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VIDEO: Hillsborough K9, deputy find missing woman in Thonotosassa

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Posted at 1:46 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 06:32:04-04

THONOTOSASSA, Fla.  — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office shared body camera video Monday that showed the moment a deputy and K9 found a missing woman in the woods.

The sheriff's office said deputies were called to a home on Bonnet Hole Drive in Thonotosassa shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday after a woman who suffers from dementia walked away from her home Saturday afternoon.

"We didn’t know where to look," family member Dana Gray said. "We had already been looking all over. We couldn’t find her."

Deputies circled the area and surveyed the neighborhood looking for the woman in her 60s. K9 and aviation units also responded.

The sheriff's office said the woman was found by K9 Toby and his handler Deputy Craig Lariz while they searched the wooded area across from her home.

The video shows the deputy coming across the woman and asking if she's okay. Deputies were able to give the woman water and carry her to an HCSO helicopter that landed at a nearby elementary school.

"When you see her, you see how nearly unresponsive she is and how dehydrated she is that she lost her mobility," HCSO Sheriff Chad Chronister said. "She couldn’t even walk on her own accord. No doubt in my mind, there wasn’t much time left."

She was taken to the hospital where she was treated for severe dehydration.

“There is nothing worse than the terror someone feels when their loved one goes missing," Chronister said. "With the hot temperatures outside and the remote area where this woman had fallen, a very frightening outcome was avoided thanks to the diligent work of our deputies. I encourage others to use this as a reminder to call 911 immediately if someone in your care goes missing. For those caring for a loved one with special needs, a SafetyNet tracking bracelet could be a lifesaving tool.”

The woman's family said they are grateful to each and every deputy who responded.

"I want to thank them all for their response and professionalism. They were all very nice and friendly," Gray said.