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Drones used for missing person mission

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Volunteer Missing Person Mission

We [ScenePhoto360, LLC of Stillwater, MN] recently reached out to the Pine County Sheriff's Office to offer assistance in locating a missing 86-year-old man with dementia. His vehicle had been found in a very remote wooded area of the County. He was reported missing since January 28th and his vehicle was recovered February 1st. At this point he had been missing for three weeks and ground, air, drone, and K9 searches had been performed but he had not been found.

The Sheriff’s Office accepted our offer and provided the necessary information to start planning areas to map. The plan was to map multiple areas and then use the program “Loc8” developed by USR (Unmanned Research Systems) to do color pixel recognition analysis.

We mapped six areas of interest covering close to a thousand acres of wooded land. On February 19th those areas were flown using a DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise and collected roughly 1,200 photographs and data files.

Pine County Sheriff’s Office provided a photograph of the missing man with clothing he had been wearing on the day he went missing.

Later in the evening on the 19th, using clothing colors seen in the photograph, analysis of the photos began using the Loc8 program. Within an hour and a half, the analysis program identified an area of interest with a grouping of red pixels. We performed a closer analysis and determined this was the missing man.

The Pine County Sheriff's Office was contacted and given the information to include the analysis photo, coordinates, and a map with the distance to the area of interest.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to the location given and confirmed it was in fact the missing gentleman. He unfortunately was deceased. The recovery of the missing person can now help bring closure for the family.

A sincere thank you to Shane Michaels from USR for allowing me to use the Loc8 program and to Mark Edwards of Texas EquuSearch for reviewing my area plan and offering insight into the patterns of missing dementia persons.

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