Update, Tuesday, Sept. 26: Deputies found Chaos Tuesday around 11:25 a.m. after a citizen reported sighting him on Southeast Pounds Hammock Road, just south of US Highway 100, according to a sheriff’s office Facebook post.
“We are glad to have Chaos back home!” the sheriff’s office wrote in the post.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a K-9 named Chaos who went missing after being sent to chase after a suspect on Sunday.
The suspect, Justin D. Pike, 29, was found after the search started around noon, according to Columbia County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Steven Khachigan.
On Sunday around 11:40pm, a sheriff’s office deputy attempted to pull Pike over for a traffic violation. That led to a car chase going east down U.S. Highway 90, near Florida Gateway College. The sheriff’s office set down spikes that flattened Pike’s tires, causing him to pull over.
Pike ran into the neighboring woods, at which point Chaos, a German Shepard wearing a sheriff’s office harness, was released to catch him.
Deputies found drugs on Pike when they apprehended him and took a woman who was in the passenger’s seat of the car into custody, Khachigan said.
Chaos still hasn’t been found.
“Our main focus at this point is making sure we can account for our K-9,” Khachigan said.
Khachigan said he was not aware of any past cases of K-9s going missing. K-9s are trained to know a recall command, or to return to their deputies when called, he said.
The sheriff’s office isn’t sure exactly what led Chaos to stray from his path, but Khachigan thinks the dense forest cover may have confused the K-9, he said.
“It’s possible that the dog became disoriented somehow,” he said. “We just don’t know at this point, so hopefully we’ll be able to maybe piece some of that together.”
Aside from deputies searching on the ground, a helicopter owned by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission joined the aerial search from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., said Ashley Williams, FWC spokesperson.
Drones from both the sheriff’s department and the Florida Highway Patrol were sent out as well, Khachigan said. The Columbia County Department of Corrections provided bloodhounds for the search, he added.
The sheriff’s office is searching from U.S. 90 to Highway 100 and from the college to Tyre Road. That space includes most of the Olustee Creek Conservation Area, a mostly rural landscape.
Columbia County is located in north central Florida, north of Alachua County and bordering Georgia. It’s centered around Lake City and includes part of the Osceola National Forest.
A witness, Andrew McGhan, 44, said he saw a K-9 SUV and a sheriff’s office pickup truck parked on the shoulder of U.S. 90, as well as a helicopter flying low near the college, around 8:48 a.m.
Chaos has been with the sheriff’s office for about a year. He replaced Drago, a sheriff’s office K-9 who died from heat-related illness in June 2022.
Pike had two previous traffic violations for driving without a valid license, one of which resulted in a crash, both in Live Oak, in Suwannee County. He was also wanted in Suwannee County and Taylor County for probation violation.
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