K-9 trooper team finds lost girl

Prompt action by a missing girl’s family, Alaska State Troopers, Homer Police and Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters helped prevent a potential tragedy on Thanksgiving evening when a 12-year-old girl, poorly dressed for the elements, ran away from her downtown Homer home. According to a Trooper press release, Trooper Scout Sutton and her K-9 partner Lavi found the child about 6:10 p.m. on Nov. 25.

Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said on Tuesday that troopers found the girl on Bishop’s Beach below Crittenden Drive. Tracks in the snow showed the girl had headed toward the beach. Police received a report that the girl had left home about 6 p.m. that night.

“She just had a verbal argument with her parents and stormed off,” Robl said “They were concerned about her.”

The girl wore a light jacket and wasn’t properly dressed for the recent cold weather, he said. Temperatures last Thursday were in the mid-10s, with a low of 11 degrees and a high of 17, according to the National Weather Service.

“When it’s this cold, you worry,” Robl said.

Trooper Sutton and K-9 trooper Lavi quickly found the girl. Robl said firefighters and police hadn’t even had a chance to set up a search grid.

“We got the other agencies called out. By the time they started to show up, we had already found her,” he said.

The girl wasn’t hypothermic and did not have any injuries, Robl said.

When children go missing, Robl advises family to call police promptly.

“Call immediately so we can get on it. The longer the period of time that goes between a disappearance and when we get involved — every minute counts,” he said. “It makes it that much harder for us to find them.”

Trooper Sutton and Lavi are new to the Anchor Point Post, E Detachment, and were assigned this year. Lavi is a dual-purpose K-9 trooper that can do apprehension and tracking as well as drug detetion.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.