Police K9 finds missing woman in late 60s with dementia after she spent night alone in the woods

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department responded to a 911 call at 11 a.m. on Sunday at the 11000 block of Bonnet Hole Drive in Thonotosassa about a missing elderly woman. The officials found out the woman was in her late 60s and suffered from dementia.

Her family reported her as vanishing after walking away from home and were extremely worried about her. After the report had been made, officials mobilized their resources immediately.

Deputies began a search of the area with k-9 and aviation units to aid them. The search was underway when Deputy Craig Lariz and his K9 Toby, a bloodhound. The duo was searching a wooded area near the woman’s home where she had been reported missing.


The wooded area was about 250 feet from the woman’s home. Deputy Lariz and Toby come across a movement in the grass and upon closer inspection it is revealed that it is the missing woman.

Toby’s keen sense of smell found her and potentially helped save her life and her family from worry. Upon finding the missing woman, Deputy Lariz says to the dog, “Good boy, Toby!”

Lariz then asks the woman if she is okay to which she responds, “Would you please take me down to my house?”

Deputy Lariz and his team carry the woman out of the grass and place her in a helicopter that would transport her to nearby Heritage Elementary School where she would receive medical attention. She had possibly spent the night in the woods since she went missing on Saturday and was found by officials on Sunday afternoon.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

After initial medical assessment, she was transported to a local hospital to be treated for severe dehydration.

“There is nothing worse than the terror someone feels when their loved one goes missing. 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,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister about the incident.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit comprises of 21 dogs and 18 handlers. Each dog has a specialty that they are trained in. Whether to sniff out narcotics or explosives. And bloodhounds like Toby, who are used to track down people.

BODY CAM: K-9 locates missing woman in woods

𝔸𝕄𝔸ℤ𝕀ℕ𝔾 ℝ𝔼𝕊ℂ𝕌𝔼: Thanks to K-9 Toby's keen sense of smell 🐶, our #teamHCSO deputies were able to find a missing woman with dementia on Sunday who wandered from her Thonotosassa home.The woman in her late 60s had not been seen by her family since Saturday afternoon, and they were worried about her safety. Deputy Lariz and K-9 Toby tracked her to a wooded area about 250 feet from her home. With the help of the HCSO Aviation Unit 🚁, deputies got the woman safely to a local hospital, where she was treated for severe dehydration.“𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠. 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,” 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐝 #𝐒𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐝𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫. “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.”For more information on #SafetyNet, visit 🔎 https://safetynettracking.com

Posted by Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 16, 2022

Deputy Craig Lariz and Toby are truly local heroes! The outcome of this could have been really gruesome but the deputy and dog duo displayed exemplary teamwork.

This heartwarming story ended positively because of the deputy’s hard work and Toby’s sharp nose!

Share this amazing story with your friends and family to make their day.