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Police K-9 follows wandering boy's scent back to his home

Discussion in 'Canine News/Informative Articles' started by JanS, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    St. Paul police K-9 follows wandering boy's scent back to his home
    The boy had gotten out of his home while his sister was sleeping and his mother was at a doctor's appointment.

    By Chao Xiong Star Tribune

    AUGUST 11, 2016 — 5:34AM
    Video (01:27) : The boy had gotten out of his home while his sister was sleeping and his mother was at a doctor's appointment.

    St. Paul police officer Patrick Murphy gathered the 3-year-old in red pajamas in his arms when the boy’s bare feet grew too hot on the sidewalk Monday morning. Together, they tried to find the boy’s home in the South Como neighborhood.

    But soon it was clear: The boy found wandering alone outside didn’t know where it was. He started to cry.

    “I told him he was going to be OK, and that we would find out where he lived,” Murphy recalled Wednesday.

    Murphy had some special help in mind — his K-9 partner, Sarik, the department’s oldest K-9 officer and one of three serving on SWAT in addition to daily duties as a patrol, narcotics and search dog.

    Murphy called for a backup squad to watch the boy and deployed Sarik, 10, to follow the boy’s scent back to his home.

    “This is very rare that I would do this,” Murphy said. “We train the dog to go to a scent, not away from the scent.”

    St. Paul police officer Patrick Murphy and his K-9 partner, Sarik. The police K-9 helped bring a wondering boy home by following the boy’s scent back to his house.

    A slew of neighbors also intervened to assist Murphy and Sarik. The dog eventually zeroed in on a plastic dump truck laying in a yard about five blocks from where the boy was first stopped by a concerned resident.

    The search began about 9:20 a.m. when Amber Duncan walked outside of her home in the 900 block of Front Avenue to greet her sister and young niece and nephew. The boy clad in the red pajamas dotted with trucks ran by heading west.

    “I’m looking for my mom,” he told Duncan when she stopped him. “Can you help me find my mom?”

    Duncan tried to persuade the boy to come inside for a snack, but he took off down the street. By the time Duncan reached the corner of Front and Chatsworth streets, the boy was already a block away.

    “He was on a mission,” Duncan said Wednesday.

    A woman down the street stopped the boy, and Duncan walked him back to her home. That’s when a man in a truck called out to her. He had been following the boy and was on the phone with 911. By then, Murphy was parked outside Duncan’s home.

    The boy spoke briefly to Murphy, and again, he was gone in a flash.

    “He was here for a split second, said he was looking for his mom and he was gone,” Duncan said. “But he was a pretty sweet little boy.”

    Murphy and Duncan took off running after the boy, who was corralled by another neighbor about a block away. Murphy took the boy by the hand, and the child began pointing in the direction of his home as a resident posted about the situation on the neighborhood Facebook page.

    The boy, now in Murphy’s arms, grew confused after about 25 minutes of searching.

    Meanwhile, Sarik, the male German shepherd imported from Slovakia, was in the back of Murphy’s squad car. Sarik is one of St. Paul’s 18 police dogs, often described as “force multipliers” because of their natural ability to see, hear and smell things people cannot.

    Murphy brought Sarik to a street corner nearby and the dog began searching for the boy’s scent, which he’d picked up on Murphy’s body. Sarik has followed scent trails countless times to apprehend suspects and find missing children and adults, but this time was different. Instead of going out from its origin, he was tracing a scent backward.

    The technique is often used to find guns that suspects have ditched during a pursuit, said police spokesman Sgt. Mike Ernster, a former K-9 handler, but Ernster and Murphy could not recall it being used to find a person’s home.

    “This is a great example of an experienced K-9 handler realizing the potential of his K-9 to resolve this incident,” Ernster said. “This allowed us to return the child to his family much sooner than if officers had to go door-to-door.”

    Sarik followed a trail up a sidewalk, zigzagging to the grass on either side, and turned hard down an alley. At the end of the alley lay a plastic toy dump truck.

    “He just went around it, walked around it and was sniffing around the yard,” Murphy said.

    St. Paul police officer Patrick Murphy and Sarik

    Murphy spoke to the boy’s older sister, who had been watching him while their mother was at a doctor’s appointment. The boy had gotten out while she was asleep.

    If not for Sarik, Ernster and Murphy said, police would have had to wait for someone to report the boy missing in order to find his home, or officers would have had to knock on every door in the area.

    “I feel really happy and proud that we all worked together to get this little kid home,” said Duncan. “It happens a lot more than people think.”

    Original source and video:
    St. Paul police K-9 follows wandering boy's scent back to his home
    • Appreciation Appreciation x 5
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  2. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    This is what it's all about. Real, life-touching results. Dogs can be so awesome.

    Reminds me to do more of Oji searching for my daughter. They both love it, and he gets so excited!
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  3. Viemarangelrock

    Viemarangelrock Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Incredible! What an amazing story. To get such a magnificent ending to something that sounds out of his comfort zone. So so versatile! Well done, Sarik! Gorgeous boy, too! :thumbsup2:
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. GennyB

    GennyB Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    This story doesn't surprise me at all. Dogs have incredible noses. I wish more police departments used dogs, it's such a winner all the way around!
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. WiglWerm

    WiglWerm Hot Topics Subscriber

    Happy ending! yay The babysitter is in trouble...:rp:
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  6. Prushanks

    Prushanks Hot Topics Subscriber

    I believe he was on that show K9 Cops thats showcased St. Pauls K9 unit. I actually remembered him because he has the same name as (nerd alert) Spock's father in Star Trek!
    When i read this it reminded me of one of Tanks first jobs ever when he was fresh out of K9 school! Not as cool as back-tracking a scent like the awesome Sarik did but a cute story anyway! :biggrin:
    He searched around a reservoir park for 2 missing young boys who wondered off from their home which was on the perimeter of the reservoir. He found them luckily with a good samaritan who came across them on the trail.
    I tried looking for the article the local news did on it but it was so long ago i couldn't find it!
    Ahhh.. K9s like a fine wine only get better with age!! :thumbsup2:
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