KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — Marcus Dudley, the former Chapmanville Police Department officer who is facing charges stemming from the disappearance of his K-9, Chase, was not in Kanawha County court Thursday morning, meaning he is now wanted.

Dudley did not show up for his arraignment Wednesday because he allegedly could not find a way to get from Georgia to West Virginia. Judge Louis Bloom called this a “pretty shallow excuse.”

A capias warrant was granted on Wednesday meaning he needed to be in Kanawha County Court by Thursday at 11 a.m. He did not show up so the Judge issued the capias warrant.

A grand jury indicted Dudley on Aug. 3, around four months after Chase went missing. He is facing charges of animal cruelty, falsely reporting an emergency and making false statements, according to his indictment.

The indictment said Dudley called first responders to his South Charleston home after allegedly falsely reporting that Chase had escaped from his yard.

In a statement, South Charleston Police Chief Brad Rinehart said in part, “[The South Charleston Police Department] has received a tremendous amount of community support and assistance in its efforts to find Chase. Unfortunately, he has yet to be located. However, SCPD remains committed to finding Chase.”

Chapmanville Police Chief Alan Browning said, “From day one, the Town of Chapmanville and Chapmanville Police Department have cooperated with South Charleston Police Department in the investigation of our missing K-9, Chase. The Town and its police department are hopeful that the actions of the Kanawha County Grand Jury will help to shed light on this unfortunate situation and ultimately obtain justice for Chase.” 

K-9 Chase went missing on April 11, 2023, after Dudley reported that Chase jumped over the fence and escaped his home in South Charleston. Chase finished his training just this past March before working with the Chapmanville Police Department.

However, the SCPD said Dudley’s statements “weren’t adding up.” According to the SCPD in May, Dudley has since moved out of South Charleston.

The Chapmanville Police Department said on April 24, that Chase’s former handler, Marcus Dudley, was no longer employed by the department. Before that, he had been on administrative leave since Chase’s disappearance.

Following their investigation, the SCPD turned the case over to the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on June 21, 2022.

This is a developing story. We will continue to update you as more information becomes available.