evening to help,” Melvin Martin, son of the Martins and director of the Hardin County Emergency Management Agency, said. “After being missing for about eight hours, my parents were found safe. They had walked about two miles through the woods, (and) other than scratched up and tired, they are fine.”

According to officers, their children had last made contact with the couple around 9 a.m. that morning, and after being unable to reach them later, grew concerned.

The husband and wife both have dementia, and are known to take walks in the area.

Dispatch later received a call from McNairy County Fire Chief Steve Stoll concerning the couple, beginning the organization of numerous county agencies and first responders, including the Finger Fire Department, Selmer Police Department, the McNairy County Sheriff's Office, as well as Hardin County and Madison County responders, and many more.

Helicopters and K-9 teams were also deployed.

Hardin County Fire set up a command post at the house, according to McNairy County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Zach Bay.

"We are just searching everything we can," he said.

Large numbers of volunteers from across the county joined the search, both on foot and in vehicles. Homeowners in the area opened their doors to searchers, providing coffee, food and warmth to the cold-stricken volunteers.

Raucous shouts and cheers could be heard through the woods as word spread that the couple was found, ending the cold and harrowing search that could have had a very different outcome.

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