Former FBI Canine Specialist Trains Dogs to Find the Lost

It was amazing,” Randy McDaniel keeps repeating as he relates how a bloodhound named Win helped find his 87-year-old father-in-law who had been missing for two days. The break came when Paul Coley, a former FBI forensic canine specialist who founded Scent Evidence K9 in Sneads, offered help to his friend. 

Coley met McDaniel at the father-in-law’s house. The dog smelled a sock, a piece of clothing and the older man’s recliner. Within minutes, the dog was off.

“Paul and the bloodhound trailed the scent, and I was in a truck behind him,” McDaniel remembers. “We came up to a four-way highway intersection and the dog … could have gone left or right, but he decided to go north. The dog followed scents for at least 25 miles until we found him at his wife’s gravesite. What we witnessed was simply amazing. It was an eye-opener.”

More amazingly, the father-in-law had driven to the gravesite. The dog had managed to track him, even stopping at a store where the gentleman had refilled his gas tank. 

“We only trailed on the ground for three miles, but (Win) did several location checks to get us to that cemetery,” Coley later explained to friends on his Facebook page, which features a quote from Matthew 7:7, “Seek and you will find.”

Coley’s work with canines on more than 100 missing person or child abduction cases for the FBI fueled a passion to develop his own program. He has 20-plus years experience in law enforcement and coordinated the first K9 use in child abduction seminars in the U.S. He founded Scent Evidence K9 in October 2012, creating scent-training programs for bloodhounds and working with handlers. He also developed a Human Scent Preservation Kit to capture peoples’ scents. 

“Think of it like you’re looking for someone’s loved one, you want the best dogs and anything that will help speed up the process of finding a missing person,” explains Coley.

scent preservation kit

Originally published in 850 Business Magazine. Story by Sarah Kelley. Photo by Scott Holstein.

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