Rescue efforts brought a man and woman out of a heavily wooded area in Candler County Friday afternoon, but as of late Friday, Candler County Sheriff’s officials were still trying to piece together what happened that landed them in the remote area.
One of the two is Jaquisha Mincey, 25, who had not been seen since July 8, said Candler County Sheriff’s Capt. Justin Wells. He did not yet know the man’s identity, he said late Friday.
Mincey was reported missing July 10, and had last been seen in Statesboro, he said. But as the situation unfolded, Wells, Candler County Sheriff John Miles and others were scrambling to learn more.
“It’s too early to tell what actually occurred,” he said Friday evening. “We have not been able to interview the two people who were found yet. They are still being treated.”
The pair were rescued from a densely forested area about a mile off Griffin Ferry Road, he said. Officers and others had been searching the area since the person who reported Mincey missing “pinpointed” her phone in the area of Cool Springs Church Road. Deputies searched the area and found no one, but continued looking into the next day, Wells said.
Around 8 a.m. Friday, five days after Mincey went missing, “ a group of deputies, jailers, and another citizen began searching for Mincey in a heavily wooded area located between Cool Springs Church Road and Griffin Ferry Road,” he said. Two hours later, “Deputies heard two people yelling out from deep within the wooded area. An extensive ground and air search was conducted.”
Mincey and the unidentified man were located in “an extremely dense wooded area” and “had to be extracted by the search and rescue team. Both were taken to an area hospital for treatment,” he said.
Investigators did not know as of late Friday whether the two had just been lost or if something else happened, he said. “We certainly are not ruling foul play out, but I cannot confirm right now,” he told the Statesboro Herald. “I am still waiting on identification of the guy.”
The search and rescue was very difficult with the density of the woods paired with oppressive heat and humidity, Miles said.
“I am very proud of our personnel who kept on the mission and searched through some of the most difficult terrain we have seen in Candler County. Without their hard work and dedication to the task, I believe the outlook for those two individuals would have been grim.”
The incident is still being investigated by the Candler County Sheriff’s Office.
The search team that located the two individuals were Candler County Sheriff’s deputies Chad Collins, Cory Gibson, Jason Rigdon, Miguel Aviles, Investigator Adrian Montealvo; jailers Blaine Sutton, and Victor Fordham, an a citizen, Matt Fordham, Miles said.
Assisting in the rescue operation were Metter Fire-Rescue, Candler County Emergency Management Agency, Candler County EMS, Georgia State Patrol Aviation, Georgia Emergency Management/Homeland Security, and the Georgia Forestry Commission.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.