Technological advances aid in the search for missing people

By: Alicia Turner | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 11, 2018

TALLAHASSEE Fla. (WCTV) -- By land, by air, by K-9; no matter how officials search for a person, there's always one thing not working in their favor: time.

"The first two to three hours are crucial in a missing persons case. The further you get away from the time of the event, the more difficult the location of that person can become," said Paul Coley.

It's been one week since police began searching for 70-year-old Deanna Shirey. The circumstances surrounding the Thomasville resident's disappearance are taking an emotional toll on many in the community.

"It is a nightmare that you can't wake up from," said one Thomasville resident.

"You can’t forget the anguish on people's faces when they have a missing person and they don't know the answers," Coley explained.

Coley is the owner of Scent Evidence. He said technology helps close the gap between the lost and found.

"Pre collection of human sent has not existed in the past that we're aware of," says Coley

Scent Evidence uses swabs collected before a person goes missing. It can then be used to help track a person down, sometimes within a matter of minutes after being reported missing. The scent can be stored for up to ten years.

New technology also includes drones transmitting real time information while searching for people, and a gadget called the seeker. The seeker vacuums a person’s scent without destroying other evidence.

Coley says it's not just about what resources you have, but also how you use them

Coley says, "Being integrated and smart about what you're doing, and using your resources correctly in a timely manner, you see a lot better results."

Each technological advancement offers more hope for families that their loved ones will come home quickly and safely.

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