An elderly man missing for nearly nine hours was found with the help of his dog, who led an off-duty officer through the woods to the site where he crashed his car, according to police. Fred Rapp, 78, was reported missing by his daughter last Friday around 8 p.m. after her father did not return home earlier that afternoon, Manchester Police said.
New Jersey investigators tracked Rapp's location on his cell phone but it kept changing around the wooded area along State Highway 37 between Toms River and Berkeley Township, police said.
As the search continued into the early morning, police received a call from Rapp just before 6 a.m. saying that he crashed his car and did not know where he was, police said. Rapp then handed the phone to an off-duty police officer, who had found him nearby.
Police discovered that the off-duty officer, Sgt. Charles Brooks, was hunting in the area when he saw Rapp's dog. He decided to follow the dog's paw prints for several hundred yards and ultimately found Rapp.
Brooks escorted Rapp to an open area where he was treated by Manchester First Aid and later taken to Community Medical Center.
“This situation highlights the fact that a police officer is a police officer 24/7. We are truly fortunate that Sgt. Brooks was in the right place at the right time because without his help there is no telling how this story would have ended,” said Manchester Police Chief Lisa Parker.