State Trooper Dan Purtell and his police dog, K9 Neko, helped find a Mansfield man who was missing last week and had threatened to harm himself, according to state police.
Purtell and Neko responded at about 2 a.m. Friday, Nov. 30, to a call from Mansfield police requesting assistance searching for a man who fled his residence on foot after arguing with family members and threatening to harm himself, state police said.
Mansfield officers said family members observed the man flee from the back door, but did not see his direction of flight. Purtell deployed Neko from the back yard and Neko quickly acquired a scent. Neko tracked from the back yard, into a neighbor’s yard, around the house and out onto a road. Neko tracked along this road for over one mile into neighboring Foxborough.
Neko appeared to lose the man’s scent and the team turned around to try to reacquire it. When the team turned back to a side street where the scent was lost, Purtell and Mansfield Officer Michael Fitzgerald observed a man on the opposite side of the road, along the wood line, concealing himself, state police said. The man was taken into custody without incident and transported to the hospital for evaluation.
“We rely on K9s quite a bit whether with MetroLEC or the State Police,” Mansfield Police Chief Ron Sellon said. “They are incredibly valuable whether it is searching for a suspect, an elderly person who wandered away, or a child such as in Wellesley Saturday night. We are grateful for the support and partnerships we have as it increases the resources available to our citizens.
“Increasingly K9s are being utilized in a broad spectrum of roles from bomb detection to searches for individuals, firearms, drugs etc. but the contributions are undeniable.”