Missing Person in Liberty County
DAYTON , January 12, 2015 - A call to the Liberty County Sheriff’s dispatcher at approximately 11:pm Sunday night regarding a “welfare check” could have easily evolved into the loss of life for a Liberty County resident had it not have been for the persistent and unrelenting search efforts of two Sheriff’s Deputies.
Deputy Stephanie Walden responded to what was originally a “welfare check” but quickly became a “missing person” case on CR 2323 in the Tarkington area in mid-county. A resident advised Dep. Walden that a friend of hers by the name of Vincent Carmen Gray, about 50 years of age and a resident of the Dayton area had left her home a short time earlier on foot in what appeared to be a confused and incoherent state. Dep. Walden was further advised that on Saturday, the day prior, the supervisor where Mr. Gray works, called for someone to come pick Mr. Gray up because “he was not acting right”.
It immediately became clear to Dep. Walden that from the very cold rain falling and temperature at 43 degrees, that Mr. Gray who was not wearing shoes and with inappropriate clothing for the adverse weather in addition to his apparent physical condition could be in dire condition in a very short period of time if he was not found soon. At this time Mr. Gray had been missing for approximately three (3) hours.
Both Deputies began a foot search checking vacant houses and entering the extremely muddy wooded areas and attempting to locate Mr. Gray by flash light from CR 2321 back to CR 2323 and through the tree line of surrounding county roads. Finally, after an hour and a half search in the cold rain, Deputies began hearing a faint moaning sound coming from deeper in the woods just off of CR 2323. Deputies found Mr. Gray lying in a puddle of water, barefoot, wearing only water soaked sweat pants and a short sleeve shirt. Dep. Walden reported that Mr. Gray was incoherent and unaware of his surroundings but he reported his legs were numb. Mr. Gray was also covered with scratches and lacerations evidently from the underbrush in the woods.
Liberty County EMS was called to the scene to evaluate Mr. Gray who was then transported to the Liberty/Dayton Regional Medical Center for further medical treatment. Deputy Walden checked later on his condition and was advised as of approximately 5:am this morning that Mr. Gray was in stable condition and was still undergoing treatment.
Dep. Walden stated that from Mr. Gray’s physical condition when the Deputies found him and the way he was so poorly dressed for the cold rain and 43 degree weather, that it is very doubtful he would have been able to survive the night in the mud and water filled woods had he not of been found in a timely manner. Both Deputies returned to service and began running other calls that had backed up while they were out searching for Mr. Gray.