Assumption Parish hosts annual recertification for teams

NAPOLEONVILLE — Denali, a cadaver-searching dog from Maine, paced back and forth on a small, slow-moving Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office flatboat and sniffed for the scent of putrid flesh.

The black Labrador retriever mouthed a little water from cypress-lined Bayou Crab, which flows into Lake Verret, to pick up the faint smell of death.

When the scent of a small, hidden piece of a real human body was close by, Denali barked in the direction of a specific spot in the water, paw at the water and, once, even partially jumped in.

“She’s just a natural,” handler and partner Katherine Heselton beamed.

Denali and Heselton, who works as a dog handler for the private Merrill’s Investigations and Security of Readfield, Maine, were training Wednesday for their annual certification through Law Enforcement Training Specialists International Inc.

LETS, of Powder Springs, Ga., has been conducting the five-day training and certification session in Napoleonville. It wraps up today.

Sgt. Joe Young, a LETS trainer and former canine handler for the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Matranga said 21 teams from across the nation were able to chose certification classes in one of three categories: narcotics, tracking or searching for cadavers.

For a second year, the Sheriff’s Office has sponsored LETS certification due to Young’s and Matranga’s longtime connection to the nonprofit group and its founder, Billy Smith, an instructor with the Laredo, Texas, Job Corps.

The training was as much about seeing how the dogs perform as it was about the relationship between dog and handler.

Lillian Hardy, of Edinburgh, Ind., and her Belgian Malinois practiced Wednesday in a land-based cadaver exercise.

Hardy, search-and-rescue training manager for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and 2-year-old Drake traced a circular path outlined by 12 evenly spaced plastic pipes in the ground.

Drake, whom Hardy rescued from a shelter, zipped through the course and identified the two pipes holding human remains.

After each identified pipe, Hardy gave the young dog the appropriate petting and love, as well as the expected chew toy.

“They’re working for the praise of their handler and that toy,” Young said. “That’s the paycheck.”

Bid to solve mystery of missing solo father

A fresh search is about to begin for a father of two whose disappearance 21 months ago continues to baffle family, friends and police.

In February last year Siegfried Newman, a 49-year-old German-born lab technician, dropped his boys at primary school near Katikati, Bay of Plenty, and then disappeared.

In spite of an extensive search at the time around Mr Newman's Lund Rd house, and nearby Kaimai Range, no trace has been found.

Tauranga police will resume the hunt this weekend, going over the same area as part of a search and rescue exercise.

"We haven't been given any new tipoffs," said Senior Sergeant Craig Madden.

"I've been wanting for some time to use a search and rescue exercise with a real search scenario, and this is a good opportunity to do so." He said he was mystified as to what had happened to Mr Newman, who lost his wife Vicki-Lee to cancer four months before he vanished.

The couple had been married for 12 years. Mr Newman was very depressed after her death in 2007, Mr Madden said. "Anything is possible, of course, but I personally believe because he was depressed he wanted time out and has gone into the bush and possibly met with a mishap, like fallen down a creek bed and not able to get out."

The two-day search will involve 62 police, search and rescue volunteers and Tauranga 4WD club members. A cadaver dog will also be used. "One thing is for certain – we will be searching for the remains of a body," Mr Madden said.

Bay of Plenty Deerstalkers Association president Stan Lowe knew Mr Newman through the sports club. He is adamant Mr Newman did not commit suicide.

"I'd be very surprised he has done himself in," he said. "It's not impossible, but what I knew of him he wouldn't do that. He was a good guy and I and my wife got close to him after his wife died. He told us he would live for his kids, that they were his life. I'm still surprised by the claims of what has happened to him.

"He was capable in the bush, and he could walk all day, so I don't think he got lost, and he left his rifle at home, so what does that tell you?"

Mr Newman's two sons, Thomas, 10, and Oliver, 8, now live with his wife's relatives in Wellington.

Memorial honors young abuse victim

RUSSELLVILLE - Sheriff Larry Plott stood outside the Franklin County Jail looking at a memorial that immediately sent his mind back to Nov. 20, 1993, the day he was told Andrea Gonzalez had wandered from her home and was lost.

Click to enlarge
Bobby Brown listens as Sheriff Larry Plott talks about the case of Andrea Gonzalez during the dedication of a memorial in her honor in front of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department.
Daniel Giles/TimesDaily

She hadn't wandered off, but in fact had died at home and had her death covered up by her parents. But it would take more than a year for authorities to learn that was the case.

"This brings us all back to an event that affected a lot of lives," Plott said. "This missing child affected everyone, not only here and this state, but the U.S."

The 5-year-old with the angelic face and big brown eyes was remembered Thursday evening during an unveiling of a memorial honoring her and bringing awareness to domestic violence.

The monument rests in a grass median in the sheriff's department parking lot. A dark black granite monument with the dates of Andrea's birth and death is in the center of gray stone pavers. Two small, dark park benches rest among flowers surrounded by a freshly landscaped outline of dark mulch.

"I don't think a case in Franklin County has touched the lives of people like this one did," said Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing. "We hope this memorial will serve as a reminder of all the children who have been victims of abuse."

Plott said Andrea's missing person's report set in motion a search like none ever before in the area.

"Thousands of hours were put in to try and find this little girl," Plott said to the more than 50 people gathered for the ceremony.

"She touched everyone's life, and every resource we had was utilized."

The lengthy search was finally called off when investigators suspected foul play. More than a year later, the child's stepmother, Kim Gonzalez, told authorities that the little girl had not wandered off and disappeared. She said Andrea died after being accidentally scalded while taking a bath.

She went on to tell authorities that she and her husband, Paul Gonzalez, Andrea's father, panicked and threw the child's body off the bridge at Mon Dye Bottoms Recreation Area near Phil Campbell.

Divers and cadaver dogs searched the lake for 13 days without finding Andrea's body.

Paul and Kim Gonzalez were both indicted for capital murder.

In April 1997, Paul Gonzalez pleaded guilty to manslaughter as a part of a plea agreement that included testimony against his wife. He received a 10-year sentence but was required to serve two years in jail and was placed on two years' probation. He was released in September 1997 and moved to Texas.

Kim Gonzalez, after a four-day trial in May 1997, was found guilty of child abuse. A series of appeals followed and she started serving a 10-year sentence June 30, 1999. She was released from prison Nov. 26, 2001, after being given credit for time served in the county jail.

Rushing said 90 percent of child abuse cases involve the victims' parents or caregivers.

He said in 2008 in Franklin County alone there were 25 cases of child abuse and the abusers were either parents or caregivers.

Thursday's event was sponsored by the sheriff's department, the Franklin County Domestic Violence Coalition and the Franklin County Extension System.

The coalition placed a fountain memorial at Red Bay Police Department in memory of 3-week-old Chance Waldrop, who died in September 2005. Waldrop's father, Jodey Wayne Waldrop, was sentenced to death for killing the infant.

Woman scares away burglar from Stamford home

STAMFORD -- A Stamford woman emerged from her shower Tuesday morning to find a man brandishing a knife and burglarizing her home, police said.

The man, wearing a bandanna over his face and carrying a kitchen knife, broke into the first floor apartment of a multi-family home on Frederick Street at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Lt. Sean Cooney, Stamford police spokesman.

The man fled immediately after he was spotted by the resident, who had just finished showering, and made no threatening gestures before leaving, Cooney said.

The burglar likely entered the home through a screen door at the rear of the house, he said.

Officers responded and searched the area unsuccessfully, he said. Police were unable to borrow a search dog from a neighboring department to track the man's scent, but crime scene unit investigators responded in hopes of securing physical evidence at the scene, he said.

"At this point the man remains at large," Cooney said.

The burglar is described as a black male in his early 20s, about 5-foot 7-inches tall, with a thin build, wearing blue jeans, a sweatshirt and a bandanna or scarf over his face, Cooney said.

Anyone with information is urged to call the police department's Crimes Against Persons Unit at 203-977-4417.

Bloodhound K-9 Unit Recognized For Suspects' Arrests

The Heaven Scent Search and Rescue team is becoming a household name around Tyrone Borough and the Alleghenies.

Dianne and Mike Thees found the group back in 2007.

Their dogs Noah and Luke were back in the spotlight this past week as they helped Tyrone and state police arrest three suspects in a rash of burglaries.

Police arrested Timothy Bogel, 18, Thursday morning after they learned he was staying at a friend's house in the borough.

Officers arrested the two juveniles at a home in the 600 block of Washington Avenue Wednesday. Police had issued a search warrant for the home last week. Inside they found evidence that they said linked the teens to the seven burglaries from the past week.

Thieves struck Puff & Snuff and Cowfer's Custom Design in Tyrone on Oct. 21. In the same night, Tyrone Sandwich and Six Pack Shop, Jeano's Pizzeria and the Bottle Shop in Snyder Township were also burglarized. State Police are investigating those shops.

Sunday, thieves struck Rossi's Corner Store off Old Route 220.

Tuesday morning, thieves burglarized the Snappy's in Snyder Township.

The Theeses allow people to pet Noah and Luke when they're out walking or doing demonstrations. They said it helps with socializing the dogs.

However, when they're wearing their harnesses, they said people need to give them distance because the dogs are at work.

Murder victim identified

Bay police appeal for public help

Police are appealing for information from holidaymakers after human remains found in a shallow grave near Nelligen were officially identified this week.

For more local news and photos grab a copy of the Bay Post or Moruya Examiner.

The remains found in the Currowan State Forest have been identified as those of 34-year-old Batemans Bay man, Scott Bryan.

Mr Bryan was last seen at his Short Street home at 1.30pm on November 21, 2008. He was reported missing on December 5, six months before his body was discovered in a surface grave near McCardys Creek Road, Nelligen.

Acting on information received, Batemans Bay police discovered the gravesite using cadaver dogs and established a crime scene on June 22.

Police will not say how Mr Bryan died or whether it was an execution-style killing. Far South Coast Local Area Command crime manager Kevin McNeil said the cause of Mr Bryan’s death would remain with the murderer/s and investigators working on the case.

Insp McNeil said the decomposed state of the body made it difficult to identify the remains, with the post mortem examination taking more than two months to complete.

“At the end of the day the investigation is continuing and we are seeking help from the public for any last sightings and any last contact,” he said.

“Anyone that ... frequents that area, we would be interested to hear from them if they’ve seen anything strange or unusual in that period.”

Far South Coast commander Superintendent Sean Gersbach said the timing of Mr Bryan’s disappearance during the holiday season could provide clues to his mysterious death.

“I believe there might be holidaymakers who were in the area who could hold vital information,” he said.

“We know Batemans Bay is a popular Christmas holiday destination and I would appeal for any visitors or locals who may have been in the area in December 2008 and saw Scott or has information into his death to come forward.

“People may have seen something as they returned home from their holidays or while travelling through the area and not thought any more of it until now.

“I am asking for people who were in the area in December 2008 to cast their minds back.”

Superintendent Gersbach said the smallest detail might prove vital.

Mr Bryan was 195cm tall and of white/European appearance with a solid build and balding hair. He was last seen wearing black track pants, faded black riding boots and a light coloured T-shirt.

Mr Bryan’s mother, Kim, has previously appealed to the public for information about her son’s disappearance. Yesterday she was still in shock about her son’s tragic death and declined to comment.

Anyone with information about Mr Bryan’s death is urged to contact Batemans Bay Police on 4472 0099 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Callers are reminded they can remain anonymous and all information received will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

Human Remains Found In Greenfield

GREENFIELD—The New York State Police have confirmed that they are investigating the discovery of human remains in the Town of Greenfield, Saratoga County.

On Monday, a hunter came across what appeared to be a partial human skull in a heavily wooded area. The State Police at Wilton were notified and responded along with the Forensic Identification Unit from Troop G Headquarters in Loudonville and recovered the item.

On Tuesday, Troopers and investigators conducted an intensive search with the assistance of forest rangers and law enforcement officers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. That search, which was aided by cadaver dogs, yielded more bone fragments. The search was discontinued for Wednesday due to the weather and is expected to resume Thursday.

The information established to date, indicates that the skull may be that of a pre-pubescent child age approximately 10 to 12 years of age. It is unknown how long the bones have been present in the area. The skull will be examined by a pathologist, along with the other bone fragments, to determine if the subject’s gender, age range and possible cause of death can be determined, police said.

Laboratory tests are to be conducted to determine information on a DNA profile. Troop G BCI is conducting a homicide investigation. There is no known connection to any open case at this time.

The Troop G BCI is preparing a teletype message to go to all police departments via the New York Statewide Police Information Network (NYSPIN) with salient case facts to try and develop a list of possible missing person cases that may fit the facts of this incident. 10-28-09

Police prepare to resume search at James Childers farm

October 29, 2009 · In early December, state police plan to search the creek bottoms with cadaver dogs for more bodies.

In June, Childers killed himself in a Clarksburg motel room, leaving behind information that led police to two bodies.

Meanwhile, Clarksburg Police are continuing an investigation into two cold cases they believe could be linked to Childers.

An initial search of the 96-acre property in Braxton County yielded the body of Carolyn Sauerwein, of Philippi.

State police suspended the search in June to review evidence and wait until the area is easier to navigate.

Now, state police are close to resuming that search. State Police Capt. Steven Dawson is the Troop Commander with Troop 3 in Elkins.

“What we are planning is another search of the creek bottom areas,” he said.

“I’m satisfied of the search we conducted in the other areas of the property, but given the thick undergrowth in the summertime, I’d like to have a better look, and give the cadaver dogs a better chance to search it thoroughly.”

The 96-acre property is topographically rigorous.

There is little flat ground and several rocky hillsides.

Capt. Dawson says that can create several problems when trying to search the property.

“One of the things we encountered when we had the backhoe up there digging up some of those areas where it looked like you could bury somebody, you dig down two or three feet with a backhoe and then you are in the rock,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Clarksburg Police continue to investigate two cold cases from 2004 that may be linked to Childers.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation named Childers a prime suspect in one of the cases.

Clarksburg Police Detective Michael Walsh says he’s gathering evidence by examining autopsy reports and contacting victims’ family members.

“We’re trying to dig up as many facts and as much evidence as we can to either say Childers did this, what he said, or he was responsible for this death, just so the families can have some closure,” he said.

Before he died, Childers sent audio recordings to Clarksburg Police linking himself to as many as five murders and four arsons, including his own house.

The information led police to two bodies, Sauerwein and Carrie Lynn Baker of Clarksburg.

The FBI classified Childers as a serial killer after its investigation began this summer.

Clarksburg Police later found in Childers’ house a hit list of potential victims. One of the names on the list was Baker.

The other names on the list are of women who are not missing.

Police: Remains behind San Juan house may be human

SAN JUAN — Police said Thursday morning that bones found behind a house may be human.

The bones found at 610 W. Citrus St. in San Juan on Wednesday may be human, but investigators have not confirmed their species of origin, Police Chief Juan Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said the bones "probably are" human, but further testing needs to be completed before authorities are certain.

"We're trying to confirm they're actually human," the chief said. "They probably are (human), but we're trying to date them."

Gonzalez said it would take "a couple of days" for investigators to confirm that the bones are human, or not. Until then, police are continuing to consider the investiation a possible homicide.

Investigators found the remains of several dogs Thursday morning in the house's back yard, as well.

A police badge found at the property belonged to a former Rio Grande City officer who has been located alive and well, Gonzalez said.

"He was pretty shaken up," Gonzalez said.

Investigators believe the residents at the house had been worshipping the Santa Muerte, or, Death Saint in Spanish, as well as Palo Maombe, a form of black magic that incorporates animal sacrifice.

"It's all mixed together," Gonzalez said.

The investigation at the house was launched by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms alongside Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Federal officials have not disclosed the scope of their investigation.

San Juan police launched its own investigation after the possible human remains were found at the property. A U.S. Border Patrol cadaver dog helped locate the remains, as well

Five days later, man is still missing

Five days are gone and 87-year-old Hugh Clark remains missing.

The phone rings off the hook at the home he built and he and his wife, Thelma, share on Trollingwood Road in Haw River, but it’s never Clark on the other end.

Family and friends check in daily, seeking information and some shred of hope that Clark is OK. But the news is always the same.

Clark was last seen heading to get his oil changed at about 2 p.m. Friday. He planned to make a stop at Maxway on North Church Street. No one knows whether he did those things because he never returned home.

The husband, father, World War II veteran, mechanic and jack-of-all-trades just disappeared along with the 1997 Lincoln Town Car he was driving, leaving few clues behind to help his family and investigators with the Alamance County Sheriff’s Department find him.

As each day passes, the list of worries increases. His blood pressure medicine sits on the counter. He hasn’t had a pill since Friday. He only had some cash in his pocket. He doesn’t have a cell phone, credit or debit card.

Clark suffers from mild dementia. He doesn’t hear well and has arthritis in both his legs so he can only walk short distances. He knows his phone number but if he’s confused, his family isn’t sure he’d know to call.

There are many unanswered questions and so much waiting.

“I don’t know if he’s drinking. I don’t know if he’s eating,” said Cindy Grissom, Clark’s daughter. “I don’t know if he’s still with us, but we have to find him.”

Clark’s family reported him missing Friday evening. On Saturday, a Silver Alert was issued. Investigators talked about the possibility of getting a plane or helicopter to search for him but that hasn’t been done yet. Family and friends rushed in to help.

More than 30 volunteers showed up Saturday. They offered support, put up fliers and searched. Truck drivers took fliers to places in Virginia where Clark has family and traded information over citizens band radios. They worked the phones and sent text messages to get the word out.

“I can’t thank the people enough that have helped us,” Grissom said. “It has meant so much to us and has been such a blessing. We are so grateful.”

By Tuesday, four days in, Grissom started to lose hope. The sheriff’s department released that the car seen on a surveillance video of the Maxway parking lot in the timeframe Clark was supposed to be at the store wasn’t Clark’s 1997 Lincoln Town Car.

Grissom still has her doubts about that. Several people called to say they spotted a man driving a gold-colored Lincoln Town Car attempting to turn east onto South Mebane Street off of Huffman Mill Road at about 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Was that Clark? Did he ever make it to Maxway? Where did he go? Why can’t anyone find his car?

The wondering is endless.

“Sometimes it’s cruel and excruciating,” Grissom said. “… We’ve done everything we know to do.”

On Tuesday evening, Grissom was put in contact with Mike Craig, co-founder of Public Safety Dogs, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Alamance County that trains a variety of scent dogs for law enforcement agencies. Volunteers also provide free search and rescue services to law enforcement agencies in North Carolina and parts of Virginia.

Craig offered the service to Clark’s family. He and 14 volunteers, including a black Labrador retriever named Magnum, searched ravines, ponds, back roads, alleys, and rest areas throughout the county Wednesday.

“(Mike Craig) said we will not give up until we find him,” Grissom said. “That was a miracle. It was like angels fell out of the sky.”

Craig is concerned that Clark ran the car off the road.

“If we don’t find him, we want it to be because he’s not here,” Craig said. “For someone to have an accident and then perish because someone doesn’t find him, that’s unacceptable.”

Craig used a scent transfer machine, which he described as a mini vacuum, to collect Clark’s scent should the volunteers find the car. He said Magnum can then work off the scent collected in the machine in order to keep all the evidence intact in the car.

“We’re driving any road that he might have been on,” Craig said. “We are turning over every stone. That’s the only way to do it.”

Finding her father, one way or another, is all Grissom and the rest of her family can focus on.

“Not knowing is hell,” she said. “But I have a lot more hope that at least he’ll be found.”

Clark is a white man. He is 6 feet tall and weighs about 185 pounds. His hair is gray and his eyes are blue. He was last seen wearing a gray flannel shirt, navy pants and brown shoes. He was driving a 1997 Lincoln Town Car. The car is a gold/light tan/sand color. It has a N.C. license tag No. VNP-1497. There is also a Burlington Lincoln Mercury tag on the front of the vehicle.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the sheriff’s department at 570-6300 or Crime Stoppers at 229-7100.

Jo’burg courts open after bomb threats

Proceedings at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court and the South Gauteng High Court are expected to return to normal Wednesday afternoon.

They were disrupted following bomb threats at both buildings on Wednesday morning.

Police sniffer dogs and the Explosives Unit were called in and combed both courts but nothing was found.

Police at the South Gauteng High Court said they were investigating who was behind the hoax calls that resulted in both buildings being evacuated.

After the building was evacuated, officers and members of a private security company locked the gate while guarding the entrance to the court.

People were urged to move away from the premises but many waited outside for court proceedings to resume.

Lost and found Local volunteers assist in search and rescue

When someone you love has gone missing, the most important thing is finding him or her. A lot can go into that effort, and there are volunteer groups which offer expert assistance at little or no cost to local law enforcement and fire rescue in the tragic event that someone disappears.

Eyes in the sky

Down East Emergency Medical Institute (DEEMI) is a non-profit organization that assists police, fire and EMS in search and rescue situations. The institute has upwards of 170 volunteers across the state who have various skills, including medical doctors and licensed medical personnel who set up ground teams to assist with search and rescue as well as gathering the medical history of the person who has gone missing.

Three of the greatest tools that DEEMI has to offer are the triad of FAA-certified aircraft that can be used for search and rescue. The team can go up, and volunteers sweep over a search area taking pictures.

The images are uploaded to an FTP site that is hosted by the University of Maine; military experts in Ohio review the images.

"Because of the University of Maine, when we have a kid missing in Maine, within 45 minutes we have people in Ohio looking for him virtually," said Richard Bowie of DEEMIE.

The flight crews fly over the designated area – often it's already been narrowed down by the use of a dog team – and take hundreds and hundreds of pictures. The pictures are uploaded FTP to FTP. The photos are blown up, and then combed over by the military experts using back-lit light boards. They are able to reliably find a person or a body that is lost in the woods. Bowie explained that the team in Ohio can identify a bottle of cleaning fluid situated at the bottom a river.

Since they have more than one aircraft, and the photography is not fixed into to any one aircraft, if one is in need of repair they can easily switch to the second without losing time. The use of these aircraft comes at no cost. They operate through generous community donations, such as the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. But Bowie pointed out that they will not solicit or even accept donations from the family members of the missing person.

DEEMI has a hangar at Bangor International Airport to house the aircraft.

Ground control

But it isn't just the skies where DEEMI shines. They also organize trained ground teams with three disaster trailers for deployment. According to their Web site, they have also acquired a new command trailer that is shared with Dirigo/MASAR teams.

They have a small fleet of 4 wheel drive trucks, and have teams on ATVs and snowmobiles to complement the standard ground teams.

Recently, brothers from the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon formalized a ground team volunteer agreement whenever there is an emergency in the area.

"When someone is in need and you have the opportunity to help, I feel anyone would do the right thing and help search," said Blake Jordan, a fourth-year accounting student and SAE brother. He considers this to be another way that the fraternity can be an asset to the surrounding community.

And it's this community spirit that allows DEEMI to search widely and effectively.

For more information about DEEMI, visit

On the scent with VK9

Julie Jones has been involved with search and rescue using scent-specific K9s since 1994.

Most recently, she has assisted with several cases in the area, including helping police find the body of Collin Bates in Orono and locating the weapon that was flashed in the Dunkin Donuts robbery – it turned out to be a pellet gun designed to look like handgun.

Her K9, Quincy, is a yellow lab that replaced her bloodhound. Jones found that Quincy picked up the training extremely quickly. VK9 is a 501 3C non-profit.

"I started out with air scents when he was really young," said Jones. "Everything I've done with him, it's like he's done it before."

In addition to being able to follow scents through the air, Quincy can locate items that may have been thrown or dropped, such as cell phones and keys.

Jones and other VK9s can track aged trails, meaning that even if weeks have passed, they can establish a verifiable trail.

Jones has hundreds of cases that she's assisted on across the country where she's helped agencies locate murderers, find bodies and establish tracks where someone may have wandered off.

When working with law enforcement, Jones explained that detectives won't tell her where a victim or suspect has gone. She's given a scent article and Quincy establishes a track. Often it isn't until well after the fact that Quincy's track is verified by law enforcement. This double blind method ensures that the police don't give Jones clues on where they think she should look – that keeps the evidence Quincy provides pure.

"What sets him apart is his ability to do aged and contaminated work," said Jones.

She explained that contaminated work is trying to track a single scent in an area where there is more than one target. Imagine each person living in your house has a color (Red for you, blue for your spouse, yellow for your child). If Quincy is given a blue scent article, it doesn't matter how often the red and blue tracks stepped over it; he'll still be able to focus exclusively on the blue track without getting confused.

He has an established ability of being able to track a subject even in busy places like a convenience store or a public library.

VK9 teams work well with law enforcement, maintaining training and search logs as well as filling out after-action reports with maps and tracking.

Jones has an intense desire to use Quincy's skills to help people as much as possible.

"I'm the one that's blessed. I'm the one that's lucky," she said. "And I need to go out and help people."

For more information about VK9, visit

Looking to the future of looking for the lost

Due to the grim nature of the business, oftentimes the outcome of these searches can be tragic, as was the case with Collin Bates. But officers who worked with the VK9 and DEEMI want the community to know about the tools that are available in the area.

Sgt. Scott Wilcox was impressed by the promptness of DEEMI's response and the incredible actions of Jones and Quincy during the search.

"I think anyone who doesn't use these tools is foolish," said Sgt. Scott Wilcox. He explained how incredible Quicy's tracking was, and how helpful it was to have a ground team organized.

Since the sad outcome of the Bates case, Wilcox has been working with DEEMI and VK9 to create an action plan should they ever need to use their resources again.

DEEMI and VK9 allow agencies local and national to find people who are lost, and though it won't always be a happy ending, it can mean closure for a family who has been searching.

Body in Landfill ID'd as Missing Fla. Girl

Authorities believe a body found under trash in a landfill is that of 7-year-old Somer Thompson, a north Florida girl who vanished on her walk home from school, the sheriff in charge of the case said Thursday.

Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said the tentative identification was based on clothing and on a birthmark that matched the girl's. An autopsy was being performed Thursday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Savannah after the body was found near the Florida state line.

CBS News has learned several law enforcement officials have cordoned off a house under construction roughly 250 yards from the elementary school Somer was last seen walking home from. The house is on her route from the school.

Detectives spotted the legs first and found the body partially covered by garbage Wednesday in a Georgia landfill, after investigators followed garbage trucks leaving the neighborhood where the child disappeared Monday.

Somer's father and other family members were "torn up" after hearing the news, aunt Laura Holt said. She hopes authorities will find her niece's killer.

"I don't think they deserve to live," Holt said. "I don't think there's anything worse that a person can do — to kill a child and dump her in the dump like a piece of trash?"

Beseler wouldn't talk about what evidence police have recovered, or whether investigators believe the crime was committed by one or more people. He said police have questioned more than 70 registered sex offenders in the area, and that process was continuing. Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show 161 offenders live in a 5-mile radius of Somer's home.

Authorities had launched a massive effort to find her - searching block by block - even interviewing more than 75 registered sex offenders who live within a few miles of the girl's home, reports CBS News correspondent Don Teague.

Bessler declined at the news conference to say if she had been sexually assaulted or answer questions about the condition of the body.

"I fear for our community until we bring this person in. This is a heinous crime that's been committed," Beseler said. "And we're going to work as hard as we can to make this community safe."

The sheriff said he told the girl's mother to prepare for the worst, and called her after receiving the news Wednesday night.

"Needless to say, she was absolutely devastated," he said. "It was the hardest phone call I've ever had to make in my life, and I hope I never have to make another one like that."

Beseler credited one of his detectives with suggesting on Tuesday that the landfill be checked. Trucks were scheduled to pick up garbage in Orange Park on Tuesday morning. He said detectives were told to go through the debris looking for evidence as the trucks brought it in.

"Had we not done this tactic, I believe that body would have been buried beneath hundreds of tons of debris, probably would have gone undiscovered forever," he told reporters. Even if the body had been found later, key evidence could have been destroyed or degraded, the sheriff said.

An FBI forensic unit is helping process evidence from the landfill in Folkston, Ga., about 48 miles from where the girl disappeared.

Two deputies stood guard at mother Diena Thompson's home early Thursday morning. It appeared to be full of supporters. An oak tree across the street was decorated with flowers, candles and pictures of Somer.

"This has been so unreal for the neighborhood," said Sharon Galloway, who lives across the street from the Thompsons. "I just hope they get that son of a gun."

At a nearby shrine formed by flowers and dozens of teddy bears, Catherine Sullivan held her teary-eyed 5-year-old daughter, Nya Frederick. They drove to the Thompsons' neighborhood from Jacksonville because Sullivan wanted to show her child the danger of being too friendly with strangers.

"She seemed to understand when I explained to her, her mommy wouldn't see her anymore," she said.

Somer vanished on her mile-long walk home from school in Orange Park. She was squabbling with another child, and her sister told her to stop. The girl got upset, walked ahead of the group and wasn't seen again.

Authorities launched a countywide search involving helicopters, dogs and volunteers walking arm-to-arm through wooded areas.

Orange Park is a suburb of Jacksonville with about 9,000 people, just south of Jacksonville Naval Air Station. The area where the girl disappeared is a heavily populated residential area with homes, apartment complexes and condominiums.

The girl's father, Sam Thompson, lives in Graham, N.C.

Clark County Woman Sentenced in Newborn Death

(Marshall, IL) -- A Clark County woman will spend two decades behind bars for killing her newborn son last summer.

Cayla Wheeler got 20 years in prison for the murder of her son and she got another five years for arson. The two sentences will be served at the same time. Wheeler gave birth to the boy last July and then drowned him and hid him in the woods. She burned down her house in an attempt to hide the death. Police started investigating Wheeler after her home burned down when they noticed that she was no longer pregnant and there were no signs of the baby.

A cadaver dog eventually found the baby in the woods near where her home was. Prosecutors had asked for a 35 year sentence for Wheeler after she pled guilty, but mentally ill to the charges.

Body found at marina

A missing Sandusky man has been found dead floating in the waters of the Venetian Marina, wearing the same clothing as when he was last seen the evening of Oct. 10.

Co-workersof Dwayne Merva found his body Monday morning at the Venetian Marina.

The marina's general manager called 911 at 8:20 a.m.

"Good morning. This is Dick Henry at the Venetian Marina," the manager said in a calm voice. "We found our missing employee. He's in the water."

Sandusky police Sgt. Det. John Orzech said there was no preliminary evidence to indicate a cause of death.

Erie County coroner Dr. Brian Baxter said he hadn't yet examined Merva's body.

He said they plan to move him out of the David F. Koch Funeral Home to the Lucas County Coroner for a forensic autopsy as soon as possible.

Merva, 49, worked at the marina for 11 years and was a yard manager.

Employees became concerned when he did not show up for work Oct. 12. He was reported missing that day by his brother, Greg Merva, and his friend, Danny Goins. Merva's truck was at the marina, his keys on the boat.

Fire Chief Mike Meinzer said co-workers spotted Merva's body floating in the water between the B and C boat docks.

The B dock, where Merva's boat was located, was the area where cadaver dogs showed interest during the department's fourth search last week, Meinzer said.

He said Merva was still wearing the Carhartt jacket, jeans, and tennis shoes he wore the last time his friends saw him.

Goins said Merva was last seen Oct. 10 at Louie's Tavern, where he had a beer and a shot.

He used a gate code at 1:47 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 11 to enter the marina. He told Goins earlier that evening he was going to Lyman Harbor and planned to stay on the boat.

Greg Merva received the phone call at about 10:15 Monday morning from Sandusky police, who told him his brother's body had been found.

He said he started calling family members, asking them to be with his mother and father when he told them.

John Hoty, president of Hoty Enterprises, said the employees are shaken up. He said the last two weeks have been long because no one knew what happened to Merva.

"It's broken everyone's heart, but the employees wanted to work," Hoty said. "We're sorry to the (Merva) family for their loss."

In an e-mailed statement from Kula Hoty Lynch, lawyer for Hoty Enterprises, the company asked for privacy at a time of loss.

Adam Nemitz, who worked with Merva for six years at Marco's Pizza, where Merva held a second job, said the news came as a shock.

"It took a second to process," Nemitz said. "In the back of our minds, we knew. He wasn't the type to not show up for work. Now I want to know why, what happened?"

Firefighters to buy cadaver dog

VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) - Vincennes city firefighters raised money Monday night for a cadaver dog.

A big crowd gathered for the event held at Buffalo Wild Wings in Vincennes.

Donations were made directly to the fire deptartment, a silent auction took place, and Buffalo Wild Wings donated 15 percent of their proceeds made that evening.

When enough money is raised the cadaver dog will be purchased and become a permanent part of the Vincennes City Fire Department.

Dad still hoping son will be found in river

Eight hours after his son had presumably disappeared in the Klip River in Eldorado Park, a father was refusing to give up hope.

Leon Neathling late last night stood metres from the river as search and rescue divers combed the murky waters for nine-year-old Gregory.

Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (JEMS) personnel, together with SAPS divers and rescue dogs, were scouring the river and its banks, after they had received the call just before 6pm. But at 11pm, rescuers called off the search. They were due to resume the search at 7am today.

JEMS spokesperson Nana Radebe said the murky, polluted water was making it difficult for the divers to manoeuvre. "The river is littered with plastic and other rubbish, which makes the search operation a bit of challenge," she said.

Radebe said JEMS and SAPS personnel had started the search around 6.30pm.

Neathling said boys had told him that his son was pushed into the river by a friend.

"They had been playing at the park and later decided to take a walk down to the river, where it all happened at about 4.30pm," he said.

Neathling had last seen his son at 2pm at their house, where he had watched TV before heading off to play.

Standing among supportive community members and friends earlier in the evening, Neathling's eyes were fixed on the riverbank, where divers and sniffer dogs were at work.

"I am not going to lose hope. I will stand here until they find my boy.

"My son is supposed to be in bed sleeping and going to school tomorrow," said Neathling.

Vigil to mark missing girl's 35th birthday

Woburn, MA -

The family of Melanie Melanson will hold a candlelight vigil to commemorate what would have been her 35th birthday this Sunday, Nov. 1.

On Oct. 27, 1989, 14-year-old Melanson disappeared just five days before her 15th birthday after a party in the woods with a group of friends. Tomorrow marks 20 years since she was last reported seen.

Family and friends are sponsoring Sunday’s vigil, which is also open to members of the public who wish to participate and commemorate her life.

The vigil will be held in the parking lot of Woburn Memorial High School, 88 Montvale Ave., at 5 p.m.

According to authorities, Melanson, a freshman at Woburn High School, was in a set of woods near the Woburn/Stoneham line at a party with a group of friends the day she was last seen. In the early morning hours, Melanie remained with a small group of friends. That was the last time that she was ever seen or heard from again.

In the ensuing days and months, family members, friends, and local law enforcement conducted extensive searches to find her. That search included the use of cadaver dogs, dive teams in local waters, and repeated ground searches by local police. She was never located.

The District Attorney’s office and Woburn police are conducting an active investigation and following new leads that have been developed. A reward of $5,000 has been offered for new information that leads to the discovery of her body. Members of the public with information that they believe would be helpful to the investigation can contact the Woburn Police Department at 781-933-1212 x853 or State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office at 781-897-6650.

The $5,000 reward money is being offered by the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation which is committed to raising awareness to the issue of missing persons who have gone missing under suspicious circumstances.

Six months later, still no sign of Brittanee Drexel

Simply put, this might be one of the worst months of Chad Drexel's life.

He celebrated his missing daughter's 18th birthday on Oct. 7. A week later, he traveled to South Carolina to join a two-day search, hoping to find new clues about her whereabouts, but came back home to Rochester more dejected.

And today marks exactly six months since his daughter, Brittanee Drexel, was last seen.

"This is all very stomach-turning, draining, and I feel sick all the time," said Chad Drexel. "It's just a horrifying thought to search through the very thick woods, scared of what you might find. But I've got to keep doing whatever I can to find my little girl."

Brittanee, a Gates Chili High School student, went missing April 25 after taking a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach with several acquaintances.

Last weekend, the Myrtle Beach Police Department searched the Georgetown County area, about 35 miles south of Myrtle Beach, for the third time. That was where her cell phone last gave off a signal. Police had planned this search since May, aiming to take advantage of better conditions, including cooler temperatures and fewer insects. The search included 150 volunteers, 50 law enforcement officers, 12 cadaver dog teams and horses searching water and land. However, they found nothing.

"We at least eliminated some areas that were hard to search in May because it was so hot and that affected the volunteers and the dogs' ability to track a scent," said Vincent Dorio, a Myrtle Beach police detective. "We haven't ruled out looking anywhere again because we could have always missed something."

Dorio, who said the case is still considered active, expects another search to occur before the end of the year.

The Drexel family's anguish began in the spring when Brittanee's mother, Dawn Drexel, found out that instead of her daughter staying at a Rochester's friend home during spring break, she had gone to Myrtle Beach.

On April 25, Brittanee had texted her boyfriend, John Grieco, and then left the Bluewater Resort on Ocean Boulevard to go for a walk on the beach.

She never returned.

A few days later, the Drexel family drove 14 hours to South Carolina to search for Brittanee. They found hope in tips that a person matching her description had been seen on a bus and at a convenience store. But both were false leads.

Now six months and several searches later, doubt sometimes creeps into the family, and they wonder whether they will ever find their Britt. Chad Drexel said he still cries occasionally thinking about the situation but refuses to think that all is lost.

On his Facebook page, his profile picture is a photograph of Brittanee with the words, "We miss you so much."

"We have a lot of family support and that helps sometimes," said Dawn Drexel. "But some days that is not enough because we still have a lot of pain. We're hoping to find her soon because six months is a long time."

New York received more than 20,000 reports of children missing last year, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. Nearly all of the missing cases — about 92.3 percent — were suspected runaways. About 31 percent of the cases were resolved by the child coming home. By the end of last year, more than 2,000 cases remained unresolved.

Alicia Grieco of Greece, the mother of John, has seen her son grow stronger in the midst of his own heartache. He also drove to South Carolina last weekend to join the search party.

Grieco said John spends most of his free time on the computer trying to find the latest information or making phone calls to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, refusing to give up hope that his girlfriend will be found alive. There are days when family and friends become frustrated because they wish that police could give them more information, that any witnesses would come forth and that more leads would come out.

John decided to go back to Monroe Community College and change his major from biology to criminal justice.

"He tells me, 'Mom, when I get an A in class, that makes me feel like I am one step closer to finding Brittanee.' He feels like he will find her one day, and we believe she is not dead, but she is out there," said Alicia Grieco.

Snow curbs search for missing man

SANTA FE (KRQE) - It was a tough day at the Nadel Santa Fe home Sunday, as a planned search effort for Mel Nadel was called off due to heavy snow in the Pecos wilderness where the 61-year old was last seen on Sept. 6.

"I cannot explain how I feel about that, it really hurts," Nadel's wife, Edna Nadel, said. "I was disappointed, I thought that maybe today is the day that we find out what happened."

The family is forced to wait and continue wondering what happened to their beloved husband and father. It's a feeling Edna said is excruciating.

"I don't want anybody to experience this ever, this is the hardest," she said.

One of the family's biggest fears is that the weather won't cooperate for another planned search effort next weekend.

"If there's a lot of snow, then we have to wait for the spring to come to look for him again," Nadel said.

During an earlier search of the mountainous area where her husband disappeared, cadaver dogs zeroed in on a specific spot, according to Edna Nadel.

"There was this one area that the dog was favoring, all the dogs were favoring that area, and that's what they wanted to search today," she said.

While the Nadel family waits, their minds turn over every possible scenario of what may have happened to Mel.

"I'm covering all my bases, I'm covering everything," Edna said. "I'm not pointing fingers and saying somebody hurt him or something."

The family hopes if someone knows something, they will come forward.

A benefit dinner for Mel Nadel will be held at the Santa Fe Capitol Grill from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday Oct. 27.

Search and rescue, unleashed


Nose in overdrive, Pele sprints to the far edge of a large clearing and immediately starts zigzagging back.

The German shepherd has spent most of her life learning to follow the smell of death, and in this October training session it takes her barely two minutes to find the bush where her owner hid a plastic bag containing remnants of a human placenta and some bloodied foam padding from the seat of a car involved in a fatal crash.

"Good girl!" calls Piedmont resident Mark Herrick as Pele alerts him to the discovery.

For decades, dog lovers have been teaching cadaver dogs like Pele to help law enforcement find the missing.

"We're just one little tool for them to get more information " and there are
times when it's a fabulous tool," said Adela Morris, founder of the Santa Clara County Sheriff Office's 12-member Canine Specialized Search Team.

Five dogs from Morris' group were used to search the Antioch-area property of Phillip and Nancy Garrido in the internationally publicized Jaycee Dugard kidnapping case.

Dogs' ability to recognize the odors produced at different stages of decomposition enables them not only to find people minutes after death but even years later, whether their bodies are intact or scattered in pieces as small as a single tooth.

Cadaver dogs are just one kind of search canine: An array of types performs specialized tasks that have evolved since the animals were used to find wounded soldiers during
World War II.

Some look for drowning victims, skiers buried in avalanches or victims trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. Others are trained to cover large areas quickly as they sniff air currents for the scent of a living person. Some work more slowly, nose glued to the ground as they track a particular individual.

Search dogs have found missing Alzheimer's patients and 8-year-old Girl Scouts lost on camping trips. They solved the mystery of an East Bay motorcyclist who had vanished years earlier by finding bones that wild animals had squirreled away in a tree. And they looked for bodies in the wake of a head-on collision between two trains in Los Angeles.

There are even subspecialties among cadaver dogs, some of which focus on ferreting out small quantities of skeletonized, buried human remains.

The skill comes in handy not just at crime scenes, but also when archaeologists look for unmarked American Indian graves or would-be developers have records showing a pioneer cemetery on their property but no headstones to identify its exact location.

Other cadaver dogs look for the recently dead lying in the open or in a shallow grave and who might have been dismembered in a violent crime or accident.

The training required to bring dogs to this level of sophistication guarantees that they are an elite minority: There are only 188 in California, ranging from rat terriers and mastiffs to boxers and Siberian huskies, all owned by volunteers for whom search and rescue work is a labor-intensive love.

What matters isn't the pedigree but the dog's desire to work, said Carol Shapiro, president of the California Rescue Dog Association.

The work isn't for the casual hobbyist looking for an offbeat way to have some fun with Fido: These search teams devote innumerable hours and serious sums of money to what they consider a lifestyle.

Morris' group routinely meets three times a week for training sessions that last two to four hours. Castro Valley resident Eric Sheets says it's normal for him to put in a dozen hours a week.

For handlers training their first dog, it can take about two years before their partner is what they call "mission ready," meaning it meets the guidelines of the state's Emergency Management Agency.

Dog owners also face a learning curve. They must know how to read a compass and topographical maps, be willing to get wet and muddy, and make do without a latrine, Shapiro said.

Investigators hope to bring closure to murder case in Garfield County

CANYON CREEK, Colorado — Investigators wrapped up their work shortly after noon Sunday at an apple orchard where a dismembered body was discovered in June.

The Garfield County Sheriff's Office brought in Colorado-based nonprofit NecroSearch International, and called upon the Garfield County Search and Rescue Inc., which brought in cadaver dogs, to hopefully find some additional clues as to who killed Janine Ann Johler, 38, of Aurora.

Garfield County Sheriff's Office Detective Sgt. Don Breier said Sunday that the reason for the search to continue, more than four months after Johler's body was discovered in the orchard, was because forensic evidence which could be helpful in solving a case can exist for years.

The Sheriff's Office is doing all it can not to let this murder go unsolved, he said.

“We have a lady that was heinously murdered, and we need to get the best evidence possible and get the best case put together and seek closure,” Breier said. “Not only for the community, because it's a shocking thing for the valley, but for the family who lost a daughter.”

Breier could not say what, or if any, new evidence was found over the weekend search. Crews were out for about 10 hours on Saturday, and again for about six hours on Sunday.

NecroSearch International president Tom Bellinger said that five specialists came to Glenwood to aid in the search this weekend. Bellinger, who is a hydrologist, said that NecroSearch offers a variety of specialties to aid in investigations. NecroSearch employs a variety of techniques including the use of cadaver dogs, entomology, the study of animal scavenging and serology, among others, and does not charge for its services.

“We look at the physical and natural environment and kind of cross reference, too,” Bellinger said.

He added that they will look at plants and the physical environment, which could indicate “scavenging,” and the way that weather could potentially scatter evidence through a crime scene.

NecroSearch was incorporated in 1989 and has assisted in more than 300 cases in more than 10 countries and more than 40 states, Bellinger said.

Sunday, Bellinger said, his team was basically offering its observations skills.

David Gruys, with Garfield County Search and Rescue Inc. said that they brought in three dog teams at the request of the Sheriff's Office. Gruys said that they don't get the opportunity to participate in these type of forensic searches very often, but they are qualified to do so.

“Whenever the Sheriff's Office needs a search dog for whatever reason, including human remains, we are right here with them doing it,” Gruys said.

The dogs are trained in several different areas and can be very helpful in finding forensic evidence, like human remains, even if they have been lying in a field for extended periods.

“With human remains it's a little more specialized,” Gruys said.

Johler's dismembered body was found in the apple orchard, just off Interstate 70 and Canyon Creek Road, on June 12. A teenage orchard worker found Johler's remains in a bag, which authorities at the time suspected may have been torn open by animals.

Johler's body was identified on June 19, and her last known residence was in Aurora, a suburb of Denver. She was last seen at her Aurora home on May 1, and according to reports at the time of her disappearance, the Aurora Police described her as having a diminished mental capacity.

text size: A | A | A Deputies Investigate Disappearance of Eufaula Family

Eufaula, OK - How does a family disappear without a trace? Latimer County authorities are trying to answer that question as they wrap up another day of searching for Bobby and Sherrilynn Jameson and their daughter Madyson.

The Jamesons disappeared October 9th. Their truck was found in Red Oak, about 140 miles south of Tulsa.

Authorities say, the Jameson's were out looking at 40 acres of land near Red Oak.
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Deputies found their truck locked and without the keys. There was also a substantial amount of money in the car, along with coats, shoes, cell phones, maps and a GPS system.

According to volunteer searcher, Jordan Coffey, the terrain is difficult for anyone.

"Probably a lot of hurt, you know. Legs hurting, back. They said that guy had back surgery, so up there he wouldn't be able to get around very far," explains Coffey.

Authorities have called in both the FBI (web) and the OSBI to help with the search for the Jameson's. They will join 6 cadaver dog teams, planes, helicopters and just under 100 searchers.

The search will resume on Friday on the ground and in the air.

If you have any information about the whereabouts of the Jameson family, please contact the Latimer County Sheriff's Office at 918-465-2161.

Man reported missing after car found charred

Pueblo police are asking for the public's help in locating a man reported missing Oct. 9, the day the charred remains of his car were found in the prairies about 25 miles east of Pueblo.

The missing man was identified as Benjamin Clark, 34, of the 1000 block of East 11th Street, according to police Sgt. Eric Bravo. Clark is described as a white male with brown hair, brown eyes, 6 feet tall and about 195 pounds.

"We're trying to track down his last known activities," Bravo said. "We just interviewed his girlfriend today."

According to Bravo, Clark has a history of drug use.

The unidentified girlfriend reported Clark missing after a sheriff's deputy called her on Oct. 9 to report that Clark's Pontiac Grand Am was found with its paint burned to the metal on a rural property on 62nd Lane. Bravo said the girlfriend said she saw him the day before his car was found, but was not alarmed because he had disappeared for brief periods of time in the past.

"We took cadaver dogs out there, but they came up with nothing," Clark said.



Tracy Ray reported to police that early Saturday morning someone took her 1992 Ford Explorer parked in the lot of Belmont Lodge, 1601 Constitution Road. Ray told Officer Ron Oreskovich that she parked the vehicle at about 12:30 a.m. and two hours later, she noticed it was gone. She said a bowling bag with equipment was left in the spot where her vehicle was parked. Ray also reported a computer and camera were inside the vehicle. She estimated her loss at $2,625.

Also in Belmont, Clarence Elliott reported to officer Greg Harris that overnight Saturday someone took his 1995 Dodge Ram parked in front of his residence in the 100 block of Normandy Circle. Elliott told Harris there was a generator, several shovels and a tool box in the truck. He estimated his loss at $5,000.



Vandals broke the front window of Bodies by T, 304 W. Fourth St., early Sunday morning, according to a report by officer Bernadette Lambert.

Terry Taylor, owner of the business, said he estimated the damage at $1,100.


Augustin Montes, 38, of the 1600 block of East Routt Avenue, was arrested Monday morning on a warrant for second-degree burglary, harassment and third-degree assault. He is being held late Tuesday in Pueblo County jail in lieu of $8,000 bail.

Angel Sergio Olvera-Diaz, 21, who was reported as homeless, was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of sexual assault. He remained in county jail on an immigration hold.

Isaic Lee Salazar, 29, address unknown, was arrested early Tuesday on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, unlawful distribution/manufacture/dispensing a controlled substance, use of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sydney businesswoman's body found with scarf wrapped tightly around neck

Police have confirmed that the badly decomposed body found floating in a Sydney creek last week is that of Sydney businesswoman Wei Chen.

Police have also revealed that they believe Ms Chen, 39, was murdered, and said she was found in the water with a scarf wrapped tightly around her neck.

A search for Ms Chen had been under way since mid-July, when the Lidcombe woman's blue Mercedes was found abandoned at Belmore.

The hunt included the use of cadaver dogs and a search of rivers and creeks in Auburn, where Ms Chen was last seen.

Last Wednesday evening a person walking their dog found Ms Chen's body among mangroves in fast-flowing Haslam Creek, off Hill Road at Homebush Bay.

The body had been there for some time, but might have entered the water several kilometres away, police said last week.

"This is a tidal area ... the Haslam Creek area [flows] out into the Homebush Bay area, of course that system is part of the Sydney basin system that goes out to the Sydney Harbour area," Superintendent Brett Henderson said last week.

Police today have reissued photos of a man and woman believed to be associates of Ms Chen, and who they believe could help them solve the case.

They had previously appealed to the pair to come forward in August to help them find Ms Chen.

"We're not exactly sure who they are but we understand they are associates of Wei Chen but we don't know if it's a business or social relationship, or exactly how they know her," Campsie Local Area Commander Peter Lennon said at the time.

"They're not suspects in her disappearance but we think she knew them."

A police spokeswoman today said there was no new information about the pair, or their relationship with Ms Chen.

Ms Chen was last seen leaving Auburn RSL on July 16.

Her car was found unlocked and with the keys in the ignition the next day on Railway Parade at Belmore.

Little is known about her. She was an Australian resident and operated a number of businesses in Australia, including a business selling vitamins and a door-to-door business selling children's clothes.

"She also had a small share portfolio," Superintendent Lennon said previously.

"She led a very quiet social life, her flatmates said she didn't do anything unusual other than disappearing on July 16."

Her parents lived in China, and flew to Sydney in August after their daughter's disappearance.

"We love our daughter very much and her disappearance is extremely distressing because it is out of character," her father, Zheng Chen, said in a police statement.

Anyone with information, particularly any member of Sydney's Chinese community, can contact Campsie police on 9784 9399 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Jerome man missing after boating accident

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Authorities say they a Jerome man has been missing for 10 days after a boating accident on a stretch of the Snake River in Hells Canyon.
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Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings has identified the missing boater as 64-year-old Ray Dean Leavitt. Police say the accident happened less than a mile north of Cooper Bar before noon on Oct. 14.

The Times-News reports that Leavitt was fishing with friends and family when the front of the boat struck a rock, sending Leavitt and fellow angler, Tom Blair, of Twin Falls, into turbulent waters. Giddings says Blair swam back to the boat, but Leavitt did not make it.

Giddings says rescue crews made several dive attempts in the area, but were unsuccessful. He said cadaver dogs and divers made a final attempt to locate the body Tuesday.

Virginia Tech Student Morgan Dana Harrington Disappears From Concert

Morgan Dana Harrington ought to have arrived at her parents' Roanoke, Va., home Sunday afternoon, as she did most weekends, but when the 20-year-old Virginia Tech student did not show up, her parents quickly knew something was wrong.
Morgan Harrington was last seen at a Metallica concert in Virginia with friends.

Harrington, an education major, was last seen Saturday night. She mysteriously disappeared when she became separated from two friends at a Metallica concert at the University of Virginia.

Police found her purse, with her ID and cell phone, in the parking lot of the University of Virginia's John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville -- but there was no trace of the young woman.

Her father, Dr. Dan Harrington, said Morgan was a "homebody" who regularly visited her parents in Roanoke, 35 miles from the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg. He said she dropped in "midweek and most weekends."

Harrington called her parents to say she arrived safely at the concert Saturday afternoon. She planned to come home again Sunday to study for an upcoming exam with her father, a physician and medical school dean.

To not show up and to not call, Dan Harrington said, was "very atypical. We were in touch with her every day. She would not have just run away." Police Monday searched the area near the arena using a helicopter and sniffer dogs.

Authorities are, for now, continuing to treat the disappearance as a missing person case, but say they have few leads.

"We have no evidence that a crime has been committed," said Lt. Joe Rader of the Virginia State Police during a press conference Monday.

"It's unusual that we haven't heard anything from her friends or family regarding her whereabouts. That's the biggest concern currently: her whereabouts and her welfare," said Rader.

Dan Harrington described his daughter as a "really great kid. She loved music and occasionally went to large concerts. She was an artist and liked to read."

He also described her as a "forward-looking person" who planned to choose her classes for the spring semester this weekend, and already purchased a Halloween costume with her mother.

Harrington, said her father, did not have a boyfriend.

"If Morgan is out there and hears us -- please come home. And if someone has Morgan, please let her go and come home safely," her father said at a press conference Monday.

"We miss our little baby. She is our precious daughter," said her mother, Gil Harrington.

Harrington was last seen wearing a black T-shirt with "Pantera" written on the front in tan letters, a black miniskirt, black tights and knee-high black boots.

A Facebook group "Help Find Morgan Dana Harrington" has been set up in the hope of collecting information. Over 800 people have joined the group, but most have contributed only their support and prayers. None say they have information as to her whereabouts.

Pittsburg County father increases reward for son who disappeared a decade ago Read more:

A Pittsburg County man whose son has been missing for years says he's substantially upping the reward being offered for information connected to the case.

Matthew Cook has been missing for more than a decade.

''When he disappeared in April 1999, he was 26," said Cook's father, John Cook, of Hartshorne.

No one in the family has seen or heard from Matthew Cook since the night Matthew's father dropped him off at some land belonging to his grandfather north of Dow, John Cook said.

Although there's been no finding by investigators that Matthew Cook was the victim of a homicide, his father is convinced that is the case.

''I will offer $15,000 for information that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of the killer," John Cook said.

He had previously offered a $2,000 reward not long after his son was reported missing. He later upped it to $3,000, then subsequently increased the amount to $5,000.

So far, no one has collected any of the reward money.

While there has been no official determination that Matthew Cook was the victim of foul play, he has been officially declared deceased by the courts, John Cook said.

Anyone with any information regarding the missing man should contact the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Department at 423-5858, said Sheriff Joel Kerns.

Kerns said he recently talked with John Cook and the case is still open. It's not under active investigation at this time, but the sheriff said his office is ready to act "if we get something new."

Anyone calling with information regarding Matthew Cook should ask to speak to Undersheriff J.W. Young, Kerns said.

Young is familiar with the case from when he previously worked at the sheriff's department for former Pittsburg County Sheriff Jerome "Snookie" Amaranto, the sheriff said.

At the time Matthew Cook was reported missing, he weighed approximately 175 pounds and stood five feet, 10 and a-half inches tall. He had sandy brown hair and blue eyes, his father said.

John Cook's belief that his son met with foul play is based on more than a hunch. Things he observed in the Dow area shortly after his son came up missing led him to that conclusion.

Matthew Cook had been occasionally staying with his parents, John and Earlene Cook, in Hartshorne shortly before he was reported missing. Matthew Cook had recently been divorced and had two young daughters, his father said.

John and Matthew Cook had been working together in 1996. On the night before Matthew Cook was found to be missing, John Cook said his son had insisted that he take him to his grandfather's property north of Dow, where he had a camper.

John Cook said his son turned and waved at him after he dropped him off at the site, before walking toward a wooded area. That's the last time he saw his son, John Cook said.

The next day, he went to check on him, John Cook recalled.

''We looked at the camper; he wasn't there," John Cook said.

''We found his tote bag. It was open and his shoes were on top of it." Matthew Cook's Bible, some clean clothes and a picture of his two young daughters were also inside the bag, John Cook said.

''A few days later my dad and I drove farther back in the pasture," John Cook recalled. "We found his sleeping bag and a pillow" about 200 yards from the camper, he said.

John Cook and some friends and family members continued to look over the area.

''A little farther, we had a road," John Cook said. "We found a barefoot track on the right-hand side and big boot-print in the left side," he said.

John Cook said he's convinced that the person wearing the boots had forced his son to walk down the road after forcing him take his shoes off "so he wouldn't run away through the briars and bushes."

Farther on, near a gate, John Cook said he saw another barefoot track in a water puddle, with a boot print on the other side.

John Cook said that's convinced him "They took him out at night." He thinks that because of the darkness, the puddle had been unnoticed until it had been stepped into by Matthew Cook and whoever wore the boots.

''Nobody in their right mind's going to step in a water hole at night," he said.

John Cook said he still believes his son's body may be in a water-filled strip pit not far from where he had last been seen alive.

Former Pittsburg County Sheriff Steve Burrows had been involved in a search to try and find Matthew Cook, which included pumping out the strip pit in question.

A man with a "cadaver dog," a dog trained to detect dead bodies, had also been brought to the area and "hit" on the strip pit, John Cook said.

''The dog handler said there's a body in the strip pit," he said.

Divers at the time had also been involved in the search into the murky strip pit, until it was decided they might be in danger if part of the bank collapsed, according to John Cook.

During the pumping operation to drain the water from the strip pit, as the water got lower, a huge chunk of the earthen bank at one edge of the strip pit did collapse into the remaining water, John Cook said.

Although the rest of the water was eventually pumped from the strip pit, John Cook said he thinks that the dirt that collapsed into the strip pit could have buried his son's body.

John Cook said he does not believe his son left the camper voluntarily on the night before his family found him to be missing.

John Cook said his son had been intent on studying his Bible. Matthew Cook had been "saved" and had personally "witnessed" to some of his friends when he would see them in town, John Cook said.

It's possible his son's disappearance had to do with a case of mistaken identity -- he may have been mistaken for someone else, said John Cook.

He continues to have hope that the mystery may someday be solved and that anyone with any information will contact the sheriff's department.

Contact James Beaty at

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Hunter lacked basics

Police say a hunter missing overnight in the Nelson Lakes National Park was ill-prepared and showed a lack of judgment.

Tony Manson, 35, walked out of the national park to a farmhouse about 9am yesterday cold and wet, but otherwise fine.

Nearly 40 people had searched for him after he failed to arrive at the Sabine Hut, at the southern end of Lake Rotoroa, at 1pm.

Mr Mason, who had been hunting alone, had no food, compass, map or wet-weather gear, said Senior Sergeant John Maxwell, Nelson police search and rescue incident controller.

"I am constantly amazed at the lack of social conscience some people continue to display."

He was glad Mr Manson was found fit and well, but criticised his lack of judgment.

"The New Zealand geography is a minefield of risk, which is exacerbated without the fundamental equipment and essential skills required to survive."

Mr Maxwell said it was an individual's right to enjoy New Zealand bush, but "with rights came a social burden of responsibility".

Eight police, 29 search and rescue volunteers, two search dogs and a rescue helicopters were involved in the search for the missing tramper.

Mr Manson walked 20km to reach the farmhouse, despite a hut being only 4km away.

Mountain rescue teams halt search

Mountain rescue teams have ended their search for a missing 89-year-old man from County Durham.

Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team had been involved since the elderly man went missing on Friday afternoon.

Additional mountain rescue teams were brought in to try to locate William Jones from Ferryhill, but at 0100 BST Sunday they decided to pull out.

Police inquiries are continuing within the area.

Mr Jones was last seen at 1600 BST Friday when he left his home in Derwent Road, Ferryhill for a walk.

A large-scale hunt followed, including the police, search dogs and search and rescue teams.

The retired pitman, who walks with a stick, is described as 5ft 6ins, with grey hair, and was wearing brown cord trousers, a grey coat and grey woolly hat.

Disaster leaves impression on young photojournalist

On Oct. 17, 1989, I was just in the beginnings of my journalism career. I was the staff photographer for the Half Moon Bay Review, located about 20 miles south of San Francisco on the Northern California coast, and also shot prep sports for the San Mateo Times.

On that day, I had been assigned to photograph a water polo match for the Times. After finishing the match, I was back in the darkroom, listening to the start of the Game 3 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics.

Just as I started to pour the developer chemicals into the tank, I felt a rumbling, an earthquake. No big deal, I thought. Growing up in Southern California and having lived in the Bay Area for a decade, I was used to earthquakes.

The rumbling became stronger and stronger. In just a few seconds, which seemed like minutes, I had to seek shelter in a doorway, just as I was taught in school. At the end of the rumblings came a sharp bang, then silence.

The emergency lights came on, and I was able to finish developing my film. The power was out. I was unable to make prints. So I left a note for the photo editor and headed to my car.

The only other person in the newsroom, the managing editor, was on the phone. I thought, "This is opportunity knocking."

I walked up to her and said, "I shoot prep sports. Can I help?" Her response to the person on the other end of the line was, "And there is a photographer in the room."

San Mateo is on the San Francisco Peninsula. It is on bedrock, which transfers the shock waves of an earthquake differently than land fill. As I went out in search of damage, all I could find were broken windows and stores where products had been shaken off their shelves.

After several hours I returned to the paper and developed my film. I finally had a chance to call my father to let him know I was OK.

Only as I spoke to his wife did I learn what had happened. She told me the Bay Bridge had collapsed. A double-deck freeway in Oakland had been demolished. There was a huge fire in the Marina District of San Francisco. This was a major earthquake. Days later I heard it was the second-strongest quake to hit the Bay Area since the 1906 quake.
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In the aftermath, I was sent to the Interstate 80 freeway collapse in Oakland. There was discussion of dumping the concrete waste in the Pacific Ocean right on top of the prime fishing grounds of the Half Moon Bay fleet. I could see the wave pattern of the earthquake in the remains of the freeway.

I heard heroic stories of neighbors coming to the aid of people trapped on the freeway. I heard horrific stories of neighbors looting people trapped on the freeway.

A few days later I was sent to the scene of the Marina District fire. People from the Half Moon Bay area had cadaver dogs, and they were searching for remains.

It was a cold, dreary morning. I, along with other media members, were escorted past the police line and had several blocks to walk to the fire site. The pavement was broken and twisted.

The houses in the Marina District, as in most of San Francisco, are close together with the garage on street level and the rest of the home built above it.

Garage doors had been thrown open. We also noticed that the houses on the corners of the blocks suffered much more damage than the houses in the middle, which had been supported by the houses on either side.

We finally made it to the fire site, a grisly scene at that.

Where once stood a multistory, multifamily home, only a smoldering pile of ashes was left. Emergency personnel were working around the building with the cadaver dogs doing their search.

The media people talked with each other in hushed voices. Out of respect for the dead, perhaps. Maybe out of being overwhelmed by the scene we were covering.

I was so taken by what I was witnessing that I felt very guilty when a Red Cross worker offered me coffee. I felt that was for the people doing the real work, not for me.

Timothy Gonzalez is a photographer for the Statesman Journal. He can be reached at

In the aftermath, I was sent to the Interstate 80 freeway collapse in Oakland. There was discussion of dumping the concrete waste in the Pacific Ocean right on top of the prime fishing grounds of the Half Moon Bay fleet. I could see the wave pattern of the earthquake in the remains of the freeway.

I heard heroic stories of neighbors coming to the aid of people trapped on the freeway. I heard horrific stories of neighbors looting people trapped on the freeway.

A few days later I was sent to the scene of the Marina District fire. People from the Half Moon Bay area had cadaver dogs, and they were searching for remains.

It was a cold, dreary morning. I, along with other media members, were escorted past the police line and had several blocks to walk to the fire site. The pavement was broken and twisted.

The houses in the Marina District, as in most of San Francisco, are close together with the garage on street level and the rest of the home built above it.

Garage doors had been thrown open. We also noticed that the houses on the corners of the blocks suffered much more damage than the houses in the middle, which had been supported by the houses on either side.

We finally made it to the fire site, a grisly scene at that.

Where once stood a multistory, multifamily home, only a smoldering pile of ashes was left. Emergency personnel were working around the building with the cadaver dogs doing their search.

The media people talked with each other in hushed voices. Out of respect for the dead, perhaps. Maybe out of being overwhelmed by the scene we were covering.

I was so taken by what I was witnessing that I felt very guilty when a Red Cross worker offered me coffee. I felt that was for the people doing the real work, not for me.

No New Clues Found in Search for Brittanee Drexel

Last Update: 10/18 10:36 pm

South Carolina - Search crews were back on the ground Sunday, looking for clues that could help locate missing Chili teen Brittanee Drexel.

Drexel was last seen leaving a hotel in Myrtle Beach while on spring break in April.

At least 100 searchers, including police officers and volunteers, used cadaver dogs and ATVs to search a two county area this weekend. They searched in the area where Drexel's cell phone last gave off a signal.

Crews didn't find any new clues in the search this weekend. The search was led by the CUE Center for Missing Persons.

Sniffer dogs help find bodies in Benguet landslides

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, Philippines—Two sniffer dogs brought up by a Makati City rescue team led to the retrieval of one more body at Little Kibungan in Barangay Puguis here on Wednesday.

The recovery of the body of Concepcion Tayab brought the death toll from Typhoon "Pepeng" in the Little Kibungan landslides to 74. Four more bodies were still being dug up as of Wednesday afternoon.

Mayor Artemio Galwan said local officials also have yet to confront the trauma of homeless residents and relatives of the dead in the worst disaster that hit this capital town, known as the country's "salad bowl," since the earthquake that devastated Northern Luzon in 1990.

Local officials could only agree on a stress debriefing for rescue workers and volunteers as they are still busy attending to rescue and relief operations for 468 evacuees making up 94 families.

The families are temporarily housed at the Puguis Elementary School, Nazarene Bible College, National Irrigation Administration, the town hall's Lednicky Hall and the Benguet Veterans building.

"But definitely, a daw-es (an indigenous cleansing ritual) would be held after everything is settled," Galwan said.

He said efforts to "psychologically revive" the community would go hand in hand with the rehabilitation of farms, houses, roads and bridges.

He said he had received reports about some people having nightmares after seeing the dead.

The municipal disaster and coordinating council and the Department of Social Welfare and Development are scouring the town's six crowded public cemeteries to accommodate the dead.

More than 30 bodies were buried on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The call for measures to cope with the tragedy was also meant for volunteers who had to go through the site and transport 74 bodies, Galwan said.

The two imported sniffer dogs were highly trained for "life and cadaver search sniffing," said Ernesto Sison, Philippine Search and Rescue Foundation Inc. president.

He said the dogs, which belong to the Makati Rescue Team of Councilor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., are accredited by the National Association of Search and Rescue Association of America.

The team reached this town past 3 p.m. on Tuesday and went to work immediately until dusk.

The dogs, named "Rebelle" and "Chairman," scoured the 1.5 hectare Little Kibungan and were able to detect five areas where bodies could have been trapped.

"We immediately placed markers to indicate the sites the dogs sniffed into," Sison said.

On Wednesday, the dogs sniffed the area that yielded the body of Tayab, who had been missing since Oct. 8.

"We will remain here until the last body is found," Sison said, adding that it was Binay who sent the dogs and 14 rescue team members here as Makati’s way of helping the typhoon victims in La Trinidad.

Police dogs on patrol to curb drug dealers in Paisley

POLICE took sniffer dogs on patrol in Paisley town centre at the weekend in a bid to collar drug dealers.

Heroin, cocaine and other illegal drugs cause misery for hundreds of families across Renfrewshire and cops have launched a clampdown in a bid to rid the High Street area of junkies.

Two cops were joined by a specially-trained spaniel and an Alsatian at the weekend as they walked among shoppers and passers-by.

Inspector Caroline Ferguson, who is based at Mill Street police station in Paisley, said: “We are carrying out patrols in the town centre as a result of some of the drug activity and also due to some people gathering at the cenotaph.

“We anticipated that there would have been more people around because of the school holidays, so we wanted to ensure the undesirable element at the cenotaph was encouraged not to hang about there.

“These patrols mean there is more likelihood of a detection but the officers and dogs are also there to reassure the public that we are actively trying to detect drug activity in the town centre.”

Inspector Ferguson said the initiative has been a great success and has led to less drug activity around the town centre.

Paisley police have cemented their tough stance on drugs recently by cracking down on brazen dealers who ply their trade close to innocent shoppers and schoolchildren.

Officers detained a number of people last month during a town centre purge on drug dealing, which was sparked by complaints from shoppers and traders.

John Wilby, chairman of Paisley West and Central Community Council, has welcomed the presence of the sniffer dogs and their police handlers in the town centre.

He said: “We welcome any initiative to diminish the drug problem in Paisley. The patrols are very welcome.

“I think the town’s drug problem is something which concerns Paisley people in general. It is a particular worry around the shopping area, which is very busy.”

The headquarters of the Strathclyde Police Dog Branch is at Pollok Country Park, in Glasgow.

All drugs-search dogs are trained there to search open ground, commercial buildings, vehicles and private houses for various illegal drugs.

They are also skilled in the method of ‘drugs scanning,’ which involves the dog and handler searching large groups of people within queues, premises or vehicles. When the dog detects the scent of drugs, it indicates to the handler by sitting quietly beside the person involved.

She's got a nose for the job

She's a female icon in a field dominated by males, now entering the final stages of her illustrious career after proving the naysayers wrong.

But on a recent afternoon, Cinder the police dog was more interested in bounding after a neon orange ball in a field in the St. Boniface industrial park than basking in any visitor's attention.
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Cinder is an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois who tracks down criminals with her handler, Const. Rob Tighe of the Winnipeg Police Service Canine (K9) Unit.

One of 10 police dogs with the K9 unit, her specialty is chasing down suspects by their scent or by disturbed vegetation they leave behind.

The process of following a specific scent from one destination to another is called tracking.

"It's a male-dominated profession," said Const. Rob Tighe, Cinder's handler.

"Anywhere where someone is running from the scene of a crime, we would be called to assist."

Cinder's a tracker who's caught bank robbers and car thieves, averaging about 30 arrests per year.

Beyond finding criminals running away from police or evidence they drop, she can also sniff out drugs such as cocaine or ecstasy.

"She's got a great personality as far as being friendly, but she can turn it on or off at any time," said Tighe.

It hasn't always been easy.

When she was born, Cinder was going to be a breeder for the Canine Unit.

Eventually, Cinder bowled over the officers by her skill at picking up scents and tracking them.

Cinder's up to 30 per cent smaller than a male Malinois, but she's got a dominant personality and a determined nature.

There was a period when Cinder was bounced from duty as a tracker and trained as a search-and-rescue dog.

Thanks to Tighe -- who asked to train with her and had her reinstated as a tracker -- the 58-pound dog earned her way back into the unit and now has a marquee status due to her 2005 appearance on the Life Network program Dogs with Jobs. She's also the only Canadian police dog profiled in a forthcoming book called Badge on My Collar II: To Serve with Honour. The American book contains an entire chapter dedicated to Cinder's exploits, including the time she found a restaurant robber who'd fled to a Winnipeg home and pretended to be sleeping there.

Tighe said the most common misconception about police dogs such as Cinder is that they're cuddly. Not so.

"Our dogs are trained to apprehend criminals so they're trained to bite," he said.

Before Cinder tracks, she's outfitted with $2,000 worth of body armour made especially for police dogs to help protect them from weapons or physical attacks.

Trackers like Cinder are trained to pick up on adrenaline, a "fear scent" Tighe said suspects give off.

They pursue suspects, corner them, and can bite them if they refuse arrest, said Tighe.

Cinder also alerts officers to abandoned evidence like discarded clothing or weapons.

The Canine Unit also has three detector dogs, animals that are trained specifically to sniff out explosives.

When she's not working, Tighe said Cinder is "sociable" and loves to play.

He expects Cinder will have one or two more years as a tracker if she remains in good health.

The officer and Tighe spend hours together each day honing her tracking skills.

Cinder is an outdoor dog who sleeps at Tighe's home, and she'll continue living with Tighe when she retires.

"This is her life," he said.

"(Your dog) truly becomes a partner."

Joint investigation lands two teens behind bars

SHELBY — Hours of searching and a joint effort between city and county law enforcement led to the arrests of two teens said to have broken into several homes.

While investigating two recent home break-ins on Bowen Drive, deputies from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office were contacted by the Shelby Police Department about another break-in near the same area.

Hours later, Dennis Dwayne Hopper Jr., 19, and Deitrick Quillon Hall, 18, were found in the woods near the Holly Oak community, said Cleveland County Sheriff’s Lt. Jon Wright. Both were arrested in connection with the joint investigation.

Shelby Police Lt. Lisa Green said their case stemmed from the Heritage Oaks Community, near Laurel Hill Apartments.

“The backdoor window was busted out,” Green said.

Green said the alarm sounded around 8 a.m. and took officials hours of “relentless” searching before the pair was found and detained.

“There were three K-9s tracking the scent around the surrounding areas,” Wright said. “We worked with the city to contain the area.”

Authorities found stolen property and clothing that had been discarded by the teens in the woods, Wright said.

Suspicious car

A concerned resident alerted authorities about a suspicious car near a home around Bowen Drive, Wright said. The resident told authorities two suspects walked to the back of the home and then left quickly.

When deputies arrived, several items had been stolen, including jewelry and a digital camera, he said.

“During the same time, we had a vacant house that was broken into across the street,” Wright said. “They were moving throughout the woods and into the field.”

The teens attempted to break into another home on Powerline Drive by pushing an air conditioner window unit, he said. But residents scared away the teens.


Police said both have previously been arrested for breaking and entering.

Officials are now investigating unsolved cases for any linking evidence, Green said.

Not only was this a team effort between agencies, Wright said, but concerned residents were instrumental in the arrests.

Authorities encourage anyone who observes unusual activity in their neighborhoods to call law enforcement.

“Those are good examples of how citizens helped us arrest the suspects,” Wright said. “Sometimes people are reluctant to get involved but just a little information can be crucial.”

Dennis Dwayne Hopper Jr., 19, and Deitrick Quillon Hall, 18, are charged with two counts felony breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods and conspiracy, according to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office.

Con: Judges are best arbiters

Even some people who question the value of scent lineups think judges should decide whether evidence is fit for court.

Lawyer Rex Easley represents two men who were falsely implicated in crimes because of scent lineups.

Both men have filed lawsuits alleging civil rights violations in federal court. They allege Deputy Keith Pikett's scent lineups violated their civil rights.

Although he's worked with the Innocence Project on investigating Pikett, Easley said he trusts courts to eliminate bad evidence.

A Texas appeals court upheld Pikett's use as an expert witness, but some trial courts have begun to reject his testimony. The appellate court approved Pikett's use because he fudged his credentials, Easley said.

During at least one trial, Pikett said he had a master's degree in chemistry, according to transcripts. In a later a deposition, Pikett said that was not his testimony and he had a degree in sports science.

"The courts have a way of correcting wrong decisions," Easely said.

District Attorney Steve Tyler agrees. Tyler has criticized Pikett's credibility, but said the courts have tests to decide whether scientific evidence is valid.

Judges are in a better position to review evidence than lawmakers, Tyler said.

Even if legislators are well-intentioned, they're prone to cause unintended problems when writing laws for courts, Easley said.

"I think that the justice system takes care of itself," he said.