A grueling nine-hour search for a missing elderly man in New Jersey came to an end last week when his dog led an off-duty police officer to the owner.
Fred Rapp, 78, was reported missing to Manchester Police on Nov. 27. Officers started a search for Rapp that evening, but were unable to contact him.
Using GPS data from Rapp’s cell phone, police were able to locate him somewhere within the wooded areas around NJ State Route 37 between Toms River and Berkley Township, which includes the 251-acre Crossley Preserve.
During the search, police said they used a humvee, a drone and a newly-acquired ATV to locate Rapp, but all of these methods were unsuccessful.
At 5:45 a.m. the next morning, Rapp was found by an off-duty Sgt. named Charles Brooks, who was hunting in the area.
Brooks noticed a dog, Petie, which he would later discover was Rapp’s, wandering along a trail. The officer followed the dog’s footprints several hundred yards and found Rapp, sitting near where he crashed his car.
“This situation highlights the fact that a police officer is a police officer 24/7,” said Manchester Police Chief Lisa Parker in a post on Facebook. “We are truly fortunate that Sgt. Brooks was in the right place at the right time because without his help there is no telling how this story would have ended.”