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Dogs aid search for missing man
At left, Darlene Griffith walks her dog Diesel, and Steven Tinsley walks his dog Thumper on Tuesday along Wingfield Orchard Road. They are members of Triad Bloodhounds, a nonprofit group from North Carolina that conducts searches for police agencies. They assisted locally in the search for Keith Fetter, who has been missing for six years. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
Five cadaver dogs searched in Henry County on Tuesday for the remains of a local man who has been missing for six years.
No trace of Keith Fetter was found in about 7 1/2 hours of searching, according to Henry County Sheriff’s Lt. C.E. Spence.
The five dogs searched in a three-quarter-mile radius of the intersection of Wingfield Orchard Road and Mathews Mill Road, as well as about 1.5 miles along the sides of both of those roads, Spence said.
That was the last place Fetter was seen, on May 24, 2008. He was agitated that day when he left the home of his estranged wife, Jennifer Fetter, with a friend and another couple, the family has said.
Jennifer and her daughter have said they saw the car he was in stop on the road and someone get in and out. Soon afterward, the others returned without Fetter and said he had jumped out of the car at the stop sign and run into the woods.
Since then, searches there, as well as the water near Philpott Dam, have failed to find Fetter.
But Spence said he still believes it is possible that Fetter is in that area.
“The area is so large and overgrown, it’s so hard to search with manpower and dog power because it’s such a vast area,” he said Tuesday. “We tried to do it (search with cadaver dogs) before it got so overgrown, but the weather kept hindering” the effort.
Even now, it is hard for a search dog to get a good scent in the heat, Spence said. Also, “it’s just a possibility that he may be outside the search perimeter but still in the same area.”
The five dogs that took part in the search Tuesday are trained to seek out decomposed human remains but not animal remains, Spence said. They are with the Triad Bloodhounds from North Carolina and the Blue & Gray Search Dogs Inc. from Virginia. The sheriff’s office does not have cadaver dogs, he said.
Both are private, volunteer organizations, according to Spence. The Triad Bloodhounds has worked on cases here before, he said, and he learned about the Blue & Gray and contacted it about helping with the Fetter case.
The Blue & Gray group also offered to return in the fall if necessary, said Spence, who jumped at the offer.
“They wanted to come down for the practice and said they would pay their expenses. I said we’ll supply what they need. The only thing it cost the county (Tuesday) was a few snacks and a meal for the people. They don’t charge the county,” Spence added.
About a dozen people helped with Tuesday’s search, he said.
The sheriff’s department will continue to look for Fetter, Spence said. “We’re trying to do our jobs and give the family closure,” he added.