SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) -- A Sumter County teen with autism who disappeared for nearly 24 hours on May 27 was located in a swamp with water up to his neck by a deputy and K-9 duo.

“It’s not about me getting the credit or Indy getting the credit; we needed to find this kid, and that was the number one goal,” said Deputy Robert Mata of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

Mata and his K-9, Indy, are the pair that found 16-year-old Peyton Pickard, who has autism. They found him in neck-deep water, covered in bug and snake bites.

Mata said they were up against multiple challenges, such as the swampy environment and that Pickard was nonverbal.

“It was practically impossible to be seen by a helicopter or a drone because it's so thick out there. The trees are so thick, and the water, there is too many trees for a boat to go through. The only way was to walk in there and walk him out,” said Mata.

He went missing from his home on May 27. Hundreds of volunteers and deputies spent many hours looking for him.

After nearly 24 hours of searching, the teen was found safe about a mile from his home.

K-9 Indy is only 10 months old and has been with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office for three months. She was donated by the Tallahassee-based Scent Evidence K-9.

Mata said Pickard has wandered away from home before. His father has a human scent preservation kit for him.

Mata said Indy was able to use Pickard's scent evidence kit to track him down.

Twenty-two hours after Pickard was reported missing, Mata and Indy picked up on a scent.

“We pass the oak tree, and everything just stopped. I looked up at him, and he was in neck-deep water,” Mata said.

Mata carried Pickard out of the water. He said Pickard was shivering. Mata gave him his shirt and his hat to wear.

"I didn't know how he survived this. It has been 23 and a half hours in the water. He wasn't moving or nothing," Mata said.

The sheriff's office said Pickard is OK and is home now with his father.

Mata said he will never forget this day.

"It was amazing, and it was her first find. She sealed the deal and solidified our relationship," said Mata.

The Sumter County Sheriff's Office said county residents can visit their office to get a free scent kit.

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