On the Memorial

Entries in Barstow DRS (5)


SAR City 2015

SAR City is coming up October 9-11, 2015. For more information, visit Download the flyer to pass around and post.


Talk About a Hot Evidence Search

View Evidence Search near Zzyzx Rd. in a larger map

It's Saturday afternoon, 1600 and its 104 degrees in the shade in Barstow. A request for the Barstow Desert Rescue Squad comes in for a hasty team to assist in an investigation this side of Baker. 

An hour later we hit the Zzyzx exit with the temperature  now over 112.  The quads are unloaded and a grid search is started to the North.  A typical off-the-freeway-dump-your-trash location, and some remains of an old highway.  The search area consists of washes, hills and a unique sandy area with waist high weeds.  After hours of searching some items were located that will hopefully be helpful in the investigation. 

Read the press release for this incident.


Search in the Mojave Preserve (7/7/2010)

On July 7, 2010 at about 3:30am, the Barstow Desert Rescue Squad got a call for a 26 year old male who had gotten his Toyota Yaris stuck somewhere in the Mojave National Preserve. He has no idea where he is. He has abandoned his vehicle and is walking North with no water and no food.

View Mojave Preserve Search (7/7/2010) in a larger map

Click to read more ...


Tracking Mary Jo Blevins

We got the call about the search the night before. Jim Riley and I (both of the Barstow Desert Rescue Squad) made plans to participate in the search. We were one of the last to arrive and most of the other teams had been given their assignments. Within 10 minutes the command post had an assignment for us. The command post did an excellent job. We rode our quads to our assigned area and started our seach. We had been briefed to disregard all tracks because the victim's family had walked all over and disturbed the area.

About 10 mintues into our search I found a set of tracks. The tracks had a 12 inch stride and were shallow, which matched the description of the victim. We were told she was a small women and didn't weigh very much. The tracks showed drag marks, which told me this person was in distress. They were very difficult tracks to read, there wasn't any tread pattern and the track indicated a 12 inch print which did not match up to the victim. We knew that whoever these tracks belonged to, they were in trouble so we  kept on following them. After we had followed the tracks for about a half mile, two deputies joined up with us to see what we had. One of the deputies told us that the victim might be wearing her husbands house slippers. That would explain the descrepancy in the size of the print. That confirmed what we felt, we were on her track.

The tracks were very difficult to find without any tread pattern. I would stay on the last track we had,sometimes on my hands and knees. Jim would take his quad and go up to the next sand wash and jump track. We had to be very careful as we also ran into three rattlesnakes while following her tracks. After we tracked her for about 2-1/2 miles, 40K came in and we pointed them in the direction of travel. Within about 15 to 20 minutes, 40K found our victim under a bush. Unfortunately, she was deceased. Tracking someone wearing house slippers with no tread pattern was some of the toughest tracking we have done. This search reinforces that you have to keep your mind open to all possibilites and follow through. This was one of the best run searches I have participated in during my 17-1/2 years with search and rescue. I just wish the outcome had been better.


Red Dog Mine Nov 14, 2009

Approximately five years ago, April Pitzer boarded a bus headed home. She was never heard from again. A recent lead indicated that Red Dog Mine, south of Ludlow, CA would be a good place to search. The mine had been searched previously by Barstow Desert Rescue Squad, so this time the dog team was called to assist. The Barstow DRS and Cave Team worked together getting the dogs into the main shaft, while Kern and Los Angeles Counties worked on nearby shafts. Before the end of the day, the mine and two nearby shafts were thoroughly searched by humans and dogs. No remains were found.

This mission was especially interesting in that the dogs and handlers were inserted into the mine on rope. The video above illustrates the process, and the terrific training of the dogs. Toward the end of the mission,  on his way out, Matt Truitt, of the Cave Team, located an additional tunnel that had not been previously mentioned. The mine owner was on hand, and he wasn't aware of a fourth level. The maps that we had on scene only showed three levels. Matt and James, a member of the mine team, carefully searched this additional level.

Meanwhile above ground, a call was received indicating that human bones were found near Kelbaker road, so the Dog Team and Barstow DRS were released to search that site. Before exiting the mine, members of the Cave Team performed a line survey of the mine.