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Panama City Child Abduction Response Drill

By: Lauren Davis Email
By: Lauren Davis Email

The Child Abduction Response Team, or CART, conducted a mock abduction exercise Friday morning.

They found the little girl in record time.

Officials briefed search and rescue workers on the hunt for a little girl named Savannah.

The volunteers and K-9 units searched the woods and found the girl within 11 minutes.

Mike Harrison said, “It was very good and they couldn't have conducted a search like this without the manpower.”

Time is of the essence in locating a missing child.

According to federal officials, in a situation where a child is abducted and killed, 44 percent are killed in less than an hour and 74 percent are killed within three hours.

That’s why Friday’s exercise was considered successful.

Bay County Search and Rescue Asst. Manager Jim Balch said, “It was great because it didn't last long and they found the girl in good health. It couldn't have come out better.”

The terrain is often times the hardest obstacle to overcome when searching for a child.

In this case, the dense woods have snakes and that’s why the workers carried sticks. Also, insects and the scorching heat are dangerous to the victim as well as volunteers.

Jimmie Minchew with Wewahitchka Search and Rescue says, “Volunteers do an exceptional job because their number one drive is to help the community.”

It is drills like this one that help the community stay safe during a time of crisis.

The CART program was devised by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2004 to provide an immediate specialized team response to a missing child report where the child is believed to be endangered.


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