The search continues

Police search for body in Knox County

By Samantha Swindler / Managing Editor

Volunteers with Human Remains Detection & Recovery of Kentucky were searching an area off Highway 6 in Knox County Tuesday after police received a tip that the body of Jeremy Johnson might be in the area.

Johnson, 25, of Woodbine, was last seen leaving the former Angels & Wings Restaurant in Corbin on June 10, 2008. About a month later, his car was found down a rural path off Kentucky 459, about four miles from Johnson’s home, but there was no sign of Johnson. Rumors of foul play circulated the community, prompting Johnson’s family to create a web site at www.myspace.com/whereisjeremyjohnson and offer a reward for information in the case.

Over the past year, law enforcement has searched rural spots in Knox and Whitley counties based on tips that Johnson’s body may have been dumped nearby.

Cadaver dogs began searching a wooded area near the intersection of Hwy. 6 and Ky. 459 at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday based on an anonymous tip called in to the Knox County Sheriff’s Department.

Kentucky State Police and members of the Knox County Sheriff’s Department were at the scene, though police did not say what — if anything — the dogs had found as of Tuesday evening.

Human Remains Detection & Recovery of Kentucky was formed about three years ago, and its dogs have helped work several high-profile cases in Jefferson County, said handler Lannis Garett.

Six handlers were in Knox County with dogs that included a golden retriever, doberman, German shepherd and a standard poodle, all trained to alert their handlers if they find bone tissue, blood, hair, teeth and even fingernail clippings.

“They can detect a drop of blood,” said handler Stephanie Stefanic. “You line up a bunch of things and you have a drop of blood on one, they can tell you where that drop of blood is.”

Garett said cool temperatures and light snow flurries Tuesday would have an effect on the dogs’ abilities, but said that the breeze would help by carrying scents even farther.

“Everything plays a big factor when you’re searching for something that’s buried,” Garett said. “The wind, the temperature, the humidity, the barometric pressure, how warm it’s been the last few days, how cool it got last night — all those are factors that have to be figured in.”

Anyone with information on Johnson’s whereabouts should contact Kentucky State Police-Harlan Post at (606) 573-3131 or the Knox County Sheriff’s Department at 546-3181.

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