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Deputies and Bloodhound locate missing Alzheimer's patient

It was the case of a man with Alzheimer's disease missing from his north Fayette County home early Friday morning. The man was located within minutes of the arrival of the sheriff’s K-9 unit and Bloodhound Sue.

Maj. Bryan Woodie said the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a missing person at approximately 6:17 a.m. Friday. A 73 year-old man who resides in the Country Lake Subdivision, located off of Georgia Highway 279 in northern Fayette County, had apparently walked away from home. The man, who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease,was thought to have only been wearing light clothing consisting of a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, Woodie said.

Responding deputies searched the immediate area but were unable to locate the elderly Fayette County Resident. Concerned for his safety, they requested the assistance of both the Fayette County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit Tracking Team and the Sheriff’s Office helicopter Hawk 1. Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Bloodhound Handler Sergeant Shane Head and Sue, a six year old Bloodhound, responded to his home, Woodie said.

Sergeant Head and Sue started a scent track in an effort to locate the missing Alzheimer’s patient. The tracking team successfully located him in only nine minutes after having started their search. He was located, entangled in a vine and briar covered wooded thicket, not far from his home, Woodie said.

Fayette County Fire Department emergency medical personnel were called to the scene; other than being very cold and disoriented due to his illness, he was found to be good condition, said Woodie. Due to his advanced age and medical condition, Fayette County Fire Department personnel transported him to Piedmont Fayette Hospital as a precaution, he added.

Woodie said the problem of missing individuals suffering with Alzheimer’s, dementia, epilepsy, autism, Downs syndrome and other related illnesses is a potentially life threatening issue. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Project Lifesaver to help those in our community struggling and coping with the issues related these debilitating and heart breaking illnesses. Project Lifesaver is a program using electronics and specially trained search teams to locate missing person’s who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other similar illnesses.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit was established in 1992 and began with three Bloodhounds. Sheriff Wayne Hannah expanded the original program; the K-9 Unit now includes three Bloodhounds, six Full Service Patrol Dogs, and one narcotics only detection dog. These animals are available for duty at anytime of the day or night. All of our canines, with the exception of the narcotics detection only dog, are trained to locate missing people among their other duties, Woodie said.

For More information of Project Lifesaver and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit and their capabilities, please visit



ginga1414's picture

Thank goodness for Sgt. Head and Sue. Good work, Sue.

Sue can't hear you to understand! But the sergeant can.

None of the other 5 dogs understand you either. Just keep the canned horse coming is all they care about. Bring it with Hawk 2!

I do hope that the cost of all these animals and helicopters does not exceed the cost suffered by Atlanta for the two mules, Jack and Jill, that cost them $78,000 last year and about $8000 to buy and were sold for about 4,000! They also had a full time attendant and special auto, just as all these dogs do.

I think they should use either Doberman or Pits myself for the walking around part of the patrolling. Never seen that!

ginga1414's picture

Courthouse, that would be a sight. I've never seen Dobermans or Pits on police patrol either, but I think they would probably keep all the bad guys walking a straight and narrow.

Now, Courthouse, I know that Sue can't hear me. However, I thought maybe the sergeant just might give her belly a rub and he might give her a scratch behind her ears for me. You know how it is amongst the animal lover crowd and I'm one of them.

My opinion of that is the human wants the dog's love--there is no way to love a dog, or cat, etc.

I see too many mal-treated animal pets to think otherwise.

They don't walk them nearly enough, feed and water them correctly, they pull them behind a golf cart on hot roads, let kids maul them, kick them while drunk, ride them in hot cars, lock them up in cars, and whip them for biting.

At the same time the humans ignore poor, hungry, ill treated kids, while spending thousands on animals in houses who the mistreat.

They will also lie and make excuses for such treatment.

ginga1414's picture

Truly! I don't even know you, but I truly worry about you.

Every living creature wants love. Humans and animals want love.

You are sadly right about some humans and how they treat their children and animals.

I can guarantee you that I don't fall into either catagory. There are NO excuses for ill treatment of children or animals.

Cheer up, Courthouse! There really are some good people out here. I think you must have a bad case of what I call the blahs. Cheer up! Go have a glass of good old cold sweet tea with lemon and you will feel better. I promise, you will feel better! On second thought, however, it could be that you are so far gone that you really need a big glass of milk and a hunk of chocolate cake or a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream. Things will get better!

Might I suggest that you eat the milk and cake to improve your love thoughts about the WBP and those people who advocate it?
I do think SOME animal owners (lovers) do their best to make an animal happy, but that is never enough---he is still tied, walled, and bound as your slave.
I had outdoor farm dogs as a youth and they were free until a need arose for them to work some. They left if they chose to do so.

Today's crowding doesn't allow such treatment.

I saw if you can't supply an acre or two at least for his freedom, then you shouldn't have him for your pleasure and domination.

ginga1414's picture

Might I suggest that we humans are also "tied, walled, bound" in some fashion or other unless we live under a bridge somewhere. However, even at that we would still have to be "walled" under that bridge, otherwise we would eventually succumb to the elements. We would still be "bound" to the search for food if we were to survive.

Look at us. We (you and I) seem to be "tied, walled, bound" to these computers. If something goes wrong with computer, we feel "bound" to fix the thing or "bound" to buy another one. In order to do that we are "tied" to whatever means necessary in order to obtain the money to fix or purchase another computer.

May I suggest, Courthouse, you, I, everyone here must be content with being "tied, walled, bound" to these machines otherwise we would be elsewhere.

Be that as it may, I just have to accept the fact that you are a free spirit. We will never see eye to eye on any subject. If we did, then there would be one less person for you to dominate. Like it or not, we are all imprisoned or "slaves" to something or someone. Now, you've given me a case of the "blahs." As I said before, Courthouse, I truly worry about you.

I only say what I believe. I don't need people agreeing with me all of the time.
Obviously you do.
I don't get the "walled" to a computer, being compared to a dog imprisoned!

I'm sorry that upsets you and there is no law against keeping animals according to the animal laws.

I don't know why I comment back to you about roads and dogs anyway.

I'll quit.

Concerned Citizen's picture

I have had the pleasure of meeting Sgt. Head, he is a great officer and a nice guy. Glad he helps protect us. Thank you!

NUK_1's picture

Just wondering.

Way 2 go Sue!

I had no idea that the FCSO had such an extensive kennel!

Does anyone have any idea when they will take delivery of the other three specialized police dogs they have ordered? (The cadaver dog, the bomb sniffing dog and the underwater demolition dog).

It's raining!

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