Talk:Search and rescue/SAR mission 2008 01

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Q's about the subject[edit]

Here are some useful details that could be added to the Subject section. Most are clues.

Physical description of the subject? What was he wearing? Colors? Physical description of the bike? Color? Chrome? Rear basket? Horn or bell? Shiny new, or new used? Other accessories? Pedal bike, not gas powered? When last seen, did he have anything in the basket? Did he buy anything at the fast food restaurant? If he did, what would he normally have done with the wrappers? Eg, put them in a trash can, toss them on the ground, leave them in the bike basket?

Health profile? Was he on medications? This information is important because lack of medications can mean he becomes more active than usual for him, or less active.

At the point last seen, was he seen by someone who knew him? Can this person fill in details re the PLS?

A relative said that a woman who lives across from the cemetery on the north/southroad saw the subject walking his trike up the hill at the cemetery location. He was reported to be at the cemetery hill on Thursday, the day after he was reported missing. If this report is correct, he may have gone home and not been seen on Wednesday night, or he may have been away from home overnight at that point. The same relative said that he had eaten at the Burger King on Wed. as he did often. Being on the cemetery hill would be consistent with the tracking dog's route.Laguyon 22:55, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

A local discussion group called Streatoronline had an entry saying that the subject had been seen in Ottawa the morning of October 16th (Thurs.) He was at the Wendy's fast food. He was on his trike. People went to Ottawa to search, but he has still not been found.

--Una Smith 05:30, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Q's about the subject's mental state. Does not always oriented mean wandering? Did he sometimes exhibit sundowning? Did he have clinical dementia? Dementia with hallucinations equals psychosis; did he have psychosis due to his epilepsy? Was he taking any over the counter drugs that could have a psychoactive effect? What had the weather been like before he went missing? Would Sept 24th have been a good day for gathering mushrooms? If he found mushrooms, what would he normally do with them? What were his plans for that day? --Una Smith 05:51, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Wandering and sundowning together are important because they make it far more likely that he would have continued moving at night. --Una Smith 21:03, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I see he was wearing a tan plaid shirt and jeans. How about shoes? If his shoes can be identified then it may be possible to get a sample of his shoe tread, for tracking. Also, people lost in the woods have a special power to lose their shoes. More possible clues. --Una Smith 21:03, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

One problem is the lack of knowledge about what he was doing or even his medical/physical condition. Due to increasing non-social behavior (failure to clean clothing and himself), he had less contact with his family. 02:03, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

That's pretty normal, and okay. All we can do is think up what information might be useful, ask for it, and see what we get.

The missing trike[edit]

Is the found old trike the same style and color as the new, missing one? Can we get a photo of it to help give search teams a clear "search image". Also, horses' eyes are very sensitive to blue (think "scary blue tarp"), so could be of special use in this mission. Search horses could even be given a quickie training on the old trike, to give them a search image too. Say "search", approach bike, give horse praise and a treat. Esp good if same color. What kind of treads do the wheels have? Maybe they left tracks. 3 weeks is a long time for tracks to persist, but it can happen. Can the old trike be used as a model? Did the new trike come from a local shop that has more of the same? Consider also that the subject might be in a corn field, but the trike wouldn't fit between the rows, right? So if we assume for planning purposes he is in a corn field then we can look for his bike not in a corn field. --Una Smith 21:03, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

The new trike is like the old one. It is a good idea to use it as a model for searchers. I doubt that has been done. There are very few people in town who use such a trike on a regular basis. This man had no driver's license so used the trike. There is another man in town who looks similar and rides a trike. However, this man has a ponytail hair style and wears an orange hat. He has been stopped many times in the last week as people inquire who he is. 02:03, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Spontaneous volunteer searchers with no experience usually do have a search image of the subject in a familiar context. So they look for someone who is upright, responsive, moving. A more experienced searcher looks for clues: tracks, items of clothing, objects.

The probability of the trike being in a corn field is not great. The rows are close together but you can walk between them. It would be difficult to take the trike between the rows. The corn leaves cut and make it unlikely anyone would choose to walk through the fields. There is generally a wide area around the field that might be negotiated on the trike, but it would be a difficult path. 02:03, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree. --Una Smith 02:34, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

By now the tacks of the bike may have been washed out by rains. Some looking for tacks had been done in the Spring Lake area, but none were found. The looking for tracks should be continued as some may have survived if the trike were in a wet area. The three wheel configuration should be easy to distinguish from other bikes or types of tracks. 02:03, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Trike brand name? Try find a match on the web. --Una Smith 01:37, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Q's about the area[edit]

This step requires a map. Do you have one handy? --Una Smith 05:30, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Am working on getting a more detailed map of the area. The area north west of Streator has been considered a high probability area for search activity. 02:03, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Got a scanner or digital camera? Scan a printed local topo or road map? The TIGER map tool is here. --Una Smith 02:28, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Think about routes. If on his trike, there are places he cannot go. So either he stays on it, and goes where it can go, or at some point he gets off. The trike may be found at that point. Think about routes and the track followed by the dog; was that track a possible trike route, or only a man on foot route? Did it cross fences, walls, ditches, steps, or other trike barriers? Also, Kangley is about 3 bird miles from Streator. Did the dog track 5 miles, or did the dog track 5+x miles to a point 5 bird miles from the PLS? Either way, that track was long; too bad someone didn't bring in a second dog to try to "cut sign" alongside the road where the first dog stopped. --Una Smith 02:28, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

The dog comes from Ottawa about 20 miles away --- half an hour. It tracked north on North Bloomington Street, to west on Oakley Ave, north on cemetery road , and left(west) on Richard's road(N 17th rd). Then after going about a mile and a quarter on N 17th, the dog lost the scent. Laguyon 00:43, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
That dog did do a long search. It is probably the only dog around for miles. Yes, a second dog might have picked up something. How long might you expect a dog to be able to catch the scent? I have heard two weeks. We are at three weeks this Wed.(Oct 15).
I don't know. Some handlers claim weeks or months, or even longer, but most handlers I talk to say no way. --Una Smith 04:07, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
One thing to keep in mind is that the dog was not necessarily following the subject's track. Accept that as a working premise, but only one of several. Another premise would be that the dog track is a totally false lead. If the dog handler was told about the subject's prior adventures heading northwest on a trike, then I would be very dubious about the dog track. --Una Smith 04:07, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

We're about ready to move on to the next step, but first I have some Q's about the trip to Princeton. Was that a disoriented elopement, or did he have a specific, rational reason to go there? Does he have a reason to travel northwest from Streator, or were the Princeton and trike in ravine incidents selected from among others? About where does he live? Did he use to live anywhere else? --Una Smith 04:07, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

From what I know, he grew up around the Streator area. His family did not seem to be clear on why he went to Princeton. Currently he lives in downtown Streator near the police station. This would be someplace near the corner of Bridge and Bloomington Streets.Laguyon 05:24, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Where exactly did he grow up? People with some types of dementia "forget" their adult selves and return to habits of their youth. Sometimes they also go or try to go where they lived in their youth. A book on my to read list is Urban Search: Managing Missing Person Searches in the Urban Environment (ISBN 9781879471382). --Una Smith 06:06, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Interesting! He grew up here in town someplace. I think that some of the family still lives in the house,from what they said. In that case, if he were near that house, somebody should have found him.Laguyon 00:43, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
For some reason the family thought he might have gone to the grave of his x-wife who was the father of his children. The area of the cemetery was searched.Laguyon 05:24, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
The cemetery is also on the northwest side of town out of the city limits. About a 1/2 mile off Oakley Ave. to the north.Laguyon 05:24, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

I am interested in the possibility that the dog trail may have been bogus. That would open up the search area even greater.Laguyon 05:24, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

The dog could have been following no trail or a false trail. Do you know the dog and handler? Are they reliable? --Una Smith 16:17, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I have no knowledge of the dog or handler. We did have a dog in town, but have not had one for many years now. I knew Toby and his handler well but have not had contact with any of the local dogs from that time. The dog competency is really important in this case. Laguyon 00:43, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
One of the online news sites says there were two dogs involved, one a bloodhound from Joliet PD. --Una Smith 02:52, 15 October 2008 (UTC) I was not around when the first dog tracking was done and have no knowledge of the second dog. Joliet is over an hour by car from Streator, so that dog was imported some distance. The only dog I saw was the one from Ottawa that was called the night they found the trike in the ravine. It is good to know that there are two dogs available. 03:31, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
The dog could have been following the subject's back trail. Is Aldi a grocery store? Is that where he would go to sell aluminum cans? --Una Smith 16:17, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Aldi's is a grocery store. He would not sell cans there.Laguyon 00:43, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Some grocery stores have machines where you deposit cans and bottles and get cash back. This Aldi isn't one of those? If the subject often collects cans, where does he go to sell them? --Una Smith 02:52, 15 October 2008 (UTC)Most people go to to a recycle place near downtown Streator to get money from cans. I do not know if he had places in town where he collected cans or if he got most of his from the roadsides outside of town. 03:31, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
The relative locations of the Burger King and Aldi, and the times he was seen there, establish a direction of travel. So if that information was correct the dog presumably did track in the subject's direction of travel. A subject on bicycle is a little different from the usual wilderness case where someone is tracked from a vehicle at a trailhead; there, the subject's scent trail would have a definite origin and thus a solid direction of travel. --Una Smith 02:52, 15 October 2008 (UTC) One family member said something about his being seen north of town. I do not know who saw him or where he might have been reported to have been. 03:31, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

I asked the family if there was a possibility that he might be an evader. They say he may be. He did not want the family telling him that he had to take his medication. Laguyon 05:24, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Has anyone walked the most likely paths and asked people about him? Geo.plrd 01:36, 16 October 2008 (UTC) I do not know what the family, searchers, or the police have done about interviews with people who may have seen him. 04:34, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
What about homeless shelters? Geo.plrd 07:30, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

PLS and direction of travel[edit]

The Aldi and Burger King both are on North Bloomington Street. Per the web, the Aldi is in the 1700 block. Media reports state the PLS was in the 2100 block of North Bloomington Street, but on the web I don't find a Burger King there. I do find a Burger King in the 1600 and 1800 blocks. The location of the PLS (Burger King) needs to be re-confirmed, because it relates to the subject's direction of travel. --Una Smith 16:30, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

The Burger King is on North Bloomington Street but for some strange reason has an address of 106 Northpoint Drive. Burger King is north of Aldi's. The dog tracked northward.Laguyon 00:43, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Is this BK on a corner? --Una Smith 02:58, 15 October 2008 (UTC) Burger King is on a corner but it faces North Bloomington Street. Therefore the address is strange. 03:31, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

One family member said that his father liked to take the "back roads." That is where the dog said he went. Laguyon 00:43, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Of course. He was on a bike. Do any roads in the area have bike lanes? --Una Smith 02:58, 15 October 2008 (UTC) There are no bike lanes anywhere around Streator. People ride on sidewalks or streets in town and on roads in the country. 03:31, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Okay, the direction of travel is likely north, if the information is correct that he was at Aldi first, then BK. But evidence is not proof, so we factor this into POAs but don't assign zero POA to areas south of the PLS. --Una Smith 02:58, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Now we have a map showing the search dog's track: Image:DOG TRAINING TRAIL II.JPG. The track looks very purposeful. If that is the subject's route, and if the direction of travel is north, then the highest POA is in the NW corner of Bruce Township. If the direction of travel is south, the highest POA is in Streator in the neighborhood around the subject's home. --Una Smith 22:01, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Maybe the dog hit a spur in the trail west of East 15th Road. Say the subject passed E 15 heading west, changed his mind, and turned back and north onto East 15th Rd. The subject could have been heading for the nature preserve, or trying to go around the nature preserve. In the latter case, maybe he was heading again for Princeton. --Una Smith 22:35, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

A realtive said that a woman saw the subject on the cemetery road hill pushing his bike uphill (north) on Thurs. the day after he was reported missing. If this is correct, he may have gone home undetected on Wed. night or been out all night. The same relative said that he ate at Burger King on Wed. as he often did.Laguyon 22:55, 19 October 2008 (UTC)


USGS topo maps for Illinois are here. --Una Smith 03:10, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

I updated the vicinity topo map to extend several miles farther out than before. That map show natural barriers (Vermillion River and its tributaries), terrain that is likely to be difficult to pass through (hence a barrier), and natural attractions. One jumps off the map: the Sandy Ford Nature Preserve! The other map, showing properties, makes me wonder if the subject had a friend living out there in the bend of the river south of Sandy Ford Nature Preserve. --Una Smith 21:34, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Subject found[edit]

That swath of bottomland is directly across the Vermillion River from Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetary? Yes.Laguyon 09:58, 25 October 2008 (UTC) Is that cemetary the one where his wife is? I think the Cemetary is where the where the x-wife is.Laguyon 09:58, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

So either the dog was faking it, or the handler had a theory about where the man went and influenced the dog, or the dog followed the subject's back trail, which was initially overlaid by the subject's forward trail. --Una Smith 15:44, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Trike and subject were found in the same cornrow. The trike was found north of the subject and 15 feet south of a band of dense brush along the river bank? Yes. Laguyon 10:19, 25 October 2008 (UTC) Which way was the trike facing, north or south? Northeast. Laguyon 10:19, 25 October 2008 (UTC) If north, the idea I get is that the man worked his trike from south to north up the cornrow but then was unable to turn it around to go back. So as before when the trike got stuck somewhere, he left it and started home on foot. --Una Smith 15:51, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

The man seems to have been traveling east along the river on the south side of the river. When he went into the corn field, it was to get around a tree that was across the path of travel. He went about 15 feet south into the field and then turned northeast in an attempt to get back on the trail along the river. He was not able to get the trike through the corn and left it facing northeast. He then walked south down the corn row.Laguyon 09:58, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

It is still undetermined how the man got his trike into the area. There are two possible ways. The first is by entering the field area from N 1559 Road and the second by entering the river area at a dead end road north of 1559 Road ( N 1509 RD) and then traveling along the river. Either way would require a great deal of strength to push or ride the trike either along the river or around the corn field.Laguyon 10:19, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Searchers had searched the general area but had not gone far enough into the corn field area. They had concentrated on wooded areas around the corn field. It was believed that the man could not have gotten the trike to the place where it was found.Laguyon 10:19, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Following the recovery, a reliable source, who works for the power company, said that while working in the area of the recovery, he saw the subject on his trike. This sighting was the day prior (Tues) to the subject being reported missing (Wed). The power company employee does not live in the Streator area and may not have seen or heard the media accounts of the missing person, therefore not reporting the sighting. If this account is correct the subject may have been in the area two days in a row.Laguyon 05:15, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

The cause of death is still being investigated.Laguyon 05:15, 25 October 2008 (UTC)