Pearl River County man found alive in woods
Published 5:04 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2015
A Pearl River County man has been found alive in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area after a lengthy search by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Department.
Robert “Rob” Varnado, 42, had been missing since Thursday, but was found “alive and well” around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, said Deputy Suzanne Carboni of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Department.
According to a statement released by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Department, Varnado was found by a search team that was traveling by boat down the West Pearl River.
Deputies who had just returned from grabbing lunch gave it to Varnado instead, who was hungry and thirsty but otherwise in good health, the release states.
Carboni said that Varnado and a friend went hunting on Thursday evening and got separated from each other.
“Varnado’s hunting partner made it out of the area after the bad weather started and never reunited with Varnado,” said St. Tammany Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer George Bonnett.
Carboni said that Varnado’s friend did not hear from him after their hunting trip and reported him missing on Saturday.
In the release, Varnado said he became lost when the storm blew in because the rising water prevented him from accurately retracing his steps.
Throughout the next five days, Varnado attempted to find his way out of the woods, consuming only rain and river water in that time, the release states.
Deputies began their search of the Honey Island Swamp area on Saturday and continued their search until Varnado was found alive on Tuesday, said Carboni.
The Louisiana Search and Rescue Dog Team, along with Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents, assisted with the search, the release states.
“I could not be more pleased with the outcome of this ordeal, and we are all very thankful that Mr. Varnado was found alive and well,” St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain said in the release, “I can only imagine what he endured in that swamp for six days in the cold and at times very rainy weather.”
Carboni said that Varnado’s last recorded address was in the Picayune area.