Volunteers Search for Missing NY Mom, Kellisue Ackernecht

A search for Kellisue Ackernecht, a 35-year-old missing mom who disappeared in September 2008, got underway in Johnstown, NY, Sunday, but lack of community support hindered the effort.
According to Kalley Lee, a volunteer who helped organize the search, roughly 100 people had indicated they would attend the search. While several family members and friends did show up to offer their support, only 28 community members participated in the search effort. It is unclear why none of the other individuals, including 8 prequalified team leaders, chose not to attend. Luckily, several local firefighters stepped forward and agreed to replace them.
Jayson Ackernecht, Kellisue's 35-year-old husband, was also absent from the event. Ackernecht had previously stated that a knee injury would hinder his participation; however, during the time of the search, he was spotted helping his sister move furniture.
Because so few community volunteers showed up, members of 3 View Search Services were able to clear only 3 of the 10 spots that they had previously identified as areas of interest.
"We conducted a thorough search of three specific zones, but lack of manpower prevented us from doing much more than that," Walter Perkowski, 3 View Search Services team member, told Investigation Discovery.
According to Tony Evelina, a volunteer that assisted in the search, the volunteers that participated were dedicated to the effort. Evelina, like most participants, did not know Kellisue, but he still set aside the time to come out and help look for her.
"If it were my [child] that was missing, I would want people to help me," Evelina told recordernews.net, adding, "It's a pay-it-forward deal."

In addition to 3 View, members of k-9one.org were present to assist in the search. Miro Faouzi and his dog Emma, along with Pat Lamson and her dog Tucker covered a lot of ground and were able to rule out several questionable items. At one point, the dogs detected a scent around a manhole on Union Avenue; however, when the cover was removed, a used feminine hygiene product was found. The item most likely resulted in the false positive; however, authorities still plan to have city workers clean out and inspect the drain later today.

The K9 team had requested permission to take the dogs into the home that Kellisue shared with her husband, explaining that they would like to rule it out, but a family member denied entry and asked them to get off the property.

Authorities did grant the dog handlers permission to inspect Kellisue's burned-out car, which is being held at the Department of Public Works building on Crescendoe Road, but neither dog indicated that human remains had been inside the vehicle.
Several media outlets are reporting that the search for Kellisue is now over, but according to Carla Lohr, a member of 3 View, those reports are erroneous.

"Just because we don't find something the first time, it does not automatically mean we are throwing in the towel," Lohr said. "We will take our findings back to our director and determine the next course of action. Ground searches have not been very effective in this case, so we may want to employ other tactics. Whatever we do, we will coordinate it with the family and local law enforcement."

While yesterday's effort may not have resulted in a find, it was a success in that additional areas of interest have been ruled out. In addition, Kellisue no doubt remains in the hearts and minds of everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to search for her.
Kellisue Ackernecht went missing on the night of Sept. 30, 2008, after she left her job at the Rite Aid pharmacy in Amsterdam, N.Y. Investigators later found Kellisue's 1998 Saturn sedan engulfed in flames just a few blocks from her home.

At about 2:30 a.m. the next day, police awakened Jayson Ackernecht to inform him of the fire. When questioned, he alleged that he had not seen his wife since her departure for work the previous day.
In an effort to locate Kellisue, Johnstown police conducted a foot search, while a state police helicopter scanned the ground from above. The St. Johnsville Dive Team was also brought in to assist, and the group spent several hours searching the banks of Cayadutta Creek. Despite the massive amount of manpower put into the initial search, police found nothing of interest.
Police say they have no suspects in the case and no information to support the idea that Kellisue was the victim of a crime. The relationship between Kellisue and her husband, a salesman for Wilde Fire Equipment Co. in Mayfield, was reportedly strained; however, officials say he is not considered a person of interest in the case.
Meanwhile, Kellisue's family and friends have organized searches, benefits and candlelight vigils.
Kellisue M. Ackernecht is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 135 pounds. She has brown eyes and short, curly, brown hair with red highlights. She was last seen wearing tan slacks, a black shirt, new white sneakers, tan stockings, and brown glasses. According to her husband, she was supposed to take medication for depression, but she had stopped taking it some weeks before her disappearance.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Johnstown police at 518-736-4021.

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