Reported missing on Wednesday, 78-year-old Norman Hobbs had wandered off into the thick Sequatchie County woods near his Dunlap home. The missing veteran suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and become lost in the cold thickets.
Aware of past successes of Rhea County Sheriff Department’s tracking team, Dunlap Police reached out for help.
Lead tracker, Cpl. Wayne Cox of the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department brought his team including Cam Wilkey, Zach Cochran, Wayne Wilkey, and their highly decorated seven-year-old bloodhound Jesse.
Dunlap Police reports, “In less than 30 minutes of entering a large wooded area they found Mr. Hobbs who was lost and incapacitated. Hobbs was transported to Erlanger for hypothermia and dehydration and he is expected to be ok.”
“It’s good to be able to use his talents in a positive way,” states RCSD Chief Deputy John Argo.
“While the majority of the time, bloodhounds are used to track a fleeing suspect, we also use them for tracking lost kids or lost people.”
Argo says all the hard work that those guys put in training the K9 team paid off, “especially when they are able to locate someone and save a life”.
“Without Jesse this outcome would be different,” Cox told Channel 3 news reporter Kelly McCarthy.
Dunlap Police Chief Clint Huth was prepared to form a large search party to canvas the area. Huth admits even with a lot of people searching, “I don’t think we could have found him on foot without Jesse.”
According to Huth, “the way he was dressed (in camouflage) and the way he was laying on the ground, it would have been very difficult if not impossible to have found him.”
In less than 45 minutes of making the call, Jesse and Rhea County trackers were in the woods.
“When we called Rhea County they said they were on their way right now. They were on the scene in less than 45 minutes and when Jesse got on the trail it was less than 30 minutes before he found the guy,” stated Huff.
All involved agree, Jesse and the RCSD team of trackers saved the man’s life.
Chief Huth was pleased to report, “Mr. Hobbs has now been released from the hospital is safe with family members.”