Deputies said things could have been much worse for a missing autistic child if their K9 hadn't been able to track him down.
They found that 8-year-old boy standing in the middle of a creek, surrounded by difficult terrain. Deputies said without their K9, they don't know how long he might have been there before someone found him.
"It was very thick. It was up to my waist at least with sticker bushes, downed trees and downed limbs," Deputy Danny Dipietro said.
But it's exactly where Maverick's nose led him.
"I put Maverick down there, and he just took off," Dipietro said.
Less than 20 minutes later, Maverick, Dipietro's K9, led him to the missing child who was knee-deep in Ward Creek playing in the water.
"I was worried that he was going to get swept away," he said.
Washington County deputies said the boy is autistic. Just before 6 p.m. Sunday, he went missing from his home. They said if Maverick hadn't found him so quickly, he could have died in the water.
"He started shaking intensely. He was very cold," Dipietro said. "You could hear his teeth chattering."
He should be OK. Dipietro said Maverick is the one to thank.
"Without Maverick, there would have been a really long delay probably in finding him," he said. "Maverick is the hero here, not me."
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