SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A K-9 saved the day Tuesday after tracking down a 4-year-old boy who was kidnapped by his mother’s boyfriend.
Shelbyville police said Mark William Luce, 34, snatched his girlfriend’s son from her Railroad Avenue home before fleeing in his black Mitsubishi Eclipse.
The mother called police.
Luce would not stop when officers tried to pull him over. Instead, he led them on a pursuit through Shelbyville and into Bedford County.
At one point, Luce slammed into a patrol car causing damage but the officers inside were not injured, according to the incident report.
Police said they backed off the pursuit for the safety of the child.
After the pursuit was called off a bloodhound search team from Henry Horton Park was called in to help.
Tennessee State Parks Chief Ranger Shane Petty said he had only been on the scene for about 10 minutes when his K-9 led him right to the missing child.
“What I did is I put Copper in the car where I knew both individuals were and their scent would be left behind,” Petty told News 2.
The 6-year-old female bloodhound named Copper picked up the child’s scent in a box van truck in A & AM Auto Sales and Salvage on Unionville-Deason Road.
Police told News 2 Luce was hiding inside the back of the truck with the little boy.
“They were in a cramped, rough area. A lot of older car parts were in there so someone easily could have gotten hurt, tripped or fallen,” Chief Ranger Petty said.
He explained, “The kid came out just hugging. All he wanted to do for the next 15 to 20 minutes is hug on Copper, so it worked out perfectly.”
When officers opened the door, they said Luce held the child “in a defensive manner in an attempt to shield himself” or to “possibly cause serious bodily harm to the boy.”
Luce was arrested and charged with especially aggravated kidnapping, evading arrest, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault on an officer.
He was booked in the Bedford County jail.
The child was unharmed and was excited to play with Copper, according to witnesses.
News 2 contacted the child’s mother, but she had no comment.
Chief Ranger Petty said it was the 383rd time he had found a missing person with the help of a bloodhound during his 25-year career.