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UPDATE: Missing Vero Beach woman found by caregiver’s mom

By Debbie Carson, Online EditorVERO BEACH — Joan Gaun Nash, 83, is recovering in a hospital today after spending more than 18 hours in a ditch off a dirt road in rural Indian River County. The woman, who was reported missing Sunday afternoon, was found lying face-up in water in a ditch. She was praying, Sheriff Deryl Loar said, adding it was ironic given that Nash was on her way to church when she got lost on the dirt road.Nash was found near the intersection of 81st Street and 66th Avenue, south of County Road 510. Passerby and nearby resident Nita Hurst called authorities. Hurst is the mother of Nash’s nurse and caregiver, who had stayed with Nash’s husband while the woman was missing. Officer Randy Fornes, who was first to the scene, pulled Nash to more shallow water.”She was very pleasant,” Officer Fornes said. “She likes to hug people.” He added that she refrained from hugging him because she was all wet.”She was shaking and cold,” he said. She was also badly bitten by mosquitos.”The mosquitos were vicious,” the officer said.Officers believe that Nash became confused and disoriented while driving and had tried to turn around on 81st Street when the car got stuck on the lip of the ditch.Hurst told authorities that she had seen a car travel down the deadend road but never saw it turn around and head back.This morning, Hurst, “just on a hunch” investigated and found the car caught on the ditch and Nash lying in the water, according to the sheriff.”It’s a very fortunate day and a very fortunate outcome,” Sheriff Loar said.

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