Updated 04/16/2008 06:35 AM
Texas EquuSearch brings in sonar, drone planes for search
CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. - To the Texas EquuSearch team, Jaliek Rainwalker is case number 861. But he's more than a just number. The group's founder knows exactly what families of missing people go through.
Texas EquuSearch Director Tim Miller said, "One morning my own daughter disappeared. Police said she was a runaway. We couldn't get any help. We were paralyzed and didn't know what to do."
Seventeen months later, Tim's daughter Laurie was found dead. She had been murdered and left in a field just 2 1/2 miles from his home. Several years later, a family of another missing person contacted him, asking him for help.
"That moment is when I made a promise to Laurie and to God that I'd never leave a family alone," he said.
In 2000, Texas EquuSearch was founded. It's sole purpose is to help locate missing people, and while it started as a group of searchers mounted on horseback, it's become much more.
Greenwich-Cambridge Chief of Police George Bell said, "It's an additional set of tools to help look for Jaliek. It's a real positive thing."
Miller said, "On Jaliek's case, we're bringing in some people from a sheriff's department in Minnesota and their sonar equipment. We're bringing in a a drone place from Texas and ground crews from Atlanta."
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The services are free of charge. The group website lists hundreds of missing people, some of whom are still missing, and some of whom have been found with the help of Tim Miller and his team.
"We brought more than 260 alive and many would have been dead. As of two weeks ago, we recovered our 82nd victim. The only thing I regret now on Jaliek's case is that it's taken us so long to get here," said Miller.
But he said he hopes to make up for lost time with the resources he's bringing in. The drone plane may be flown in as early as this week.