COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — There was nothing but smiles at the Collier County Sheriff's Office headquarters as staff, detectives and the family of Margaret Gallaway gave an update on the woman who went missing on October 16.
The Gallaways told FOX 4's Briana Brownlee that it's been an emotional roller coaster but they are blessed responders found Margaret Gallaway, calling it a 'miracle'.
"Oh, I knew what it was; I knew by the knock," said Michael Gallaway, her husband.
That knock coming from CCSO detectives alerting Michael Gallaway of some amazing news.
The love of his life and wife for the past 54 years was found alive on Sunday, six days after she was reported missing.
"I was ecstatic; I didn’t know what to think; all I wanted to do was go there as fast as I could," he said. "Margaret is the most thoughtful and loving and caring person I have ever met in my life, everybody loves Margaret."
Thankful and in disbelief, Michael was reunited with his wife Margaret after reporting her missing a week ago—after she disappeared from their home in their Crown Point neighborhood.
“If someone told you, you would be locked in a garage, basically in a dark box, for six days with no food or water. How many of us think we could get through that," Mike Gallaway, Margaret's son asked.
Detectives caught a major break in the case Sunday. The Sheriff's Office was going door-to-door for surveillance video to try and determine what happened to Margaret Gallaway. One house gave them the answers to look closer.
Deputies reached out to the property owner as the Sheriff's Office reports Gallaway walked inside the garage last Monday, October 17. The garage closed and the family, unaware of Gallaway being inside, left the following day for an out-of-town trip.
When looking closely you can see Margaret entering a garage the day she was reported missing. CCSO called it a needle in a haystack.
“Have them [security cameras] on all of the time; it’s more than just your security; it can save someone’s life," Mike said.
When responders found Margaret lying on the floor of the garage after six days, they suspected the worst. However in a pleasant surprise, she talked. Family and law enforcement described her as non-verbal.
“He said 'Margaret,' and she opened her eyes and said ‘Yes’. We haven’t heard her say yes in a long time," explained Maureen Taylor, Margaret's youngest daughter. "Then he said, 'Are you married to Michael Gallaway?' She said “Yes’. She hasn’t spoken in as long as I can remember."
The Gallaways said, even on Monday morning, she was still telling the medical staff at NCH hospital "My name is Margaret Ann Gallaway."
“I think she’s been rehearsing that for 6 days," laughed Mary Gallaway, Margaret's oldest daughter. "This staff at NCH in both the emergency department and the floor that she is on, every doctor, every tech, every nurse has been absolutely incredible. I told her ER doctor, Dr. Cline—they saved her life, now you have to keep it,"
The Gallaways gave Margaret a new nickname, their "miracle mama,". They added that this miracle was possible with the help of all of the search and rescue crews who never gave up, the hospital staff at NCH whose nursing her back to health and also the Collier County community who banded together to help look for her.
"Before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she was very active in the church, always volunteering. She was a medical technologist," Maureen said. "She was very active in the community, so to see the community come together and help her out the way she helped them out is really overwhelming.”
With this beautiful and happy ending for the family, they said as soon as Margaret is out of the hospital they are celebrating.