'Thank you for saving us': Police K9 helps rescue 3 boys lost in South Jersey woods

"The dog did what the dog's supposed to do. These kids are safe, nobody was injured," said one of the officers.

Katherine Scott Image
Thursday, August 4, 2022 11:32PM
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A police K9 in Gloucester County, New Jersey is being credited with preventing a tragedy.

WOODBURY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A 2 year-old bloodhound named Shiloh helped save the day when three little boys went missing in Magnolia, New Jersey.

"Thank you for saving us," said 7-year-old Leo Evans.

Monday afternoon around 4 p.m., Magnolia police received a call. Kai and Leo Evans, ages 9 and 7, and their friend had been playing on their bikes and decided to explore.

"We went like down the stream for like two miles," said Leo.

But actually, it was closer to three miles, investigators said.

The boys' grandmother, Cherese Evans, said the boys have a strict rule not to leave the block. When they couldn't find the kids, Evans called Magnolia police who spotted their bikes by a creek.

The Gloucester County Sheriff's Office K9s were called in.

"When they said they were getting the dogs, and they needed a piece of their clothing to sniff out, that's when I think it sunk in," said Cherese Evans.

Magnolia Police Department Patrolman Jeremy Hackney and county K9 officers Thomas Accoglio and Alex Molnar set off with Shiloh.

"Timing is crucial in that situation because obviously timing is going to create a further distance," said Hackney.

"Just kept pressing on. We knew they were someplace in the area, we just couldn't find them," said Molnar.

The officers started finding footprints, and Shiloh kept pulling. Soon, flip flops turned up.

Shiloh led the team about three miles through dirt, water, and mud.

"We knew she was getting close when she started pulling faster and faster," said Accoglio.

"Sure enough, there's these three kids, and it was like 'Lord of the Flies,' all by themselves, in bathing suits, standing in water, and they were planning on surviving the night," Molnar said.

"They were happy to see us. We are just as happy to see them," said Hackney.

The officers were relieved and the kids were reunited with their families.

And Shiloh got dried liverwurst, which she was thrilled about.

"The dog did what the dog's supposed to do. These kids are safe, nobody was injured," said Accoglio.

Gloucester County Sheriff Jonathan M. Sammons was proud of all the officers, including Shiloh.

"They're dedicated. They get calls at all hours of the night," Sammons said.

"They all pulled together, and they found these three kids. These three young kids so we're exceptionally grateful," said Cherese Evans.