MASON/PUTNAM COUNTY LINE (WOWK) — A dog that was missing for over a month will finally be reunited with its owner.
On June 12, Murphy the dog went missing after his owner Sgt. Jillian Sandefur was in a rollover crash on U.S Route 35 at the Mason-Putnam county line. Murphy was spooked by the crash and ran away.
At the time of the accident, Sgt. Sandefur was traveling to Virginia for the Army’s 247th annual ball.
13 News spoke with Sgt. Sandefur in June when she had to leave West Virginia to go back to work at the Indiana National Guard. She was heartbroken that she had to leave the area without knowing where Murphy was or if he was even still alive.
Since then, locals worked hard to find Murphy so he could be reunited with his worried owner. Misty Burdette and Becky Randolph made daily trips to the accident site.
Pawprints let Burdette and Randolph know that Murphy was coming back daily to a spot near the wreck. The two ladies regularly raked away pawprints in the dirt so they knew when fresh ones were made.
The Mason County Animal Shelter loaned an extra-large trap for Murphy.
Burdette went to the salvage yard to retrieve some of Sgt. Sandefur’s and Murphy’s items from the wrecked car and put them in the trap. Sgt. Sandefur also mailed some of her clothes to carry her scent.
Burdette said Murphy would not go into the trap. Instead, he traveled under the freeway through a culvert that rescuers could not get to.
The trap was never moved and state road workers kept an eye on it the entire time. At one point, a trail camera was set up to hopefully spot Murphy on film, but an unknown person wiped the SD card before rescuers could view it, Burdette said.
On Thursday, one month and two days after Murphy went missing, state road supervisor Jay Armontrout noticed Murphy finally went into the trap. Armontrout immediately called Sgt. Sandefur.
Jason Jeffers, who also helped search for Murphy, went to go pick him up.
Murphy was later taken to Randolph, and her girlfriend is driving the dog to be reunited with Sgt. Sandefur in Indiana. Coincidentally, Randolph’s girlfriend’s aunt lives about 20 minutes from Sgt. Sandefur’s Indiana residence.
Sgt. Sandefur will now have her beloved furry friend back before she deploys with her unit in September.