Lost and found

When Hampden Twp. police searched for a homicide suspect, they brought all of the high-tech gear they had available, including helicopters.

They also called in a bloodhound.

Terri and Jim Heck operate Summit Search and Rescue, a nonprofit organization that has three bloodhounds trained to hunt everything from missing evidence to fugitives and lost children. One of their bloodhounds, Merit, was used to pursue Ricky L. Miller III. Police said he fatally shot his estranged wife's boyfriend.

The hound tracked Miller to a nearby Giant supermarket before losing the scent. Police apprehended Miller after he apparently fell from an oil storage tank during heavy rain.

Carlisle Police Chief Stephen Margeson said that whatever technological advances come along, he is certain there will always be a place for dogs in police work.

"Sometimes it comes down to good old canines with their superior olfactory senses," he said.

Much of the Hecks' dog work is in rescue, but not everybody is necessarily happy to be saved.

Terri Heck told the tale of a man several years ago who was injured in a DUI-related crash. He crawled away with head injuries and hid in a thicket on a cold winter night. He was nearly dead from exposure when he was found by one of the Hecks' bloodhounds.

The crash victim was saved but ended up with some fines and other penalties.

"He said he wouldn't have got caught if it wasn't for that dog," Terri Heck said. "He was right. He would have been dead."

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