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Friday
Oct102008

Another Look at the Jacquet Search

I was contacted at work about 0900 hours on Thursday, September 4, 2008 to deploy with my live-find dog to assist the Department in their search for a missing Forest Falls man. Tony Jacquet was last seen going on a hike with his German Shepherd Dog by neighbors on Monday, September 1, 2008. He was reported missing on Tuesday by one of his neighbors when they noticed his dog coming and going on her own, with no sign of her owner. Their neighbor was last seen walking with his dog east on Valley of the Falls Drive on Monday between 1300 and 1600 hours.

From Jacquet Search

 

We were briefed that Mr. Jacquet has a serious medical condition and takes medications daily. We were given his description of 35 years of age, 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds, has green eyes and curly brown hair, with a full beard and mustache. He was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt with green sleeves, tan colored shorts, and brown hiking shoes.

By Friday the request was made to bring human-remains-detection dogs out to the area. I was able to search again on Saturday and Sunday with my HRD dog. It is always a disappointment when the switch is made to bring out my HRD dog instead of my live-find dog. But there is always that slight chance, and strong hope, that the missing will still be located in time.

With the help of a tip from a TV news viewer that Saturday night, the Department was able to re-assess which area to deploy the teams first thing Sunday morning. As it happened, the viewer had run across Mr. Jacquet while hiking on Monday above Big Falls. The viewer said he was in the area when he heard Mr. Jacquet's dog barking up ahead. He assisted the dog over some rough terrain in order for her to reach her owner. He said that he recognized the dog on TV.

Many, many Department Teams were deployed over the weekend from handlers with their dogs, ground pounders, technical rope teams, aviation, etc. Unfortunately the search for Mr. Jacquet ended on Sunday when his body was located about 1050 hours in some very rugged terrain about one-half mile above Big Falls.

From Jacquet Search

After his body was located, some of us were in the staging area, watching 40-King move up and into the canyon to perform a hoist operation. Several of the S&R personnel at the scene were my teammates on the San Bernardino Mountain S&R Team, some from Valley of the Falls, and some from West Valley (I hope I am not leaving anyone out). Our team, the San Bernardino Mountain S&R Team, had recently taken the new helitac class for packaging patients for unattended litter hoists. 40-King delivered the litter to the ground team, and advised that they would leave the area until the ground crew was ready for hoist.

It was maybe five minutes, and the ground team called for 40-King to come back for the hoist. It was amazing to realize how quickly, professionally, and efficiently our people took care of Mr. Jacquet. The Coroner could not be lowered down to the site, so we were able to hear the radio traffic between the Coroner on 40-King and the ground team as they documented the scene. I'm pretty sure the SAR team at the scene had no idea they were going to have to go through all the documentation and examination of the subject that the Coroner's folks usually perform. Very eye-opening!

As Mr. Jacquet was being loaded into 40-King, the wind started picking up, the sky was quickly darkening, and a few drops of rain fell on us at the staging area. When we heard the radio traffic that the hoist was completed (in a very dangerous area, and at almost the hoist's full length), I was told by the Department's PIO that the family had requested a fly-by with their loved one on board. We could see 40-King circling the neighborhood a bit up canyon, and then 40-King came down the canyon to us at the staging area and circled twice. You could have heard a pin drop - not a word was spoken. The respect for the subject, the relief of the mission being over, was a bit overwhelming and very, very moving for everyone there. Just as 40-King was finishing its last fly by over us at staging, the rain suddenly poured down heavily for about five minutes, sending everyone running to close truck windows, grab equipment, and get under shelter. The rain made it possible for those of us who needed it to help hide some of the over-whelming emotion at the end of this extensive search/recovery.

The days that I was on deployment, the family was ever-present, walking along with his dog, watching, but never in our way. They often times reached out and thanked whichever team they were near to for all our hard work. They expressed that they will be forever grateful of the efforts everyone was putting forth to find their loved one. Even at the time the body was found, his uncle and cousin (with the dog) came through the staging area thanking and thanking and thanking all of us.

I again feel very honored to belong to the Sheriff's Department as a S&R Volunteer, being able to perform such an important service for my neighbors. I am also very grateful to be employed by a great group of people who support my S&R work.

 

From Jacquet Search

 

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