how not to work with law enforcement.
this is NOT how to work with law enforcement if there were a live suspect this could have caused disaster in court
Authorities defend search - Cadaver dog handler critical of local efforts to find missing Anaconda woman
2013-02-26T01:15:00Z Authorities defend search - Cadaver dog handler critical of local efforts to find missing Anaconda womanBy John Grant Emeigh of The Montana Standard Montana Standard
February 26, 2013 1:15 am • By John Grant Emeigh of The Montana Standard
Authorities who searched for the remains of a missing Anaconda woman at the Butte landfill say a highly critical report filed by a private investigator misrepresented their investigation.
John Strandell of the Montana Department of Justice told The Montana Standard Monday the report filed by Wendy Kessinger that criticized the search team’s investigation is inaccurate.
Kessinger, of New Mexico, brought her two cadaver dogs to Butte earlier this month to search the landfill for the remains of 41-year-old Tammy Salle, who has been missing since December.
Kessinger, who participated in the search at the request of the missing woman’s family, released a report Friday that criticized searchers. Kessinger told The Montana Standard that she believed Anaconda police and Justice Department officials weren’t cooperative with her and botched potential evidence at the scene.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Kessinger said.
The dog handler said her dogs gave solid “alerts” during the search, which means they detected human remains. However, she claims investigators didn’t make an effort to dig up the evidence and they even damaged possible evidence by rolling over it with earthmovers.
“I told them, ‘you just really (expletive) this up,’” Kessinger said.
Kessinger said she found “flesh” and a bloody stick at the scene, and that investigators dismissed these findings by not inspecting them further.
Strandell said Monday that Kessinger’s claims are inaccurate and unfair. He said investigators checked all the spots the dogs alerted and they ran tests on all the items and tissues they found at the site. None of the tissue items was human. Searchers included agents with the justice department, Anaconda and Butte police and troopers from the Montana Highway Patrol.
“We feel the search was thorough and we’re confident she (Salle) is not there,” Strandell said.
Strandell said his office will continue to follow leads and search other areas for the missing woman. He added that he is confident Salle’s body will be found.
Salle’s older sister, Christina Hagen, told the Standard last week that she is frustrated by Kessinger’s report. She said she isn’t confident with the Anaconda Police Department’s investigation.
Hagen, who lives in Bonnie Lake, Wash., said she is grateful for Kessinger’s efforts. Salle’s family paid for Kessinger’s flight to Montana, but Kessinger did the search without charging the family.
“I think she’s incredible,” Hagen said about Kessinger.
Strandell said his office has been in contact with the family since Kessinger’s report was released. He assured them that his office and police are making every effort to find Salle.
Strandell added that it is unfortunate that Kessinger released such a disparaging report.
“It caused undo distress and duress to the family,” he said.
Anaconda police and other authorities spent about two weeks searching the landfill in early February, but found no clues. They went through about 400 tons of garbage. Authorities focused the search where Anaconda trash is dumped after an Anaconda sanitation worker reported dumping an unusually heavy trash bin.
After family first reported Salle missing on Dec. 26, officers questioned her boyfriend, who told police they had a fight three days earlier. He told police she left in a 2009 Pontiac Grand Prix, which was later found on a frontage road south of Deer Lodge with a shredded tire.
Authorities found Goldberg, 38, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his pickup at a truck stop west of Missoula on Dec. 29. His suicide note gave no indication of Salle’s whereabouts.
see below link where body was found in a river........
Body believed to be Tammy Salle's found in Clark Fork River
A woman’s decomposed body found Saturday in the Clark Fork River south of Deer Lodge has tattoos that match those of Tammy Salle, who has been missing since late December, Anaconda Chief of Police Tim Barkell said.
The chief said a fisherman reported seeing a body hung up in a shallow area in the middle of the river, along Interstate 90, about 10 miles south of Deer Lodge, near Galen.
The call came in at 2:42 p.m. Saturday, he said.
The chief said authorities could not confirm that the body is that of Tammy Salle. The remains will be sent to the state crime lab in Missoula for that to be determined.
However, though the body had decomposed, Barkell said tattoos could be identified, and that they matched those of Salle.
Barkell said investigators suspect the body, which is intact, was dumped upstream and snagged on the shallow area.
The discovery is the latest chapter in the suspicious disappearance of Salle, 41, of Anaconda. She was last seen Dec. 23, 2012. Her family reported her missing on Dec. 26.
Salle and her boyfriend, John Goldberg, had lived together at 506 Hickory St. in Anaconda. They had an argument Dec. 23, police were told.
On Dec. 28, a sheriff’s deputy found an abandoned 2008 Grand Prix — which she reportedly had been driving — on a frontage road near the Racetrack interchange, south of Deer Lodge near Interstate 90. One of the tires was “shredded” like it had a blowout, Barkell had said.
The vehicle was owned by Goldberg, 38. Authorities had been trying to find Goldberg to question him.
On Dec. 29, authorities found Goldberg dead in his 2010 GMC pickup truck parked at a truck stop west of Missoula, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It was believed he had been dead for more than a day. He had left a four-page suicide note, but it contained no information as to Salle’s whereabouts.
Since that time, law enforcement and volunteers continued to search for Salle.
In the most recent effort, police and others spent two weeks combing through an estimated 400 tons of debris in the Butte-Silver Bow County landfill. They searched in the area of the landfill where Anaconda trash is deposited.
That search started Jan. 28 after investigators received a tip from an Anaconda sanitation worker who told police he picked up an unusually heavy trash receptacle on Dec. 24. This heavy trash bin was found in an area of other bins where police found bloody towels and rugs believed to be connected to Salle’s disappearance.
Barkell decided to end the landfill search because searchers had gotten down to the level where the discarded mail is dated back to October. Since Salle went missing in December, it was unlikely her body would be found at this level, Barkell told The Montana Standard.
Barkell told the Standard Saturday afternoon that he had no other information to release at that time on the found body.
Read more: Body believed to be Tammy Salle's found in Clark Fork River
Agree Renee, not appropriate info to release.
The victims family must have been frustrated with progress? Did they hire a PI to help? Curious on how often lay people with a trained dog get involved in these searches? Do they help or hurt the situation?
that poor family defended her on their facebook page. How heartwrenching for them. dogs false alert. handlers inadvertently cue dogs etc. NO 100%. to accuse law enforcement of lying?? when what her dog alerted on was tested as NOT human? the family suffers as does the civilians who handle dogs and do it right.
Most cadaver dog handlers in this country are civilians. few of we cops handle. just a few of us. this certainly will not help departments call.
First I would say I agree that this whole fiasco has been a terrible stain on those who are trying to serve properly, under the control of law enforcement and reporting to them through a chain of command, doing everything to preserve their trust.
I also can't even begin to imagine the logic of running a dog through a landfill. Too much odor already present, too much danger for dog and handler alike.
We have a group a few hours from us that goes to the families, gets funds to help support the mission, and sometimes makes finds. They have enlisted the help of competent and certified dog handlers. Sometimes in areas where we have searched and told police that we felt an area needed further detailed searching based on observations made during the initial search (typically talking about OLD stuff here not putting out a lot of odor such as dry scattered bones)... When they are private lands, we are not going to go back and search without direct oversight by LE.
I can see the side where LE does not have the resources to spend extended periods searching for a body when they are constantly understaffed and have competing priorities. Folks like this handler and others force a shift in their priorities because they push on the family and the press etc. and place their goals above the needs of the community as a whole because they are diverting police who might not "be there" to stop a crime, pull over a reckless driver, look for a missing live person, etc.
On the other hand, we all want closure, we all want answers and I can understand the family grabbing at straws and the frustration of cases not getting all the attention they would like to see. We really can't fault them for working with these folks.
Really don't know what the answer is. We struggle with it and have agreed we will do nothing without the request coming directly from LE and have always diverted family members who call us to them and leave the "convincing" part to them.
Well, first handlers should be honest with family and law enforcement. the dog is but a tool. And NOT an infallible tool. Civilians also need to understand that if law enforcement is sometimes cool on a location it may be that they have intel that there are not about to share with civilians and do not want to waste manpower on a fantasy. Secondly, stay away from the press. Do the job and go. You are correct. do not deploy for anyone other than law enforcement. First of all cannot without a search warrant or property owner's permission unless it is an area that all public has access to. Families are always desperate to find their loved ones. Very important to not act like the white knight coming in to save the day. Again, dogs are NOT 100% One never never advocates that especially on an alert that is not visibly recognizable as a target odor. And nobody can find where or if or when these dogs were nationally certified. It matters. Dogs can certainly still be wrong but that is a necessity for court later on if nothing else
That woman made a HUGE fool of herself!
yep. and sucked that poor family in with her instead of staying objective at least for their sakes :(
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