Video: K-9 finds missing Ga. woman in ravine as creek rises

The sheriff’s office said they had all but exhausted search efforts when K-9 Buzz stepped in


By Hayley Fowler
The Charlotte Observer

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — A missing woman in Georgia hadn’t been seen by her family in over 12 hours when a chocolate lab named Buzz tracked her to a steep ravine — and found her injured but otherwise OK.

The K9’s handler, Sgt. Noah Sprague with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, reacted like a true dog parent.

“Good boy bud, that’s a good boy,” Sprague was heard telling K9 Buzz in body cam footage posted Tuesday. “That’s my good boy.”

The nearly three-minute video shows Sprague and Buzz traversing dense woods in search of Mary Kennedy, a “critical missing senior citizen” who disappeared from her family’s home on Shady Grove Road in Forsyth County on Monday.

Kennedy was last seen by family members at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, according to the sheriff’s office.

Shady Grove Road, where Kennedy had recently moved in with family, stretches for three miles near Lake Lanier. It’s surrounded on both sides by woods and water.

The closest towns are nearby Coal Mountain and Cumming.

Kennedy’s purse, phone and car were still at the house, the sheriff’s office said, and the family was “deeply concerned for her well-being.”

Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said he went to church with Kennedy and her late husband, a couple he described as “salt of the earth.” But the weather was “about to get bad,” he said, and law enforcement didn’t know what direction she went — only that she was likely on foot.

The sheriff’s office said they had all but exhausted search efforts with uniform patrol, special operations deputies, volunteers and a drone team.

[READ: 10 ways patrol officers can help the K-9 unit]

When they finally found her, Freeman said, it was the K9 team’s third search of the area.

K9 Flash was sent to the right while K9 Buzz went left, Freeman said. A few hundred yards later, the two dogs met in the middle.

So they tried again.

That’s where the footage from Sprague’s body camera starts. In the video, Buzz has the leash pulled taut as he tracks Kennedy to a deep ravine. Sprague is heard calling out to her before he radios for help.

“I found her, I found her,” he tells dispatch, adding that he’ll need help because she’s “about 20 feet down an embankment.”

Then Sprague turns his attention to Buzz.

“Good boy, bud, good boy!”

 

For the remaining minute, Sprague is heard asking Kennedy if she’s OK and telling her to stay put until rescuers can get to her. His reassurances were mixed with more praise for Buzz, who is no longer visible on screen but can be heard panting in the background.

“Good boy bud, that’s a good boy,” Sprague tells him. “That’s my good boy!”

According to the sheriff’s office, Kennedy was found “injured but alive” near a creek with rising water levels behind the house.

Freeman thanked his team for their hard work in a Facebook post that night.

“I could not be any more proud than you made me today,” he said. “This is what good cops do, what good agencies do, what great communities do.”

©2021 The Charlotte Observer. Visit charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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