ST. TAMMANY, La. — A K-9 unit was credited with finding an autistic teenager who went missing in the woods near Lacombe on Tuesday night, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

St. Tammany deputies were called to a residence in Lacombe after the 14-year-old went missing on Tuesday. Deputies “canvassed the area for hours” but could not locate the teen, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Deputy Ron Olivier and his K-9, Freya, a Bavarian mountain hound, were called to assist in the search. Freya specializes in finding lost children and “took the scent” from the teenager’s clothes, the Sheriff’s Office said. Freya found the teenager, curled up and hiding in the woods, after a 20-minute search.

The 14-year-old was scared but in good health, the Sheriff’s Office said. The entire search lasted about three hours.

“This potential tragic story finished with a happy ending,” Sheriff Randy Smith said in the news release. “Our canines are amazing animals who are invaluable to our deputies and citizens.”

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