A member of the Southwest Florida K-9 Search Unit and her four-legged partner were honored Monday for the successful search for an Immokalee toddler who went missing in January.
Collier County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Sgt. Ken Becker was present when Gov. Rick Scott presented Dorn “D.J.” Beddow and her bloodhound Gracie Bell with the Jimmy Ryce Tracking Team of the Year Award at a ceremony in Tallahassee as part of the Florida Missing Children’s Day Observance.
Sgt. Becker said the award highlights the successful effort of the K-9 team as well as all as all of the agencies involved in the search.
Two-year-old Denise Hernandez was not in her bedroom when her parents checked on her around 11 p.m. Jan. 13. The family contacted CCSO. An Amber Alert was issued and the Child Abduction Response Team was activated. Throughout the night more than 100 people from 20-plus agencies canvassed the pastures and woods surrounding the Hernandezes’ home. Helicopters with spotlights circled the area. On the ground were searchers on ATVs, in patrol cars and on foot. Shortly after 9 a.m. Jan. 14 she was found in a field about a half mile from her home. She was covered in insect bites, but otherwise unharmed.