Mother's 911 call after son disappeared during Harvey flooding highlights emotions

LA MARQUE, Texas - There were thousands of emergency calls during Hurricane Harvey. They were made by people reaching out, hoping someone could help them during their darkest hour.

One of those calls was a mother reporting her son missing in the floodwaters.

It was the early hours of Aug. 27 and Hurricane Harvey’s rains were battering the entire Houston area, including La Marque. That’s when Robin Browning called 911.

911 Operator: “Is it just one home or are there multiple homes you’re trying to call about?”

Browning: “No, one. My son is missing. He went out in the water and they can’t find him.”

911 Operator: “OK listen to me, so the...”

Browning: “Oh my God.”

Her daughter-in-law, Savanna Merrick, had just called her in tears about her son Brad Merrick.

Browning: “Help me. They can’t find Brad!”

911 Operator: “OK, stay on the line with me. I need to get you over to La Marque. Hang on.”

Browning: “OK.”

So what happened that night?

911 Operator “… reported that her son went out in the water and they’ve been unable to find him.”

Browning: *sobbing*

Fortunately, Merrick is able to fill in the gaps because he survived the harrowing episode.

“I wake up about 3 o'clock 'cause I hear power flashes,” Merrick said.

He and his wife stepped outside to check on their home.

“I looked out and I notice a truck that was in the middle of the road with its lights flashing,” Merrick said. “I just came to the conclusion that I can’t tell if someone’s out there so we need to go see if they’re OK.”

“When I got to the end of my driveway it was waist deep,” Savanna said.

So Savanna turned back to change into shorts.

“It was only five minutes … when I came back out like they were gone,” Savanna said. “I called his mom and I was crying ... . I just stood right here just waiting.”

Brad had made it to the truck but the current was carrying it down the street and out of sight.

“By the time we finally got him to leave the vehicle it was at the very front of the subdivision,” Brad said. “When I got up here I heard crying and I’m like, ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong?’”

“I was relieved,” Savanna said.

“She thought I’d drowned and was swept away 'cause she couldn’t see me,” Brad said.

“It was just so scary like thinking you’re not going to see them again but at the same time like how can you sleep at night if you see someone and you don’t do anything,” Savanna said.

Fortunately Brad and the driver he helped rescue were OK. In fact, he was back before La Marque police called so he was able to keep any officers from trying to reach him. They also got a hold of Brad’s mom about 15 minutes after his return to let her know he was OK.

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