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Why this Florida school is collecting its students' scents

Posted at 11:08 AM, Apr 08, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Body odor isn't necessarily something you want to keep around. But one Florida business believes preserving the scent of a child could be important if the child ever goes missing.

According to the American Pediatrics Association, children who are on the autism spectrum have about a 50 percent chance of going missing at least once before turning 17.

Having a student run away was always a fear for Kristal Franklin, executive director of Capital Preparatory in Tallahassee, Florida.

"For parents, caregivers and educators, our biggest concern is that a student on the spectrum will become a runner," Franklin said.

Just a few weeks ago, one of Franklin's students ran away. That child was found safe.

But she knew she needed to find a away to make sure her staff is prepared if that ever happens again. That's when she found Scent Evidence K-9.

"It's one more step in being prepared and being secure," said Franklin. "Knowing in our community that we have this resource that so many communities don't have, I think it's fabulous."

The owner of Scent Evidence K-9 wants to encourage parents to have a plan in case a child wanders off.

"From the time a child goes missing until they are located, you have one to three hours. Every tick of the clock is extremely important," said Paul Coley, CEO of Scent Evidence K-9.

Here's how it works: parents use a wipe to pick up the child's unique scent, then store the wipe in a bottle.

If the worst happens, they call in Coley's team and that scented wipe will give K-9s a trail to follow.

"The more we are prepared for this, the better the results will be," Coley said.

Capitol Prep now has stored scent kits on hand for all students on the autism spectrum — something educators hope will be a key in finding the next child.

The scent preservation kits start at $25 and you can buy them online at