Florida K-9 named ‘Midnight’ helps find missing toddler in DeLand woods

The DeLand Police Department used the help of a K-9 named Midnight to find a three-year-old who went missing on Friday.

Officer Damon Clarke said the boy wandered off from his family’s home into the nearby woods. According to his mother, the two often played in that area. Officers quickly responded to the scene and began looking for him. They used the boy's blanket to pick up a scent.

"He probably just got turned around and lost his way back," Clarke said. He said the search lasted about 45 minutes.

"...which feels like hours and hours and hours, when you’re being [dragged] behind the dog through the woods," he said. 

K-9 Midnight pictured with his handler, and the missing 3-year-old boy he helped locate | Credit: DeLand Police Department

The dog tracked the child down after navigating through the woods and brush. After calling out to him, Clarke could pinpoint the boy’s exact location. According to Clarke, he was in a thicket, playing with his tablet. The boy was returned to his mother unharmed. 


"I was very relieved. As a parent, I know how I would feel if that was my kid," Clarke said.

The pair have worked together in the K-9 unit for about three years. This incident marks the fifth time Clarke and Midnight have helped find a missing person in five attempts. 

He said Midnight earned a new toy as a reward for the accomplishment.

"Even though I left those woods bloody, and sweaty, and scratched up and everything like that, it was well worth it," Clarke said. 

K-9 Midnight is trained to search for narcotics and missing people and has been with the DeLand Police Department since 2022.