Nadia Bloom's Parents Speak: 'She's Doing Great'

Girl, missing for four days in a swamp, just got lost on a bike ride, mom says.

April 14, 2010— -- The parents of 11-year-old Nadia Bloom, who was rescued after wandering for four days in and near a Florida swamp, said their daughter is doing "great."

"She's doing great, she really is," said Tanya Bloom, Nadia's mother, at a press conference today. "It's a story you don't usually get. It's a story of hope."

Tanya thanked her daughter's rescuer, James King, but said the words were not enough.

"'Thank you' is not appropriate for what James King did," she said. "We are so fortunate God used him to bring her back to us."

"You know that part at the end of the third 'Star Wars' when all the ewoks are going crazy? That's how it was," Nadia's father, Jeff Bloom, said of the moment they were told Nadia was found alive.

Other than a lot of bug bites, several scratches and some bacteria that's been identified in Nadia's blood, her doctor, Mary Farrell, said Nadia could go home by the end of the week.

"It's really remarkable," Farrell said. "She's had no fever. She's doing well, eating and drinking."

According to Tanya Bloom, Nadia set out on a quick bike ride Friday night from her Winter Springs, Fla., home and simply got lost. Contrary to previous reporting, she said it had nothing to do with a nature book the family had and little to do with Nadia's "very mild" Asperger's syndrome.

"She's not going to wander off necessarily," Tanya Bloom said. "This wasn't because of that [the Asperger's]. This was because she was curious."

Nadia asked her mother to take a quick bike ride and took her backpack "for her treasures," Tanya Bloom said.

When she didn't come back, she added, the search expanded from a couple neighbors to police with bloodhounds, and then finally to an entire community of support.

"One of the darkest times you feel is right before nightfall when the night is coming," Jeff Bloom said. "You don't know where she is or how she is. ... You don't know if she's scared or crying. Your heart just breaks."

But while they were worrying at home, Tanya Bloom said Nadia claimed to be praying in the swamps, saying, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

It was the same prayer King said when he brought Nadia out of the swamps Tuesday.

Nadia's parents haven't talked to her daughter much about her adventures in the swamp, but her father said he's looking forward to the story. "It's going to be awesome," he said.

Tanya Bloom said they're not likely going to let Nadia go unsupervised for a while, but there's only so much they can do.

"You do the best you can as a parent. Your children have to learn obedience and you have to learn to trust them as well," she said.

The lesson already may have been learned. Tanya Bloom said Nadia's first words to her were, "I'll obey you more, mommy, now."

Nadia Bloom's Rescuer: God Led Me to Her

The man who found Nadia said God told him to "follow the sunrise" into the heart of a treacherous swamp where the girl awaited rescue on a log.

"He [God] directed my path," volunteer searcher James King told "Good Morning America" today. "When you're in a swamp, there's no good-looking way. He led me directly to her. ... I would be praying and calling out Scriptures and at one point I called out, 'Nadia,' and I heard, 'What?'

"That's a huge swamp," he said. "It was strictly the Lord. There was no mathematical calculations. It was the Holy Spirit directing me to where he knew she was the whole time."

Although she had been wandering lost in the swamp for four days, Nadia was calm and matter-of-fact about her situation, King said, only a little disappointed he didn't have any M&Ms on him.

"I don't know what we talked about. I told her she was very brave," King said. "She did say she only slept about two hours a night ... [and] she'd seen a black snake at some point.

"But God kept her safe," he said.

Rescuers covered in mud and brandishing machetes emerged from a Florida swamp Tuesday, carrying Nadia on a stretcher through dense alligator-infested wilderness.

King, a member of Nadia's church, said the swamp was so dense it took officials about an hour and a half to get to the pair after his 911 call.

Nadia politely jumped in on that emergency phone call.

"Hi, this is Nadia," she said. "I'm the girl that got lost."

Family, Community Rejoice in Rescue

Nadia's family and police stood on the edge of the woods Tuesday, waiting for her to finally emerge with rescuers.

"We are overwhelmed by the love of everybody. ... Everyone across the country praying," Jeff Bloom told reporters once his daughter was safely out of the woods and placed in an ambulance.

King, who exited the woods with a team of sheriff's deputies, was covered in mud, his shirt soaked with sweat.

King shouted to reporters that "God will direct your path. He directed me straight to her because I prayed."

King called police from his cell phone at 8:30 a.m., telling them he found the girl. Police pinged his cell phone to determine the general location from where he was calling, but only pinpointed him when the rescuer climbed a tree and threw a roll of toilet paper to signal a passing police helicopter.

When rescuers reached Nadia, she said: "I'm glad you guys found me. I can't believe you rescued me," Winter Springs Police Chief Kevin Brunelle said Tuesday.

Police questioned King to better learn how he found the girl, but said Tuesday, "he is a hero."

King told "GMA" the police questioning was all routine.

"They wanted to know mainly when I came in, where. ... As part of normal procedure, they wanted to know my whereabouts from the time she disappeared," he said. "It was just part of the deal. They were very respectful."

To celebrate her rescue, the Metro Church planned a potluck dinner for the town in its parking lot with restaurants donating food, followed by a religious service to give thanks. Nadia's family and her rescuer were expected to attend.

Police said the woods were too thick to evacuate Nadia by helicopter and she was carried out of the woods by 15 deputies.

"If I never believed in miracles, I sure do now," Brunelle said.