Stafford County Sheriff’s deputies use drone to locate missing teen

Image courtesy of Stafford County Sheriff's Office

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office recently used a drone to locate a missing teenager who did not return home after school.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s office received the call about a missing 18-year-old Mountain View High School student Monday shortly after 5 p.m.

Sheriff’s officials said the teen had no history of running away and the Sheriff’s Office had reason to believe the teen may be endangered. Shortly thereafter, deputies found the teen’s book bag and cell phone in the school, which further heightened concern for the teen’s safety.

Detectives conducted numerous interviews with classmates and teachers and learned that nobody had seen or heard from him since the end of the school day.

Assuming that the teen might still be in the surrounding area, the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team and Drone Team were called to assist.

Using the drone, which was equipped with a thermal imaging camera, crews were able to find the student after only thirty minutes of searching. This happened at around 9:30 p.m. Monday night.

When deputies arrived at the area, they found the student unharmed.

It is unclear at this time why the teen did not return home as usual, but Stafford Sheriff D.P. Decatur was happy the drone was effective.

“The drone has proven to be an invaluable tool for our agency,” Decatur said. “Having the ability to search large areas of land from above in a short period of time…has allowed us to provide another layer of safety to our citizens.”

He continued, “I’m extremely happy that we were able to quickly locate and return this young man back to his family unharmed.”

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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