Emergency drones used in search of missing toddler in North Texas

The search continues for Sherin Mathews, a 3-year-old toddler who has been missing from her home in Richardson, Texas since October 7. Emergency drones were deployed yesterday as the latest surveillance measure in hopes of finding the missing girl.

According to the International Business Times, Sherin’s father Wesley Mathews had allegedly left his daughter outside at 3 am as a form of punishment for not drinking her milk. When he returned 15 minutes later, she had disappeared. Police said that though coyotes are often seen in the area, there is little evidence that Sherin was mauled by a bear. Kidnapping also appears unlikely.

Police and volunteers have been searching in fields, creeks, and wooded areas for the missing girl. Locating missing persons is very arduous but every second counts. An officer said, “We’re always hopeful that we can find her alive. But time is our enemy.” Aerial surveillance can offer these extra precious seconds. The North Texas Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Response Team are using emergency drones to search for Sherin. Jamie Moore, Emergency Management Director of Johnson County, stated, “It gives you a much better perspective of what the terrain looks like, what the ground looks like. You can see car tracks for example that might have driven through dirt. You can see where dirt may have been disturbed, and you can see articles of clothing.” While the police cannot disclose all the details, Moore is hopeful the scouting efforts of the emergency drones has provided important information for finding Sherin.

Smaller police departments short on manpower and resources are quickly resorting to investing in drone technology. Compared to helicopters, emergency drones offer air surveillance at a fraction of the cost of an actual aircraft and they can reach areas that aircrafts usually cannot. This week’s search is not the first time drones have been used in police investigations. Emergency drones have been deployed in North Texas since 2015. Earlier this year in March, drones was used in Dallas for the search of 38-year-old Matthew Meinert whose body was found a couple days later. Drones have also been used to hunt down criminals and to scope out critical situations like fires.

Drones are expected to become commonplace in police investigations, especially as the technology advances. “If you can save a life because you were able to locate somebody very quickly, a matter of minutes as opposed to a matter of hours, that’s worth investing in,” said Moore.

Are you developing life-saving emergency drones and aerial surveillance technology through R&D? You could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and can receive up to 14% on your expenses. To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today.

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