A bloodhound named Liz has joined the K9 unit with Will County Sheriff’s Office to help locate at-risk adults and children who go missing.
Elizabeth, or Liz, named in honor of child safety advocate Elizabeth Smart, is the seventh dog to join the team, according to a sheriff’s office news release. In addition to Liz, the sheriff’s office has five narcotics dogs and one explosives detection dog.
Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley said the addition of Liz is a “win-win situation.”
“It allows families and caregivers to be better prepared in the event that a loved one goes missing and it assists our deputies when every second matters, in expediting search and recovery assignments.We are very excited to have Liz on board to assist with our at-risk residents in Will County,” Kelley said.
Liz’s handlers will be Deputy Marty Stortz and Sgt. Jeff Pogose.
Liz can track a missing person by using articles collected for scent evidence preservation kits, officials said. The kit can be kept at the home or a facility where an at-risk person resides and remains effective for up to 10 years.
Scent evidence preservation kits will be distributed to at-risk adults and juveniles who reside in Will County, officials said.
Families can request a kit by either visiting the sheriff’s office, 16911 W. Laraway Road, Joliet, or calling 815-727-4736 and leaving a message.
“Preservation kits will only be distributed to individuals whose family member is deemed vulnerable due to their current medical/mental state of mind,” officials said.
If deputies encounter someone who may benefit from the kit, they may provide one and suggest they complete it, officials said.
Officials said studies have shown six out 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will go missing, and the American Pediatric Association states almost 50% of children with autism will go missing at least once before the age of 17.
Liz was purchased from Scent Evidence K9, a business based in Tallahassee, Florida, officials said.
Kelley said he would like to thank the Crete Township F-Men for bringing Scent Evidence K9 to his attention.
On Aug. 31, the Plainfield police were able to track down a missing man with mental disabilities with the assistance of a bloodhound named MC from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
Plainfield police Cmdr. Anthony Novak said bloodhounds are "extremely useful when tracking missing persons."
"Without the use of the bloodhound, it would have been much more difficult to track the missing person in this particular incident," Novak said.