MULVANE, Kan. (KSNW) — A K9 and her handler with Sedgwick County Emergency Management found a missing child Friday night.
Around 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, the Mulvane Fire Rescue says they were asked to assist the Sumner County Sheriff in locating a missing child in the rural portion of their fire district.
“Four units from the fire dept and multiple Mulvane Police officers circulated the area,” Mulvane Fire Rescue said.
While Mulvane first responders circulated the area on the ground, Sumner County deputies searched the area from the air by using a drone.
Mulvane Fire Rescue says a request was then made to the Sedgwick County Emergency Management for their K9 search and rescue team to respond.
“Once the K9 team arrived, it only took a short time for K9 Maple and her Handler Edie Wiley to locate the child in a tree row a short distance from the home,” said Mulvane Fire Rescue.
To Maple the K9, this is all a game.
She gets the scent and hits the ground running to find the missing person.
“Maple, if someone is out there, she will find them,” said Sedgwick County Emergency Responders K9 team Lead Edith Wiley.
7-year-old Maple picked up the girl’s scent from her jacket and got to work.
“And you hear her snorting ’cause she is trying to find the missing child,” said Wiley. She added, “It wasn’t long before she started barking, and that is her indication that she found what she is looking for.”
The K9 team is all volunteers and is run by 20 humans and 10 K9s.
It’s one of the few teams in the area.
“Our team has deployed to Nebraska. They’ve supported KHP for searches as well as Wichita PD, and all of our surrounding counties have also requested our team,” said Sedgwick County Emergency Management Deputy Director Jonathan Marr.
They said Maple finding the girl so quickly is rare but a positive outcome for the team.
“This is why I do this I do this for closure for the family,” said Wiley.
“It’s validation for the team, and there is a family out there that has their child back, which is the most important part,” said Marr.
The K9 team has been around for decades. Three K9s and 17 volunteers helped in Friday’s search.
All the dogs specialize in different skills, such as air scent like Maple, but also water search and finding human remains.
When Maple found the child, the two played ball until the team caught up and reunited the girl with her family.
The child was found uninjured, although a little cold, and was returned to her parents, according to Mulvane Fire Rescue.
Participating agencies included the Mulvane Police Dept., Sumner County Sheriff, Kansas Highway Patrol, Mulvane Fire Rescue, SCK9, and Sedgwick County Emergency Management.