Missing since March 7, 2009, the remains of Laura Pickard
44 of Whitesboro, are believed to have been found by Eagle Valley Search Dogs
on Saturday.http://www.uticaod.com/features/x169624 ... le-remainsRemains found in Marcy most likely of missing Whitesboro woman, relatives say
By LISA KAPPS and COURTNEY POTTS
Posted Oct 30, 2010 @ 12:33 PM
Last update Oct 30, 2010 @ 07:55 PM
MARCY — More than a year after Laura Pickard of Whitesboro went missing in March 2009, her brother Stephen Frantz was watching the news when he saw a story about search dogs finding the remains of a missing woman in the Mohawk Valley.
For a split second, the Greensboro, N.C., resident thought they were talking about his sister.
The story, as it turned out, was about another missing woman. But it led the family to contact Eagle Valley Search Dogs, and that in turn led to the discovery of human remains in Marcy on Saturday that the family believes to be Pickard.Eagle Valley Search Dogs Vice President Katie Danzig said her volunteer team of dog handlers uncovered the remains at about 11 a.m. while searching a wooded area near the Barge Canal off of Mohawk Street, which connects Whitesboro and Marcy.
The discovery later was confirmed by state police, and the remains were sent to a state police lab for identification, Lt. Todd Stratton said.Danzig and Ferrusi said that clothing, specifically sneakers, found on the remains matched what 44-year-old Pickard was wearing when she was last seen on March 7, 2009.
“They’re confident that it is Laura,” Ferrusi said Saturday afternoon. “Of course, we have to get scientific proof by matching the DNA … but everything is consistent that it is her.”
Ferrusi also said she was grateful to the Whitesboro Police Department and the state police for their work on the case during the last year, and to the Eagle Valley Search Dogs, because “without them being out here we would still be wondering.”The group had planned to search over the course of two days, and to return in the spring if necessary, but found the remains after only one hour Saturday morning,
State police and Whitesboro police were at the scene most of the day Saturday as the state police Forensic Investigation Unit examined the site.
Whitesboro police Chief Dominick Hiffa said the searchers were “a fantastic bunch of people” and he wouldn’t mind working with them again if needed.Eagle Valley Search Dogs, based in Hancock also was responsible for finding the remains of 44-year-old Lisa Bawolak of Herkimer in August.
Like Bawolak, Pickard was being treated for mental illness at the time of her disappearance.
Police last year said Pickard was last seen leaving her community home residence on Main Street headed toward Dunham Public Library in Whitesboro, about a mile away from where the remains were found.
Police and family members searched for Pickard for months, but never learned of her whereabouts.Rita Argiros, president of Eagle Valley Search Dogs, said the group has studied “lost person behavior” and has learned to search in areas that are in between where a missing person lives and places he or she frequented.
In this case, Pickard lived in Whitesboro and frequented Dunkin’ Donuts on River Road in Marcy.
The group has participated in an average of 12 to 14 searches each year since 2006. Argiros said often they assist simply by establishing that a person or remains are not in a specific area. But that the specially trained dogs are particularly well-suited for finding unresponsive subjects.
Dog handler Sue Lavoie and her dog Summer found the remains Saturday. Lavoie and Summer were one of eight teams searching the area, which was divided into grids for each team.