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Missing Man Found in State Forest
Thursday, February 26, 2009

For Immediate Release
February 26, 2009

Missing Man Found in State Forest

Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputies located John E. Nelson, a resident of 4231 Magnolia Road in Orange Park, at 2:15am this morning. He was located in the Jennings State Forest about 250 yards away from where his vehicle was found parked at the end of Nolan Road in Middleburg. He was quickly transported to the hospital for treatment following more than forty hours of outdoor exposure in the woods (from 8am Tuesday morning until 2am this morning).

The 47-year-old victim was last seen by his family early Tuesday morning when he left his home to judge a History Fair at Fleming Island High School. We now know that Nelson first went to the state forest with his camera equipment to photograph plants and wildlife and, while there in the forest, stepped into a large hole severely injuring his back. Nelson was unable to move or to call for help.

On today’s date at approximately 2:15am, deputies were patrolling the Jennings Forest area and found the victim’s vehicle, a red 2003 Toyota truck, parked and unoccupied on the side of the road. A search was initiated for the victim with the assistance of K-9 units from the Department of Corrections. During the search the victim was located approximately 250 yards from his vehicle by K-9 officers. He stated that he had injured his back while walking and was unable to make it back to his vehicle. Clay County Fire Rescue responded and transported the victim to Orange Park Medical Center. CCSO detectives, who led the investigation into Nelson’s disappearance, also responded to the scene this morning and will complete an incident report once they return to shift. An incident report will be distributed when it becomes available.

Thank you.
Mary Justino



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