Scent Evidence K9 Bloodhound Helps Locate Missing FSU Student
Tallahassee, FL – September 9, 2018
The Scent Evidence K9 bloodhound team, led by CEO, Paul Coley, deployed with 2 scent discriminate bloodhounds to assist the Leon County Sheriff’s Office in locating a missing Florida State University student. Coley extracted scent from the missing teens home using The SEKR, a new scent evidence vacuum developed by the SEK9 Research and Development Team earlier this year. K9 Rex and K9 Sadie are both human scent discriminate bloodhounds trained at the companies K9 Training headquarters in Tallahassee, FL to trail a person’s unique odor. K9 Sadie led Law Enforcement Officers to a wooded area where the missing student was found safely. Coley stated, “Bringing the lost home is why we get up in the morning. I want to thank our incredible partners, the FSU Emergency Management and Homeland Security Drone Team, for being our eyes in the sky, and our good friend at Overwatch Risk Solutions, Wayne North.” For a full list of the Law Enforcement Agencies and Community Partners who assisted in the search, please see the Florida State University and Leon County Sheriff’s Office Press Releases below. Learn how you can prepare your loved ones before a missing person event occurs by visiting our Scent Preservation Kit page here.
EMHS UAS TEAM AND SCENT EVIDENCE K9 ASSISTS IN LOCATING MISSING FSU STUDENT
September 10, 2018
On September 9, 2018, the FSU Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) team was called out to support the university police department (FSUPD) in the search for Justin Shields, an FSU student reported missing September 7.
Shields’ car had been found on a dirt road bordering heavily wooded private property with his phone and wallet inside. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) began an investigation on Friday, and conducted a search on Saturday, September 8, with the assistance of K9 search teams that had been training in the area.
The team arrived at the search command post at 8:00 a.m. the following day and was assigned specific areas to search, all focused on lakes and ponds. FSUPD and the EMHS team immediately recognized the need for scent-discriminate bloodhounds, a specific type of K9 asset that had not yet been deployed or requested on the search.
Scent Evidence K9 is a locally operated firm run by Paul Coley, an FSU EMHS alumni and former FBI forensic canine handler. Scent Evidence specializes in training scent-discriminate bloodhounds and has worked and trained with the EMHS UAS team for the past three years. With urging from FSUPD and EMHS, Scent Evidence was requested on Sunday morning and deployed three personnel and two K9s shortly after noon. Prior to arriving at the search location, the Scent Evidence team and law enforcement collected scent articles from Shields’ apartment. These fresh articles provided the necessary information to the trailing bloodhounds.
The UAS Team conducted search flights over and around a lake and marsh area before being recalled to the command post at 11:30 a.m. From there, they were assigned a new search area where additional information had been collected indicating Shields’ presence. The team re-deployed with LCSO, FSUPD, and Florida Fish and Wildlife officers and began a coordinated search of a lake near the new location. In coordination with a helicopter from the LCSO Aviation Unit, the team cleared shoreline, swamp, and other high-probability areas.
Once the Scent Evidence team arrived on location, the UAS team split its mission, with one UAS being tasked to support the K9 team and one UAS continuing to search high-probability areas.
The combined efforts of all teams and law enforcement brought this search to a happy and successful close when the student was found, unharmed but disoriented and possibly suffering dehydration. The operation demonstrated the value of combined/coordinated search strategies that have been practiced and developed in advance. The Scent Evidence K9, FSUPD, and UAS relationship allowed for fast, efficient, and safe search tactics in heavily wooded terrain and allowed Shields to be found with minimal delay. To read the full Press Release Click Here.
Leon County Sheriff’s Office Press Release
Media Contact: Deputy Dave Teems Date: September 9, 2018
LCSO and Community Partners Find Missing FSU Student
The Leon County Sheriff‟s Office, along with numerous community partners, located 19-year-old Florida State University student Justin Dean Shields today.
LCSO located Shields‟ vehicle on Old Magnolia Road about a mile north of Rococo Road on Friday, September 7th. Since finding his vehicle LCSO has been in the area attempting to locate Shields with the help of the Florida State University Police Department, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, The Jefferson Correctional Institute K9 team, Floyd County Georgia Sheriff‟s Office K9 team, Leon County EMS, First Response Search Team K9, The FSU Drone Team, Deep South Mud Riderz, Hilltop Country Store, Scent Evidence K9 teams, more than 80 FSU students and staff, and dozens of local residents.
Around 4 PM a team including members of LCSO, FSUPD, and FWC were following a scent trail with dogs from Scent Evidence into a wooded area about a mile northwest of where Shields‟ vehicle was located. As the dogs tracked into the wooded area Shields was located and he began to speak to the team.
Shields was dehydrated and scratched up but in, otherwise, good health. He was transported to a local hospital via ambulance to check on his health.
Sheriff Walt McNeil says, “The community showed once again how we come together when one of our citizens needs help. We are proud to be „All In‟ with Leon County and happy this has come to the best possible conclusion for Justin and his family.”