By Woodrow Polston
On Wednesday, March 2, 2022, around 10:30 p.m., a Missouri State Trooper stopped a vehicle along US 54 near Audrain Road 844 for an observed violation. Once the vehicle had stopped, a male passenger fled on foot into a wooded area carrying an unknown object as he ran. The trooper requested assistance from the Audrain County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit, and prior to their arrival, was able to reasonably determine that the person who fled from the stop was David Lee Fuget Jr., 35, of Mexico. Fuget was wanted on outstanding felony warrants of arrest.
Soon after the call for assistance was placed, K9 Apollo arrived with Sheriff Matt Oller and Sergeant Derek Chism with K9 Chal. K9 Apollo began to track the person who fled from his last known location in a wooded area near the location of the traffic stop. During the tracking process, K9 Apollo located items that had been presumably discarded by the suspect, including a hat and a small briefcase containing methamphetamine and marijuana. K9 Apollo continued his track through the wooded area into a cut cornfield, and eventually they came within a few hundred yards of a man lying in the field. When the suspect saw K9 Apollo and deputies coming toward him, the man, later identified as Fuget stood up and surrendered to K9 Apollo and members of the Sheriff’s Office.
In March of 2017, the Sheriff’s Office, with tireless work by Deputy Sheriff Chism, now Sergeant Chism, began the planning of reviving Audrain County’s K9 program. It had been dormant for nearly 15 years. In December 2017, the first K9 the Sheriff’s Office had in nearly 15 years was selected and named Chal. It was named after Audrain County Sheriff Chalmus Blum, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1924.
In 2021, Sheriff Oller was approached by a North American Police and Working Dog Association (NAPWDA) master trainer about K9 Apollo, who was serving with an agency that was experiencing staffing issues and was unable to provide a handler for the dog. After meeting Apollo, Sheriff Oller opted to become Apollo’s handler. Apollo is a Belgian Malinois born in 2016. The pair are also “full service” and are certified by the Missouri Police Canine Association (MPCA) and NAPWDA in several areas including obedience, tracking, narcotic detection, area and article searches, and apprehension.
According to the Audrain County Sheriff’s Department website, both teams train continually to maintain their readiness and skills, which includes training monthly (at minimum) with a NAPWDA Master Trainer and/or the MPCA Trainers. The suspect who was apprehended was arrested and transported to the Audrain County Jail, where he remains on the outstanding warrants and is awaiting formal additional charges including Resisting Arrest by Fleeing (Felony) and numerous drug related charges.