K-9 Teams Trained to Find the Missing, Save Lives and Touch Hearts

K-9 Teams trained by Scent Evidence K9 in Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee assisted in lifesaving missing person recoveries just 3 days apart. The latest finds involved a missing 93-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s Disease in Tuscumbia, AL, a St. Johns County, FL man lost in the woods, and a missing child in Franklin County, TN.

Three Days, Three States, Three K-9 Teams, Three Finds

Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley, trained the K-9 teams and spoke with the officers and responders after their searches. “Nothing makes us happier than getting a call from one of our law enforcement or emergency response partners telling us that a missing child or grandparent was found and reunited with their family or caregivers.”

Coley’s company trains K-9s and handlers all over the world. “We use a trauma-informed care approach in our response training to help calm the person when we find them,” stated Coley. Children with autism and people with dementia are at high risk of wandering and may also become frightened, agitated, or confused. “Our dogs are trained for passive alert and they sit when they find their target. They are often greeted with pets and smiles when they find someone like the lady in Tuscumbia,” continued Coley.

K-9 Teams Trained to Find Missing Persons - Tuscumbia Police Dept
Tuscumbia Police Officer Shaun Lindblom and K9 Eli find and make a new friend! Photo provided by Tuscumbia Police Dept.


Tuscumbia PD Officer Shaun Lindblom and K9 Eli responded to a call on July 14, 2021, involving a 93-year-old-woman with Alzheimer’s Disease who had wandered from her home and had been missing 2 – 3 hours. Ofc. Lindblom used The SEKR scent evidence vacuum developed by Scent Evidence K9 to collect a scent article. The scent article was presented to K9 Eli, a scent discriminate trailing Bloodhound trained by Coley, who quickly located the missing woman 100 ft. from her home in a heavily overgrown wooded area that kept her from being seen. The woman’s scent was then collected using a Scent Evidence K9 Scent Kit and stored for responders in case she wanders in the future. “The dog was a comforting agent to the missing woman when she was found and they became fast friends,” said Coley.

The week prior, a Lee County Sheriff’s Office Bloodhound Team, also trained by Coley, found a missing endangered 12-year-old as Tropical Storm Elsa came ashore in the Ft. Myers Florida area. “When K9 Mercy found the child next to a creek in heavy brush, she laid her head on the child’s chest and went from trailing dog to comfort dog at that moment,” stated Coley. The story made headlines and even appeared in People Magazine. Read the full story HERE.

K-9 Teams in St. Johns train to find the missing - St. Johns Bloodhound Team Finds Man Missing In Woods
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Dep. Nick Cooper and K9 Star after their latest successful search. Photo provided by St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office


In St. Johns County, Florida, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Cooper, and K9 Star located a missing man on July 11, 2021, who was lost in a wooded area. The scent discriminate Bloodhound team used a scent article obtained from the driver’s seat of the missing man’s car to find him. The man had been missing for over an hour when Dep. Cooper and K9 Star deployed. The K9 team located the man in only 6 MINUTES! K9 Star reached a point in the woods where she lifted her head and began wagging her tail. This was a clear proximity indication that K9 Star was close to her target. After calling out to the lost person, Dep. Cooper heard a voice in the distance and the sound of someone stomping in water. K9 Star made a few more turns within the woods and located the lost person. The man was treated for minor injuries on scene by Fire Rescue personnel. “It was a happy day and everyone in the photo they sent us right after the find is smiling ear to ear, even K9 Star!” said Coley.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Bloodhound teams received their scent discriminate training from Coley as a participant of the Bringing the Lost Home Project which provides training and a Scent Kit program to enhance agency missing person response. Bringing The Lost Home Project agencies in Florida have racked up 78 missing person recoveries and suspect locations in under 2 years using the Scent Evidence K9 system. “All 3 St. Johns County Bloodhound Teams have had multiple missing person finds and they are one of our top-performing agencies,” stated Coley.


The following day on July 12, Coley received a call from Franklin County EMA & Rescue, our Bringing the Lost Home Project partners in West TN about their assistance in a missing child search.

On the night of July 12, Dep. Director Casey Jackson was preparing his scent discriminate Bloodhound Ruger to begin searching for a missing child and was in communication with Winchester TN area law enforcement responders. Jackson relayed questions from the Scent Evidence K9 Scent Kit Individual Preparedness Plan to the responding officers as a starting point for obtaining important missing person information at the scene. The information was then used to quickly find the missing child before Dep. Dir. Jackson and Ruger had the chance to deploy. “This is a great example of teamwork between responding agencies which led to bringing the lost child home safe,” stated Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley. Franklin County EMA & Rescue are Bringing The Lost Home Project recipients via a federal grant aimed at enhancing agency missing person response capabilities for those with Alzheimer’s Disease and autism who are at high risk of wandering. “The Bringing the Lost Home Project includes missing person response training and a robust Scent Kit program available to those in need in Franklin County. The Scent Kit is designed to provide a pre-collected uncontaminated scent article for K9 search dogs but also contains an Individual Preparedness Plan that gives responders important information to increase search success and location speed. Just like what happened in this case,” continued Coley. Franklin County area residents can contact the Franklin County EMA & Rescue HERE.

Franklin Co EMA Bringing The Lost Home Project
Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley, FCEMA Dep. Dir. Casey Jackson, K9 Ruger, FCEMA Dir. Scott Smith, K9 Mandie, and Rescue Squad Member, Ryan Limbaugh. Photo by Scent Evidence K9