by Travis Henderson
RMRU was asked by the Sheriff's Department to join the Riverside County Search Dogs in the search for a man that had not been seen since February 2004. His family last saw the man in February and they had not heard or seen from him since. In July his car was found abandoned at the South Fork Trailhead, otherwise known as the Mixing Station. It was known that the man had a history of mental illness and that he was distraught after the illness and passing of his father.
When his car was found at the trailhead the detectives asked us, and the dog team, to search the area around the parking lot for any sign that the man might have been there and/or was still there. After a 0600 briefing at the Sheriff's substation in Valle Vista we started our search at around 0645. We were starting early in the morning since we didn't want to be searching during the hottest part of a hot day. Also the dogs are most effective when the air temperature is cooler since any scent that might be there will rise above the dog's nose when it gets too warm. After a thorough search of the area surrounding the parking lot and the hills and gulleys nearby it was determined that the man was not there and the search was called off.
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