An elderly New Brunswick man and his great-granddaughter, who were reported missing in the Miramichi area, have been found safe.
Police say 76-year-old Joseph Doyle and 11-year-old Chloe Burke were found safe and sound at a gas station in the Caraquet, N.B., area Tuesday morning.
It was the happy ending everyone had been hoping for.
“That was the best news that I ever heard,” said Doyle’s daughter Kathy Matchette.
Doyle and Burke were reported missing to the Miramichi Police Force Monday evening. Police said they had last been seen in his white 2015 Ford Escape in the area of Craigville, N.B. earlier that day.
Police said it was possible that Doyle may have been confused and may not have been aware of his surroundings.
Police and family members spent the night combing the woods and backroads.
“We conquered Miramichi left right and centre,” said Raymond Doyle, Joseph Doyle's grandson. “Me and my father, we drove up to Moncton.”
Ground search and rescue were not able to be called in because there was not a known starting point or point of entry.
By Tuesday morning, hope began to fade.
“I thought the worst,” said Matchette. “I really panicked.”
There was also concern for Doyle's health, said Miramichi Deputy Police Chief Brian Cummings.
“It became evident pretty early on that Mr. Doyle might have some health problems that might make him confused,” Cummings said.
The search came to an end Tuesday morning when the two were found more than 120 kilometres away in Caraquet.
“It appears at this point that they became stuck in the mud on a dirt road,” Cummings said. “Mr. Doyle and his great-granddaughter walked out to a gas station.”
Police say it was the gas station clerk who made the call.
“The clerk recognized that something was just a little bit off, so he called the RCMP,” Cummings said.
Family members say it’s been nothing short of a rollercoaster of emotions, but they're just happy that Burke and Doyle have been found safe.
“I wanted to screech and cry,” said Pat Doyle, Joseph Doyle's son. “I was happy.”
Doyle was taken to hospital to be assessed as a precaution and Burke was reunited with her mother.
The entire family awaited their arrival back home, breathing a sigh of relief and feeling a little extra grateful.
Police are thanking the public for their “vigilance and information,” saying it was “instrumental in their safe return.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.