An all-night search for a missing elderly woman in Fairview wound up with a happy ending Thursday morning, and the man who found her said it was more than just luck.
Clara Carter, 81, suffers from dementia and had been reported missing from her home around 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Police and rescuers fanned out across the area to look for her overnight, but she ended up being found by a man who lost a family member in a very similar way.
Gary Stanley's great aunt died of hypothermia earlier this year outside her home, so when Stanley heard about the missing woman in Fairview, he felt compelled to stop while on his way to work.
"We had something similar to this happen after the first of the year, and it just really touched my heart. I was in early, and [I thought] 'I'll just take a few minutes and look around,' since it was so close," Stanley said.
After searching for barely an hour, Stanley was shocked when he somehow effortlessly stumbled upon Carter, sleeping in a ditch.
"She stretched her arms and rubbed them just like me or you would. She laid down and went to sleep, and I thought well, 'I'll call 911,'" Stanley said.
Emergency crews soon arrived to check her out, and Carter is now safe and sound at home.
Stanley insists it wasn't him who found her. It was someone else.
"I think God did, because I just walked right to her. And it was on my heart this morning. It was really a God thing," he said.
Stanley said that by losing a family member in a similar circumstance, then finding someone else, is more than a coincidence.
"It was just so exhilarating, and at the same time, hard to believe that I had found her," he said.
Area law enforcement, including the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Williamson County Sheriff's Office and K-9 units joined in the search for Carter.
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