After missing woman found safe, North Port Police hope program may save lives

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 4:03 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - North Port Police say the combination of their social media combined with quick thinking neighbors and man’s best friend may’ve helped save the life of a missing elderly woman this week.

Investigators say loved one’s reported 81-year old Nida Colon went missing from her home near the area of South Cranberry Boulevard and Colonade Lane Monday. Investigators said within minutes teams were on the ground and in the air searching for her.

The department’s web team also posted a plea for help from the public to help find her. Police said Mason Barnard spotted the post, that’s when he and his dog Raven took off on foot to help out. Minutes later, investigators said the dog began barking and led Barnhard to the woman who’d become stuck in thick mud in a retention ditch near his home. The woman is now back home safe according to officials.

“This could’ve had a very tragic ending, had it not been for the post, and Mr. Barnhard we would not have been able to reunite her as quickly as we did” said North Port Captain Joseph Fussell. ABC 7 reached out to Barnard while he was working in Cape Coral Friday. He said he doesn’t consider himself a hero, but just happy he and his hound could help out.

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North Port man, dog honored as heroes in search for missing woman

A North Port man and his dog sprung into action when a woman was reported missing by North Port Police.

North Port police say the woman and her family have signed up for a program called “Project Lifesaver” which helps fit elderly or at-risk residents with tracking devices that can be used in emergency situations. “We rely on the people of North Port we have a phenomenal relationship with the community that we serve” Fussell added.

Decals and special stickers will allow police to know if someone inside of a home or vehicle has a special challenging condition like Dementia, Deafness or Autism.

You can inquire and receive the form by emailing