Thursday morning, Iowa gunshot victim, Gayle Darrah, visited the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office to thank law enforcement officers for their efforts in finding and apprehending the man who attempted to murder her earlier this year. Darrah was shot with a 20 gauge shotgun in the driveway of her residence in Chariton, Iowa, by Robert E. Graham on Friday, Jan. 16. Graham fled the scene of the crime, and the manhunt for Graham began. Officers quickly turned their focus to the Grundy County area after it was learned that Graham had family in Trenton. Authorities narrowed their search for Graham around noon on Monday, after a citizen and child near Pike’s Lake of Poosey Conservation Area reportedly saw a man believed to be Graham, and the same vehicle previously reported by the media near their location. Graham was finally apprehended near Panther’s Den in the conservation area around 9:30 p.m. On Thursday, Livingston County Sheriff Steve Cox introduced Darrah and her sister-in-law to his staff as well as others who were involved in the capture of Graham, including Rodney Herring, sheriff from Grundy County. Cox said there were a lot of questions and answers coming from both sides during Darrah’s visit. “It was interesting to hear her perspective... Her story helped fill in the gaps for the law enforcement that was involved in the manhunt,” Cox said. Sheriff Cox and Sheriff Herring drove Darrah and her sister-in-law to Poosey Conservation Area and showed them where they found Graham hiding out. Darrah said she wanted to visit Chillicothe to not only thank the law enforcement who helped capture Graham but to also visit the place where he was found in an attempt to seek some closure on the traumatic event. “I think I focused so long on physically getting better. Now, it’s time to emotionally and mentally heal,” Darrah said. Cox said when they visited Poosey there were no tears or rage coming from Darrah. “She’s got the right attitude for a victim of a violent crime. She’s not letting it slow her down,” Cox said. Darrah began to walk again on April 1, and has returned to work. She is a job specialist and works for a temp agency placing people in jobs. She’s easing her way back into it by working only a few days a week as she still struggles to walk. Darrah was shot in her left hip area and lost 62 units of blood. She had to go through three surgeries within 48 hours after the incident. The bullet went through her intestines, uterus, appendix, right ovary and pelvis. Her pelvis is cracked in three spots on the left side and is completely shattered on the right side. Luckily, Darrah won’t need surgery on her bones but it will take a few years for her bone to build back up so she can walk normally and with ease again. Darrah also experienced nerve damage in her left leg and couldn’t move it at all for months after the shooting. She now can raise her left leg but it is numb from the knee down and she cannot feel hot or cold sensations. She doesn’t know if her nerves will ever regenerate and cannot consult with a neologistic until it’s been one year post-accident. X-rays proved that the slug that entered Darrah’s body was loaded with a screw. Cox said his best guess as to why Graham loaded the slug with a screw was that it was his way of saying a final “screw you.” Darrah met Graham while working at a hospital in Chariton. Darrah said he would come in from time to time for evaluations. They became friends and had been friends for a long time before the incident. When Graham moved to Indiana he asked Darrah if she would be a support to him when he moved there. Darrah agreed and they talked on the phone every day. Darrah said things started to get weird because he began to say things like, “I love you,” to her. “But then he would say ‘Well I say that to all of my friends,’” Darrah said. Darrah said he eventually wanted to pursue a relationship with her. “When I wouldn’t leave my husband and wouldn’t leave my kids he got upset,” Darrah said. Graham started to manipulate Darrah into continuing to talk to him after she had denied him, and it just got worse as time went on. Finally, in December, Darrah changed her phone number. “And when I changed my phone number, I think that’s what set him over the edge. When he couldn’t contact me any longer,” Darrah said. Darrah said she believes he drove all the way from Indiana to Iowa with the intention to kill her on the morning of January 16. Darrah said it was just a normal, typical Friday up until the incident. She said she had went out to car once that morning but forgot her purse, so she went back inside. She said she was debating on whether or not to go back in after it, Darrah said she thought ‘well just in case, I better go get it.’ She went inside and grabbed her purse, said good-bye to her son who was in the shower. Her oldest daughter was sleeping but she hollered for youngest daughter to come downstairs and tell her whether or not to wear the scarf she had on with her outfit. Darrah said her daughter said, “Yeah wear the scarf mom.” Darrah gave her daughter a hug and kiss and went back outside to get in her car and head to work. Little did she know her life was about to be turned upside down. Darrah said she reached her car, and had just put her hand on the door handle when she heard the gun go off and then fell to the ground. “I heard the shot and I knew I had been hit with something, but I didn’t know it was a gunshot. I thought something had exploded by me and then it was just kind of like a warm, stinging sensation that went through me but pain I didn’t really feel. Maybe I was just in shock,” Darrah said. Darrah didn’t see Graham when she walked outside because he was hiding behind a large evergreen tree in her front yard. After Darrah fell to the ground she looked to her left and saw Graham. Darrah remembers he had the gun in his left hand, was wearing black tennis shoes, a medium-washed denim jeans, an insulated flannel, his glasses and he was also sporting a goatee. Darrah said he never looked at her once after he shot her. He tucked his head in the side of his coat. “I don’t know if he was trying to prevent himself from looking at me or if he was trying to prevent me from recognizing him,” Darrah said. However, she recognized him immediately. Darrah estimates Graham being about 10 feet from her when he shot her. After the shot he ran in a lunge-like position with his head tucked in his coat in front of her car, which was only about three or four feet away from her. He ran to his car which was parked up the road. Her phone had fallen and she grabbed it off the ground to call her husband who was inside, but she had no control over her fingers and couldn’t dial. Then she started to panic and started to scream for help. She doesn’t remember anything after that. She was told that her youngest daughter, who is 12, came out first and found her. Her daughter told her she was still awake when she came outside. Her daughter remembers her saying “Go get help; I’ve been shot.” Darrah remembers waking up in the ambulance and the paramedic saying, “Gayle, it’s Katie, you’ve been shot.” “I remember freaking out because I realized it wasn’t a dream. I thought all of this had been a dream,” Darrah said. She remembers trying to move in the ambulance but couldn’t, and then paramedics ended up having to sedate her. She didn’t wake up for four days. Cox said Graham was charged with attempted murder and is in custody in Iowa. Darrah informed Cox on Thursday that the case may be going to the federal level soon. Cox’s advice for those who have found themselves in situations like Darrah’s is to not be afraid to report it. Cox said Darrah told him that she ignored several red flags and should have reported him. “It’s easy to think ‘That’s not going to happen to me,’” Cox said. Cox said it’s also important for law enforcement to view every domestic case as a worst case scenario situation and explore it. He said he thinks all area law enforcement officers do an excellent job of handling domestic cases as well as the Livingston County’s crime victim advocate and Livingston County judges. This incident has also inspired Cox to implement additional domestic violence training in the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office whenever possible and share Gayle’s story with deputies, especially new deputies.