An Abita Springs man was found alive after being reported missing on Friday and his family is grateful following the emotional weekend search.
Robert Olsen’s family was supposed to be getting ready last week to celebrate his birthday.
"He just made 77. We would have done something this weekend,” Christina Olsen, Robert’s daughter-in-law, said.
Christina Olsen said the family’s excitement turned into worry.
"There was no sign, no trace of him. They brought out the dogs teams, and 4-wheelers,” she said.
Around 3 p.m. on Friday, Robert Olsen’s wife noticed he was gone an unusually long time from the front yard, where he was working, on White Oak Road in Abita Springs.
When family members noticed he was gone, they called the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office and shortly after multiple agencies joined in the search, as well as community members.
Neighbors like Dolores Lorio feared that he might have been attacked as helicopters flew overhead and crews searched a two-mile radius around her home Saturday.
"We have cougars, black panthers is what I should say, we've seen those, we have wild pigs," Lorio said.
The search continued into the second day on Sunday morning.
"Things started looking positive, but around 12 p.m. we were gonna close it with no answer,” Christina Olsen said.
Then, a deputy heard Robert Olsen cough and found him about one mile away from his house.
“So he had been out there for such a long time. Clearly he was dehydrated, and in no condition to shout out for help, but one of our deputies did hear him cough,” St. Tammany Parish Public Information Officer Meredith Timberlake said.
“St. Tammany Parish Search and Rescue were phenomenal, and we give all praise and glory to God because the way that it worked out, even though it seemed so tragic. It worked out so wonderful,” Christina Olsen said.
Robert Olsen is recovering at the hospital and his family believes it is likely that he got confused after crews cleared away new brush in the backwoods.
“He actually was complaining about the Saint's game, so I think he's on his way to recovery," Christina Olsen said.
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