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K-9 finds missing woman in woods in Thonotosassa

The lost woman suffered from dementia and was last seen on Saturday afternoon before she was found, deputies say.

THONOTOSASSA, Fla — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says a missing woman in Thonotosassa was found by a "K-9's sense of smell" around 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Body camera footage from a deputy shows the successful search of K-9 Toby finding the woman, who was in her late 60s and suffers from dementia, according to HCSO. 

Law enforcement said the woman had been missing since Saturday afternoon after she walked away from her home.

Deputies said they responded to a call in reference to a missing and endangered person on Sunday. The sheriff's office searched the related area and the K-9 and Aviation Units assisted with the search, according to a news release.

Deputy Craig Lariz and K-9 Toby found the woman about 250 feet south of her home and other deputies on the scene provided the woman with water and carried her to safety.

HCSO Aviation airlifted the woman to nearby Heritage Elementary School to receive treatment from paramedics before being transferred to a local hospital because of severe dehydration, law enforcement reported.

“There is nothing worse than the terror someone feels when their loved one goes missing," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad 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," he added.

To learn more about SafetyNet, click here.

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