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Greenville K-9 officer credited with finding suspect who escaped bail bondsman

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A Greenville escapee is back behind bars, thanks to a Greenville Police Department K-9 officer, Fox Carolina reported March 21.

When 43-year-old Darrell Ellason escaped from a bail bondsman near the Greenville Law Enforcement Center Thursday afternoon, the Greenville Sheriff's office immediately started searching the area.

With helicopters in the air and officers on the ground and area schools placed on lockdown, K-9 officer Gio is credited with finding the suspect.

Gio is a 3-year-old search dog assigned to Master Deputy Jonathan Smith, where he lives with the deputy when he's not putting his sensitive nose to work catching criminals.

Fox Carolina had a crew on Center Street near East North Street and U.S. 276, where they spoke to neighbors who reported seeing Ellason running barefoot through their neighborhood. He was seen wearing a brown shirt and khaki shorts and was barefooted.

Summit Drive Elementary, League Middle Academy, East North Street Academy and Greenville Middle Academy were placed on lockdown Thursday, but it was lifted by 3 p.m.

The search was scaled back Thursday night for Ellason, who has five active bench warrants for failure to appear and malicious damage.

Early Friday morning Gio used his nose to track Ellason into a wooded area off of Woodlark Street , which runs off of Hillside Drive.

This was Gio's first big tracking assignment, and the department is very proud of this K-9 officer. In order to locate the suspect, Gio had to distinguish between old smells and fresh spells.

Master Deputy Smith says Gio is very work-oriented when he has a job to do. The K-9 officer will go into a stance where he stares straight ahead without moving when he's located what he's supposed to find.

Ellason is also charged with violation of probation, in addition to all the charges already made against him.

Anyone wishing to send Gio a thank you can do so by clicking here. Gio will definitely be getting some extra treats once he gets home with Deputy Smith.

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