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Lake County Sheriff K-9 units save two people in one day

Deputy John Forlenza and K-9 Dax
Deputy John Forlenza and K-9 Dax responded to Waukegan to help locate a missing mentally ill man.

Two Lake County Sheriff’s Canine Units are being recognized after saving two people in Round Lake Beach and Waukegan on Sunday, the sheriff’s office announced.

Deputy John Forlenza and his canine partner Dax responded to help find a missing 36-year-old man with mental illness in Waukegan around 11:50 p.m. on Sunday. The man had been last seen around 12 hours earlier near a home in the 2400 block of Western Avenue in Waukegan.

Canine Dax located the scent of the missing man and tracked for around a quarter-mile to a school in the 1400 block of Montesano Avenue in Waukegan, Lake County Sheriff’s Sgt. Christopher Covelli said.

Almost two hours later the canine team located the missing man unresponsive on a bench near a baseball diamond, Covelli said. The temperature at the time was in the low-30s and the man was showing signs of hypothermia. Paramedics arrived and transported the man to a local hospital.

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Deputy Craig Somerville and K-9 Diesel responded to Round Lake Beach to help find a missing child.

Earlier in the day on Sunday, Deputy Craig Somerville and his canine partner Diesel responded to assist the Round Lake Beach Police Department around 4:25 p.m. A juvenile with a neurobehavioral condition got out of his mother’s vehicle near Fairfield Road and Central Park Drive in Round Lake Beach, Covelli said.

The juvenile ran eastbound on foot and his mother could not find him so she called police. Canine Diesel began tracking the scent of the boy for nearly a half-mile to a water retention area where they located the boy.

He was stuck in waist-deep water and muck. The temperature at the time was in the mid-30’s and the boy was very cold, showing signs of hypothermia, Covelli said.

Firefighters and paramedics arrived and rescued the boy from the water. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment due to cold exposure.

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“I am very proud of our canine teams. In just one day, Deputy Somerville & Canine Diesel along with Deputy Forlenza & Canine Dax saved two lives. If it weren’t for the dedication, experience, and quick actions of our canine teams, these two situations likely would have ended in tragedy,” Sheriff Mark Curran said.