K-9 tracks down, comforts autistic child lost in Delaware forest

An autistic child who got lost in the woods near their home is safe, thanks to the police K-9 that tracked them down.

The 7-year-old’s mother reported her child missing from their home, near Newark, around 2 p.m. Saturday, according to New Castle County police.

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When officers arrived, they found footprints leading into a wooded area near the home.

The mother told police her child likes the woods, but doesn’t know how to swim.

Police K-9 Ace and his handler tracked the child’s scent for over a mile, through woods and hilly terrain.

K-9 Ace came across a couple walking their dog, who happened to have a pair of child’s sneakers.

The couple told police they saw a child wandering in the woods and stumbled upon the sneakers about 15 minutes earlier.

K-9 Ace got a good scent from the shoes and tracked the scent to a small wooden bridge -- tracking down the child there.

The child was too afraid to come to the officers, but very interested in K-9 Ace, police said. Ace's handler helped soothe the child, and allowed them to pet Ace and hold his harness as they walked back through the woods.

During the long walk back, police said that the child relaxed enough to get a piggyback ride from one of the officers.

Once the group got out of the woods, they were met by a group of officers in a nearby parking lot, who helped the child safely return home to their family.

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