Service dog helps reunite missing six-year-old with family
A missing six-year-old boy from Powai, Mumbai, was found by police with the help of a service dog. The child was reunited with his family within four hours.
MUMBAI: A six-year-old boy from Powai who went missing last week was found by the police with the help of a service dog from the dog squad. The child was reunited with his family within four hours of approaching the police.
The child went missing while playing with friends outside his home on Thursday evening, prompting the family to initiate a search. After three hours of unsuccessful efforts, the concerned family approached the Powai police, who organised teams for action. Not wasting any time, one police team went to the spot while another was with the parents registering the missing complaint.
“The child had gone out to play around 6:30 pm. His elder sister, 11, had seen him around 8:30 pm with his friends. When she went to get him home an hour later, he was not there,” said an officer from Powai police.
The family reached the police station by 12:30 am on Friday after having looked for him all over the locality. The team that went back to the family’s home realised there was no CCTV coverage in the area. “We took the sister’s help to retrace the child’s steps. She told us he had changed clothes just before leaving home to play,” said the officer.
This insignificant detail gave officers the idea of making use of the abilities of the well-trained dog squad of the Mumbai Police. “Leo, a Doberman, was pressed into service. He was asked to track down the child on the basis of the smell of his T-shirt,” said the officer.
Leo faced a lot of distraction as the local dogs from the area got territorial and geared up for a fight.
But within 90 minutes, Leo could track the child to an open ground just 500 meters from his house. “Since the child has a speech impediment, he was not able to tell us anything other than that he was taken away by an uncle. All the barking may have alerted the person to the presence of the police and perhaps therefore he abandoned the child in the open ground and left,” said the officer. Fortunately, the child was not hurt or harmed, just a bit shaken, the officer added.
While the child could not provide much information about the person who took him even with help from his elder sister, the police booked the unknown accused for kidnapping under section 363 of the Indian Penal Code. They are now using local intelligence and other technical means to try to identify and track the accused.