On Tuesday, March 21, at approximately 1 p.m., 75-year-old Darlene Marybell Peck left her home in Umatilla, Florida for a trip to the nearby city of Ocala. When she failed to return by midnight, her husband reported her missing to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and a Silver Alert was issued. Less than 24 hours later, python hunters located Peck in a portion of Everglades National Park that spans the far southwestern corner of Miami-Dade County.
According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Peck—who suffers from dementia—left her home in a grey Nissan Rogue. At 7 a.m. the following morning, authorities spotted her vehicle in the Coral Gables area near Miami. Shortly after her vehicle was recovered, the sheriff’s office issued a press release requesting information from anyone with knowledge of her whereabouts.
Thankfully, the missing woman was soon found. There are few details about the circumstances that led to Peck’s discovery by the South Florida python hunters, but deputies said she was in good health when they found her and has since been reunited with her family in Umatila.
The south Florida Everglades is the epicenter of the Sunshine State’s invasive Burmese python invasion. Despite sustained efforts by python hunters to put a dent in their numbers, the ecologically-destructive snakes continue to multiply as their populations slowly spread into more northerly parts of Florida.