Missing Brundidge man found alive

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Jim Brogdon knows the layout of Pike County almost as well as he knows the back of his hand.

But on Saturday, Brogdon was as lost in rural Pike County as if he had been dropped down in the wilderness of the Great Northwest.

Brogdon awoke sometime in the dark hours of Saturday night. He was in water up to his neck and the rain was pouring down. He didn’t know where he was or what had happened to place him there in the muck and mud. He was cold and shivering and “scared to death.”

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For the next few hours – how many, Brogdon is not sure – he wandered in the rain and stumbled in the darkness desperately trying to find his way to the far distant traffic sounds. But there seemed to be a stumbling block every way he tried.

“I was scared,” he said. “I don’t mind to say that. I didn’t know where I was or how I got there. I was hurting and wet and so cold. It was so dark I couldn’t see anything. I kept walking into beaver ponds and into bushes. I was stumbling and falling. I ran into a barbed wire fence and got hung up on it. Everywhere I went, I was having to go back. I was just going in circles. I was lost.”

The lightning was Brodgon’s friend. With every flash, he could see what was around him.

“For just a flash I could see,” he said. “There were beaver ponds all around and water holes. The mud was slippery and deep and I kept slipping and sliding and falling.”

The rain started coming down so hard that Brogdon took cover under a few pieces of wood he held over his head.

“I started praying,” he said. “I asked God for forgiveness and I promised if He would help me, I wouldn’t work on Sundays anymore and that I would get right with the Lord. I would be what I was supposed be.”

Brogdon’s prayers gave him hope, but when he heard coyotes in the near distance, his fears increased. He could withstand the rain and cold but he knew he didn’t have the strength to fight off wild animals.

“I took my big ring of work keys out of my pocket and started shanking them and the coyotes started going away,” he said. “I don’t know how long I stayed still before I started walking again, but I got so tired. I got down in a gully and stayed there a while.”

Brogdon wasn’t sure if he were dreaming or if those were real voices he heard in the distance.

“I thought I heard voices I recognized but it was like a dream,” he said. “I thought I heard Huey Green’s mule. I thought I did, but it was like it was not real.”

But it wasn’t a dream. Brogdon’s family and friends had come out in large numbers to join the Brundidge Police and other agencies in the search for him.

Around 9 am. Sunday, Jim Brogdon was found by several men who had continued their search after it was officially called off around 1 a.m. due to the weather conditons.  The organized search regrouped around 7:30 a.m. Sunday and it was little more than an hour later when Brogdon was found by friends.

The search for Jim Brogdon officially began at 3:03 p.m. Saturday, after his wife reported him missing to the Brundidge Police Department around 9 a.m.

“Up until that time, we were thinking that Jim had probably ridden off with someone to do a job,” said Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport.  “But after an extensive search of the places Jim might have gone, we launched an official search.”

The morning started as most Saturdays do for Brogdon, who might be called a shade tree mechanic. He was up early, around 5:30 a.m., to work on a vehicle. He needed a part for the vehicle so he went to Walmart in Troy and then the parts house.

“On the way back to Brundidge, the truck I was on started shanking and I thought I was having a flat,” Brogdon said. “I stopped up around Griffin’s Garage but I didn’t have the tools I needed, so I walked up to the John Deere place but it didn’t look like it was open so I walked back to the truck.”

Broaden said Stacy Mency stopped and asked if he needed help.

“He loaned me a lug wrench and I told him I could take it from there,” Brogdon said.

During this time, Brogdon’s wife, Beverly, was trying to contact him about another repair job. After a time of not being able to reach him by phone, she decided to go look for him. She looked at all the regular places he might be before deciding to try to track him down in Troy.

On the way to Troy, she saw the truck he was driving on the side of the road and saw Jim on the passenger side.

“I wanted to stop but there was so much traffic that I had to keep going until I got to the ‘scenic road’ where I could turn around,” Beverly Brogdon said. “When I got back to the truck, Jim was not there.”

Thinking someone had picked him up, she went into Brundidge looking for him but he was nowhere to be found.

“That’s when I got worried and called the police station,” Beverly said.

Jim Brogdon said after his wife passed on by him, he ran across the road from Griffin’s Garage.

“I’ve had gallbladder surgery and I just had to run across the road where there are no houses,” Brogdon said. “I ran way back in the woods away from the road. I started down a muddy embankment and slipped and fell in a deep hole. I was back where the trees had been cut to run the power lines and old logs are all around. I guess when I fell down that embankment I hit my head on a log. I don’t remember anything except waking up in the night and being up to my neck in water and shivering cold and scared. Then I got lost trying to find my way out and kept getting deeper in the woods.”

Brogdon was almost incoherent when he was found. He tried to call to his rescuers but his voice was too weak for them to hear him. He was taken to Troy Regional Medical Center where he was treated for a concussion, a sprained arm and ankle and multiple bruises and scratches and scrapes.

Brogdon said has always known that the Brundidge area is made up of kind and caring people,

“There’s not a better place in the world to live,” he said. “I can’t thank those that helped in the search for me enough. I appreciate it for myself and my family. I want to thank everyone that searched for me and prayed for me. I can’t name them all, but I thank everyone of them.”

Davenport also thanked all of those who participated in the search and rescue of Jim Brogdon. The agencies that responded include the Brundidge Police Department, the Brundidge Volunteer Fire Department, Hamilton Cross Roads Fire Department, the Alabama Department of Corrections, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Dale County Rescue was preparing to send a helicopter to the scene when Brogdon was found.