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Latest from Sandra Parrish

    A Woodstock family, who had given up hope they’d ever see their beloved dog again after he went missing six months ago, now has him back thanks to social media. >>LISTEN TO SANDRA PARRISH’S FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW. Danny and Diana Prince were heartbroken when their 9-year-old golden lab-mix Duncan escaped during a thunderstorm on March 9. After searching for days, they were contacted by Lara Shaw from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue offering to help. Besides putting up signs and trail cams, she took to searching missing pet pages on social media and last week spotted a post that looked like Duncan.  “I kept zooming in and I saw the collar and it was red on the side; and I tagged Danny and Diana and I said I think that it’s worth a shot to go up there because I think it looks like Duncan,” Shaw tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.  The couple traveled to the poster’s home in Canton, some eight miles away, with McDonald’s hamburgers in hand.  “We all of the sudden saw a tan-colored animal and we kept calling for his name… And he came up and ate the hamburgers and then came to us. We realized when he was responding to his name—it was Duncan,” says Diana.  Duncan had lost nearly half his body weight—going from around 75 pounds down to 40. But otherwise, he was healthy.  Danny wonders what path he would have taken to end up in Canton.  “We’re not for sure if he followed the highway through the woods. Just the place where he was at, was not what we were expecting,” he says.  Shaw says eight miles isn’t that unusual and, in fact, has seen a dog travel up to 35 miles away before being found.  Diana says it’s a lesson in using the resources you have and never giving up.  “Sometimes it’s easier emotionally just to write it off and be done. That’s what we did, and we ended up being proved wrong. They can still be out there. Just keep trying and keep looking for them,” she says.  Shaw hopes the message gives others with missing pets hope. She is currently working the case of another missing dog, Bailey, who disappeared from her Cobb County home last month after her owner died unexpectedly. A dedicated group of friends, including Shaw, is continuing the search for her.
  • A traffic stop in the north Georgia mountains leads to a human trafficking arrest with ties to metro Atlanta.Ellijay Police Chief Edward Lacey says 26-year-old Cordarrel William Blandburg was pulled over at 1am on Old Highway 5 and Bobcat Trail for failure to dim his bright lights and having no working tag light. He told the officer he was taking a woman in the car to the hospital for a possible seizure. “He originally claimed the passenger was his finance, but it ended up being that he was actually holding her as his property for sexual servitude,” Lacey tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
  • Some two dozen arrests have been made this week in a multi-agency child sex sting that originated out of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department.Most of the 24 arrested were from the metro area and north Georgia, but several were from out of state including a couple who traveled from Tennessee with their 2-year-old baby thinking they would have a sexual encounter with a child.
  • All newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients at the Aflac Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta will now get a little something to help make them smile despite the grim diagnosis. >>LISTEN TO SANDRA PARRISH’S FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW. Dancing While Cancering will be providing age-appropriate backpacks called Smile Packs that include a Bluetooth speaker, musical instruments, drawing pads or journals, a blanket and lots of streamers to decorate the room. Scott and Pammy Kramer came up with the idea after losing their 3-year-old daughter Maddie to a rare and aggressive form of cancer called AT/RT last year. They created the foundation in her memory to be an inspiration for others. “Maddie was just a light—just a beautiful ray of sunshine. If you found her in her hospital room when she was diagnosed at just 2-and-a-half-years old, you wouldn’t have known she was sick,” says Scott. That’s because the couple danced and sang with her and decorated her room at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. “There would be streamers on the ceiling, paper disco balls (that) we’d put on the IV poles and the curtain hooks, (and) books on the window sills. We really tried to make it a home,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. CHOA is the 11th hospital in seven states to get the Smile Packs, thanks in part to Dr. Jason Fangusaro who was Maddie’s neuro oncologist in Chicago but now works at CHAO. “To see a family who has gone through what they’ve gone through--it’s so easy to say, ‘no more hospitals for me, I don’t want to deal with cancer’. And yet, what they have done is pay it forward and honor Maddie and help the next family that comes in the hospital,” he says. Becca Doobrow, a child life specialist at CHOA, says the Smile Packs will make a difference to kids who get that cancer diagnosis. “These backpacks will be really, really beneficial in bringing just a little bit of light, and play, and promoting that joy that you might not see as much in the hospital when you receive that bad news,” she says.
  • Scattered, smothered and covered aren’t exactly what Waffle House execs have on their minds as they huddle around the conference table at their headquarters in Norcross watching for the latest updates on Hurricane Dorian. >>LISTEN TO SANDRA PARRISH’S FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW. Some 400 restaurants belonging to the chain in four states are expected to be impacted--that’s about one-fifth of its total stores. The company’s own software is predicting 140 of those will suffer some sort of damage.  With three huge screens before them and laptops and phones at the ready, they’re accessing not only the future implications of Dorian but what to do in the aftermath.  “We all give that information to state and federal partners, so they can see the overview of the community after the storm,” says Pat Warner, director of Public Relations and External Affairs.  That information is also used to come up with the Waffle House Index, coined in 2004 by then Florida Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate who would go on to become director of the federal agency.  “He came up with an unofficial metric to tell his folks that if a Waffle House is open keep driving. If we’re on a limited menu, then there’s limited resources, power and water, [to] keep driving and drive to the nearest Waffle House that’s closed because you know it’s really bad,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.  Now the chain bears great responsibility in helping come up with that index by staging its own war room where logistics of people, utilities, and food are critical elements.  “We try to stay ahead of the folks that are down there. They’re dealing with the problem head-on and we try to think about 48-72 hours down the road about what we’re seeing. We have our eyes on the news. We have access to sales information… where we’re getting business and where we’re not,” says Will Mizell, VP of People and head of the response effort.  He says they have “jump teams” on standby that are not only helping in areas with an influx of evacuees but who will then turn around and head to the affected areas to help get the restaurants back up and running.  “All those folks who are helping get the infrastructure back in place, they need a place to eat and so a lot of times we’re feeding them,” says Mizell.  Warner says that’s where the index plays a key role.  “Us getting open quickly--that shows how quickly the communities are coming back,” he says.
  • A couple of Dawson County brothers say they still plan to open their corn maze next month despite vandals who tried to sabotage it. Bryan and Chris Gober were excited to open their first corn maze, Papa Pat’s Corn Maze, named after their father. It’s on the same sight used by a former longtime maze on Hwy 53.  The property was first targeted by vandals even before planting began this summer when someone drilled a hole into a tractor tire and stole a chain off the planter. But four weeks later the corn was tall, lush and green. On Saturday, the brothers began cutting the paths on the 12-acre site. But by Monday, they noticed nearly two acres of corn was yellow and dying. They called the Dawson County Sheriff’s Department and the county extension office who told them it looked to have been sprayed with a commercial herbicide. “We really don’t have an idea of who done [sic] it or why they done [sic] it… or why they’re mad at us,” Bryan tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. But the brothers don’t plan on letting the vandalism stop their efforts on bringing joy to the community this fall season. “We had to backtrack, redesign, and take some things out,” says Bryan. Chris says it now allows them to offer an extra attraction to customers. “We had to split the maze into two different sections because of where they sprayed. So, therefore, we’re going to do a haunted maze on one section and a regular maze on the rest of it,” he says. In addition, they will have a hay ride going through some of the destroyed sections. They say the maze will still open as planned on Sept. 20. “We got [sic] a tent coming; we got [sic] a sales shack coming; and we got [sic] people wanting to do food. So, we’re going to try it,” says Bryan. They say extra security measures are now in place on the property including cameras and some watchful eyes. 
  • The Gwinnett County school district promises to deal with bus overcrowding at a few of its schools.Parents at some schools in Snellville and Lawrenceville complain their children from elementary up to high school have been sitting three and four to a seat since the school year started.“I think it’s a safety thing right—like there’s too many kids on the bus,” says Victoria Olvera. Her fourth-grade daughter routinely sits three to a seat.
  • A well-loved member of the metro Atlanta’s triathlon community dies suddenly leaving behind her husband and twin infant sons. On top of it, the couple’s beloved dog escapes during the chaos. Now, the community is coming together to in an all-out effort to find it. >>LISTEN TO SANDRA PARRISH’S FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW. Bethany Rutledge, just 37, was looking forward to her sons’ first birthday next month when she died in her sleep August 3rd from an aneurysm. As friends and family came to support her husband, John, the following day, Bailey, the couple’s 11-year-old Vizsla, escaped. “With all the commotion of people coming in because of the death, she got out. She’s probably just as shocked as everybody else,” longtime friend Rogue Hale tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. Hale is part of the community of triathletes the Rutledges were a part of. The couple founded the Atlanta Triathlon Club and often trained with Bailey by their side. That community, led by a close group of friends including Hale, have organized searches, posted hundreds of signs and flyers, and gone door to door looking for Bailey. “We were able to get some of Bethany’s shoes and we started putting up scent stations all along the Silver Comet Trail,” says friend Kim Spence. The group also has a couple of professionals assisting in the search, and hopefully eventual capture, of the dog. Bailey has been spotted several times within a five-mile radius of her home and searchers are concentrating on the areas of Smyrna and Mableton from Atlanta Road by West Village over to the Silver Comet Trail off the East-West Connector and the Vinings Estates area. The group is asking anyone who spots Bailey not to approach her but take a picture and send it in along with the location. Tips can be called in or texted to 404-414-5784 or shared via the “Find Bailey Rutledge” Facebook page or the Nextdoor app. Longtime friend Karen Garland says it would be something positive to come out of a tragic situation. “Bethany would stop at nothing to find Bailey and I think that’s the shared attitude. Whatever it takes to find Bailey—we’re going to find her. And I don’t think anybody is going to stop until that day happens,” she says. 
  • As Gwinnett County students head back to class today, a new high school opens its doors that could help launch students into a career in healthcare.  The new state-of-the-art McClure Health Science High School in Duluth looks more like a medical facility than a high school and will give students hands-on training in the medical field.  >>LISTEN TO SANDRA PARRISH’S FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW. “You would think you were walking into a research institution for a medical school,” says Principal Nicole Mosley.  She tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish students will be working with medical training mannequins that talk, electrocardiogram machines, and a virtual dissection table. Even if students are not interested in pursuing a healthcare career, Mosley says they all will take health science classes.  The school is named for Dr. Robert McClure, a dermatologist who served on the Gwinnett school board for 24 years.  “It’s a real honor,” he says. “I am struck by how much has changed, even in my lifetime.” Besides its emphasis on health science, the school will also focus on Fine Arts. The campus includes a state-of-the-art theater as well.  It will relieve Meadow Creek High School and only serve 630 students its first year.
  • The community in West Georgia is coming to the aid of a Troup County Sheriff’s deputy who is battling Stage 4 esophageal cancer.  >>LISTEN TO SANDRA PARRISH’S FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW. Struggles with cancer are nothing new for Deputy Billy Baker. The 35-year veteran lawman just went through the battle with his wife of three years. Misty Baker was diagnosed with ovarian cancer within a few days of their wedding in 2016. Just as she fully recovered, Billy got the devastating news he had just three months to live.  “We’ve got this great love story that keeps getting interrupted by cancer,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.  Baker used up most of his vacation and sick days at the sheriff’s department to care for his wife. Now as he undergoes treatment to save his own life, he has no more paychecks coming in.  “We’re still paying for her cancer treatment. There’s a stack of bills in there just for her and now I’m starting a new stack,” he says.  On top of it all, Baker was told he can’t begin collecting Social Security disability payments for at least five months—two months later than the time doctors told him he has left to live.  But he says where the government has let him down, the community and the Troup County Sheriff’s Department is stepping up with fundraising efforts.  The Billy Baker Benefit Fund has been set up at the Colony Bank in LaGrange, and The Troup County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson Services, and the Blue Knights of Georgia are hosting a motorcycle / Jeep / Hot Rod ride, along with an auction at the Elk’s Lodge in LaGrange on August 10th. Anyone wanting more information can contact Lt. Nathan Taylor at 706-883-1616 or email ntaylor@troupco.org.  “I’ll never be able to say ‘thank you’ enough,” says Baker, who hopes to return to the sheriff’s department and continue doing what he loves if even for a short time. “I want to walk out on my terms not cancer’s terms.”
  • Sandra Parrish

    News Anchor Reporter

    Sandra Parrish has been a reporter for WSB Radio since 1995 and covers political, legislative, transportation, and educational news. She graduated from the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism in 1989 and worked as an anchor/news director for WPLO in Lawrenceville, an anchor/assistant news director for WNGC in Athens and an anchor/reporter for WDUN in Gainesville before joining the WSB news team. Over the years, she has received over a dozen Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for "Best Use of Sound", "Best Series", and "Best Sports Reporting". She's also received numerous awards from the Associated Press, Georgia Association of Broadcasters, Society of Professional Journalists, and National Association of Black Journalists. Sandra is a former member of the board of the Georgia Associated Press Broadcast Association. She is married with two daughters.

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News

  • Four men are accused of abducting a Maine man at gunpoint, forcing him to strip naked, and then shooting at him as the man attempted to escape by running down a road, police said Monday, >> Read more trending news  Ajoung M. Malual, 22, of Westbrook, Maine, Mahdi B. Ali, 23, of Boston, Noh Y. Okubazghi, 20, of Boston, and Samson S. Samsom, 22, of Minneapolis, were charged with drug trafficking and may face other charges, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. Each man is being held in lieu of $150,000 bond apiece, the Sheriff's Office said. Deputies said they received reports of gunshots fired at a naked man about 1:30 a.m. Monday, WMTW reported. When deputies located the 39-year-old Naples resident, he told them he was taken at gunpoint from his home and put into a trunk, the Sheriff's Office said in its news release. He told deputies he was taken to an area and told to strip naked, and at that point began running through the woods while he was being shot at, deputies said. The victim gave deputies a description of the vehicle, which was located in Windham and stopped by authorities, the Sheriff's Office said. The four men in the vehicle were detained and subsequently arrested, deputies said. The victim, who was wounded, was taken to an area hospital and is in stable condition, deputies said.
  • What was an exciting celebration for one Texas couple became the subject of criticism on Twitter. The New York Post reported Jonathan Joseph and Bridgette Joseph were at Capital of Texas Zoo in Cedar Creek, Texas, where they enlisted the help of Tank the hippo for their gender reveal. >> Read more trending news  Video was posted to the zoo's Facebook page, but not before going viral on Twitter, where Ana Breton, a filmmaker, posted a screen recording of a TikTok post of the gender reveal. 'I did it. I found the worst gender reveal,' she tweeted Saturday. Time reported that the video showed Tank chomping on a watermelon, which revealed a blue color, meaning the couple is expecting a boy. Criticisms soon followed. 'The whole reveal concept is just completely stupid to begin with, but I guess you can make it even dumber,' one person tweeted. 'That person's baby is not remotely important enough to feed a hippo 10 pounds of food coloring,' another person replied. On Sunday, Breton said she got in contact with Bridgette Joseph, although it's not clear if Bridgette Joseph reached out to Breton to respond or not. 'While I’m not a fan of gender reveals, it was not my intention to bring darkness to their special day,' Breton tweeted, which included a response from Bridgette Joseph. 'This was one of the happiest days of our lives,' Bridgette Joseph said, according to Breton's tweet. 'With the help of the zoo and the amazing Tank the hippo, we learned that we are having a baby boy. After many years of raising our beautiful young lady, we decided to try for another baby. It took some time and some extra money in fertility treatments, but we finally got pregnant!' Bridgette Joseph said she and her husband would have been happy to have another girl, but for them, it would have meant they 'would have had to keep tying for a boy.' Michael Hicks, the director of the zoo, told The Post the Jello-O was not harmful to Tank, despite what some said on social media. 'This is the same Jell-O people feed their kids. It's totally harmless,' zoo director Michael Hicks told the tabloid. Hicks said the hippo wasn't forced into the gender reveal. 'You can't make a hippo do anything. He weighs 4,000 pounds,' Hicks said. 'He enjoyed it as much as anybody else did.
  • Officials in an Iowa city said the U.S. Department of Transportation has asked the city manager to remove multi-colored sidewalks, according to KCCI. >> Read more trending news  Ames officials said they received a letter from the USDOT's Federal Highway Administration, explaining the crosswalk at Fifth Street and Douglas Avenue did not meet codes and requested its removal 'as soon as it is feasible,' the television station reported. The crosswalks, installed earlier this month, feature a minority-inclusive rainbow on Douglas Avenue, KCCI reported. The crosswalks on Fifth Street feature gender non-binary colors on the east crosswalk and pride transgender colors on the west crosswalk, the television station reported. Ames officials said the FHWA's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices prohibits the use of anything but white paint in crosswalks, adding that colored crosswalks and multi-colored crosswalks were not allowed. Ames officials are contesting the request. “I note that the FHWA’s letter included a “request” -- not a demand -- for the City to remove the colored crosswalk markings,' Ames City Attorney Mark O. Lambert told KCCI. 'This is not a lawful order or demand by a federal agency, it is merely a request.”
  • While this is only the first part of the Golden Ray and the St. Simons Sound incident, there remains a lot of work to do, threats to the environment, hazards to the people and to the Port of Brunswick continue to be addressed through a unified command,' said U.S. Coast Guard Captain John Reed, Charleston sector Coast Guard commander.   While an ongoing review and investigation unfolds of a fire and the subsequent capsizing of the South Korean automobile transport tanker, the Golden Ray, off the Georgia coast, you can bet millions that the ship's owner, automobile manufacturer/shipper and insurer were all hoping that there were some very experienced hands at the wheel the night that this massive cargo ship fell over on its side.
  • Chicago police have captured a man suspected of nearly killing an officer over the weekend, three days after he is accused of shooting a 28-year-old woman in the back as he rode a bicycle near downtown. Michael Blackman, 45, was in critical condition Sunday after he was shot during an armed confrontation with police, authorities said Sunday. As of Monday morning, he had been charged with four counts of attempted murder, according to Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer for the Chicago Police Department. A news conference was slated for later Monday to provide more details, but a time had not been set.  Blackman was captured Saturday afternoon, several hours after he allegedly shot a 40-year-old police officer on Chicago’s South Side. Chicago Deputy Police Chief Brendan Deenihan said Blackman was caught after investigators who were canvassing the Englewood community, where the officer’s shooting took place, obtained surveillance footage that showed Blackman fleeing through a vacant lot several blocks away. The footage did not show him leave the lot. Detectives and patrol officers descended upon the area, Deenihan said. “When they went to go search that lot, this defendant popped up,” Deenihan said. “This is when the gun battle ensued between the defendant and the officers.” Blackman ran over some railroad tracks, where he encountered more officers. Additional shots were fired, and Blackman was struck multiple times. “He has eight holes in him at this time and a broken femur,” Deenihan said. Watch Deputy Police Chief Brendan Deenihan talk about the shooting and capture of Michael Blackman below.  Blackman was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, the same hospital where the officer he is accused of shooting was rushed earlier that morning. No officers were injured in the second encounter with Blackman, Deenihan said. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said during a news conference Saturday that the 16-year veteran officer who was shot serves on the department’s fugitive apprehension team. The team, which was looking for Blackman in connection with Wednesday’s bicycle shooting, went shortly after 8:30 a.m. that morning to a home in the 1900 block of West 65th Street, where Blackman was believed to be hiding, Johnson said. >> Read more trending news  When members of the team knocked on the door, Blackman ran out the back of the house, where the injured officer and his partner were stationed, Johnson said. “At that time, a physical struggle ensued, followed by an armed confrontation,” Johnson said. The unnamed officer was shot in the groin and in the lower leg, doctors said. Fellow officers loaded him into a patrol car and rushed him to the hospital, where he underwent surgery. He was in stable condition Saturday afternoon. “It is reported that the injured officer had the self-awareness to apply his own tourniquet, as his partner maintained pressure on the gunshot wound on the way to the hospital,” the superintendent said. Guglielmi tweeted that the officer lost nearly a third of his blood volume. “He came basically bleeding to death,” trauma surgeon Dr. Jane Kayle Lee said during Saturday’s news conference. “He had already lost a significant amount of blood and was taken emergently to the operating room for surgery.” Lee said the officer had a hole in one of the largest veins in his leg. She was able to repair the injury. The surgeon said the bullet to the officer’s groin remains in his body. The gunshot to his leg was a “through-and-through” wound, with both an entrance and exit wound. The officer suffered significant fractures to his leg when that bullet tore through his body, Lee said. His leg was splinted for the time being, but he will need additional surgery. “I do expect that he will have a good recovery,” Lee said. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who met with the man’s family at the hospital, said the shooting is a reminder of the sacrifice police officers make every day to protect the city’s residents. She also praised the work of the officer’s colleagues in the fugitive apprehension unit. “Their quick work saved this officer’s life,” Lightfoot said. She asked the public to pray for the officer’s full recovery. “I ask that all Chicagoans continue praying for the officer and his family throughout his recovery,” Lightfoot said at the news conference. “Also, keep all of our first responders in our thoughts and prayers because, as the superintendent said, and we see on a daily basis, they run to danger to protect us.” Like the officer, the woman Blackman is accused of shooting on Wednesday is expected to survive. According to The Chicago Tribune, the woman was headed to lunch with co-workers around noon in the city’s Fulton Market District when she was shot by a man on a bicycle. Watch police and city officials, along with medical personnel, speak below about the Saturday shooting of a Chicago police officer.  “Based on the information we have right now, the shooter passed by a group of individuals and went directly to her to extend his arm and fire one single gunshot,” Johnson said at the time, according to the Tribune. “Appears right now the victim may have been targeted by the offender.” As the gunman fled the scene, the woman was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious to critical condition, the newspaper said. Her condition was unknown Monday. Police officials released still images and video the day of the shooting that showed the alleged gunman riding his bicycle near the scene of the shooting. Guglielmi tweeted Friday that detectives had been given a tip to go to a bicycle shop, where they discovered security footage that showed a man fitting the description of the shooter getting his bike fixed about an hour before the woman was shot. The clearer images, which show a man later identified by police as Blackman, offer a full view of the man’s face as he stands at the counter. At one point, he takes off his black Nike baseball cap and wipes his head with paper towels. He is seen standing and chatting with the employee working on his bike and leaning on the counter, his wallet out, as he pays his bill. The man smiles several times as he talks to the worker. Blackman was identified as a suspect in Wednesday’s shooting based in part on the images from the bike shop, Johnson said. His motive in the woman's shooting was unknown as of Saturday. The superintendent declined to speculate on Blackman’s state of mind but pointed out that he was accused of shooting two people, including a police officer. “Obviously, this is not a person that should be walking the streets of Chicago,” Johnson said Saturday while Blackman was still at large. “He’s a dangerous individual. There’s no hiding that.” Blackman has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1991, Johnson said Saturday. His previous charges range from burglary and domestic battery to drug charges. He remained hospitalized in police custody Monday morning.
  • Some Michigan students were startled last week to see what looked like an alligator living in a pond behind the school. It took a day to catch the reptile after the pond was drained, school officials said. >> Read more trending news  The reptile was identified by animal experts as a 3-foot-long caiman, according to WDIV. Caimans are not native to Michigan, but they're often kept as pets, wildlife experts told the television station. They share many characteristics with alligators and crocodiles but are often smaller, officials said. That did not matter to students at Bedford Junior and Senior High School in Temperance, who believed a gator by any other name was just as scary. The body of water at Bedford Junior and Senior High School is called the Biology Pond and is used by both junior and senior high school classes for academic study, WXMI reported. A teacher spotted the reptile Thursday and reported it, the television station reported. Joe Garverick, the owner of the Indian Creek Zoo in nearby Lambertville, attempted to catch the alligator with his bare hands Thursday, but the reptile proved to be elusive, WTVG reported. “It got loose or somebody let it loose — one or the other,” Garverick told the television station. The reptile was finally caught and will join three alligators at Indian Creek Zoo, Garverick told WXMI.