Deputy and K9 rescue endangered autistic boy

(Marion County Sheriff's Office)

Marion County Ore. (NWNN) – A 14-year-old is back home safe thanks to a deputy and his K9.

Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office say they were contacted Sunday afternoon by the parents of Austin Davis. 

The Davis’s autistic son left their home near the 11000 block of Beyer Lane NE by Mt. Angel to hunt for bugs around 1:00 p.m. and had not returned.

While searching for Austin they found some of his discarded clothing near the Pudding River, prompting the alarmed parents to call police.

Deputy Jason Bernards and his K9 partner Rolo were among the searchers.  Water rescue teams from the Sheriff’s Office and the Salem Fire Department responded as well.

Around 3:00 p.m., Deputy Bernards and Rolo tracked Austin to a spot on the opposite side of the Pudding River. Deputy Bernards coaxed the boy to swim back across and he was returned to his parents unharmed.

Police K9 teams have become an important part of police work since their first use by London Metropolitan Police to track suspects in the 1888 case of Jack the Ripper.  Over 90% of agencies serving a population of 100,000 or more use K9 teams including those in Oregon and Washington.