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K-9 officer prevents young man's suicide in northern woods

He was found as he tried to evade a police dog and searchers.

A K-9 officer helped prevent a 21-year-old man from killing himself in the northern Minnesota woods earlier this month.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office has hailed the efforts of K-9 Deputy Eddy and his handler Paul Spry after the rescue on June 5 northeast of Grand Marais.

Police had been called to the Hungry Hippie Hostel, where a hostel guest had run off in to the woods with a knife with the intention of killing himself.

As those at the hostel had not directly seen the man entering the woods, or noted the direction he was traveling, the Cook County Sheriff's Office says this makes the likelihood of a successful search much lower.

Several deputies and a DNR conservation officer began the search along with K-9 Deputy Eddy, and eventually the man appeared walking out onto County Road 14, where he was apprehended without incident.

K-9 officer

Deputy Eddy

He was armed with a knife and had some self-inflicted injuries, so was taken to a mental health facility in Hibbing.

When interviewed by police, the man said he'd ran into the woods but hid after hearing the dog barking and human voicers approaching.

"He stated he had travelled in several circles, in an attempt to mislead the K-9," the Cook County Sheriff said. "He confirmed that his intent was to find a place in the woods where he would not be found to die by suicide."

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The team of deputies believed that the man would not have been found had he not been flushed out by K-9 Eddy.

One of the deputies at the scene said if the suspect hadn't felt the need to flee, "he may have completed attempts before being located."

"This is a prime example of notable teamwork which resulted in a saving a life," said Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen. "The Sheriff’s Office is grateful for this outcome. We encourage anyone struggling with depression, mental health or other issues to seek help; there is always another answer."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at any time at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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