‘Our first find’: K-9 deputy describes discovering missing man alive in woods

K-9 team tracks missing Nassau County man, brings him home safely

K9 Rogue and Deputy Smith tracked a missing Nassau County man and helped bring him to safety.
K9 Rogue and Deputy Smith tracked a missing Nassau County man and helped bring him to safety. (Courtesy of Nassau County Sheriff's Office)

After more than 50 hours of searching for a missing Nassau County man, investigators got a lead -- his family found his shoes in the woods.

That’s when K-9 Rogue and Deputy Beth Smith got to work.

Morgan Suhr, 31, had gone days without food or water or the medicine he needs for his mental health condition, and the situation was getting dangerous.

“We used the insoles of his shoes. We presented it to her, and she took off,” Deputy Smith said of K-9 Rogue’s tracking nose. “That’s all she wrote.”

K-9 Rogue

As deputies combed the area, the 1-year-old bloodhound led Smith through the dark woods, mud and water and around 10 p.m. Wednesday, they made the big find.

“It is kind of crazy for a minute because you see him, and you’re just like, ‘I just found somebody! That’s amazing. We just found somebody,’” Smith said of finding the Suhr near the Hampton North subdivision on State Road 200, about a mile from his home.

He was sitting along a fence line, hungry, dehydrated and disoriented -- but alive.

“Whenever I laid eyes on him, I was like, ‘Holy crap, we just found him!’ I didn’t even know. She was going crazy, like a kid in a candy store,” Smith said. “It is our first find. It was amazing.”

Smith has only been a K-9 handler for about a year, so she says she’ll never forget this one.

She and her best friend got a heroes’ thank you from Suhr’s family on Thursday when they went back to the neighborhood where he lives.

“So happy it ended this way and we got Morgan back,” Suhr’s father, Phil Suhr, said. “With all the help from everybody in the community and all the different departments, it’s just heartwarming.”

Smith said it took that community and the team to get the happy ending. She and Rogue were just the fortunate ones to find the man, she said.

Morgan Suhr is now at the hospital in intensive care. He was dehydrated and exhausted and is now getting mental health treatment, but his dad said he’s OK.

A job well done by Rogue and Smith in a scenario that could have ended badly.

NOTE: News4Jax typically removes the names of missing persons once they’re found. But we’ve chosen to include Suhr’s name in this story with his family’s blessing.

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