Former deputy thanks Mississippi officer for rescue after reportedly being abducted and left to die in metal building

Published 7:17 am Monday, June 19, 2023

A retired Mississippi deputy, who had abducted, bound and left in a metal building for four days last January, wanted to make sure he thanked and honored the officer who found him and saved his life.

Retired officer Mike Ouzts, from Vicksburg, had been abducted from his home and then taken to a metal building on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, before Gulfport police officer John Schwartz found him and saved his life, WXXV reports.

Ouzts said he was at his home in Warren County one morning when he heard a knock on his door.

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According to Ouzts, a young man was at the door and said his truck was broken down and asked for help. So, Ouzts took the young man to a fast-food restaurant, but when they arrived back at the house, Ouzts quickly realized it wasn’t just the two of them on his property.

“On Jan. 23 at 7 in the morning, I was burglarized, robbed, shot, water boarded and transported off of my property, tied up with tape in my own pickup truck,” Ouzts said.

In his stolen truck, the now charged Logan Delena and Blake Menefee proceeded to hit the road with Ouzts in the back seat of the truck on the floor board with a bag over his head. The suspects decided to end their flight in Gulfport where they dragged Ouzts from the truck along his back and threw him into a metal building where he would lay for four days without food or water.

“Monday and Tuesday my mind was good, but Tuesday night… my body I could tell I was shutting down and I knew that I was looking at death Tuesday night,” Ouzts said.

Ouzts said that Wednesday and Thursday he began hallucinating, but he snapped out of it Thursday afternoon when he heard a voice outside the building.

“I was scared because I didn’t know who it was outside, but I just said, ‘I’m an old man and I have fallen down if you can help me,’ and when that officer opened the door and saw me, he knew who I was and I knew I was safe with them.”

The man who found Ouzts was Officer Schwartz with the Gulfport Police Department and Ouzts said he wanted to make sure he was present when Schwartz was honored for saving his life.

“I was notified the police department was giving him a lifesaving award (on June 15), so I came down, spent the night, and I wanted to be there (Thursday morning), and I got to meet the officer that found me, I got to meet his mom and his dad and the chief of police, and it was a great honor to meet those people. I am so happy. I am just happy to be alive. I’m just happy I lived through that, and I’m so happy that that officer came down there and found me.”