Search Is On For Missing 66-Year-Old
Letitia Baxter disappeared in early August
ANCHORAGE - It has been more than a month since a 66-year-old woman disappeared from her sister's house in the Bootlegger's Cove area.
Monday, search crews and three specially trained dogs hit the trails in the Valley of the Moon area for clues of the missing woman.
Letitia Baxter went missing on August 3, but Monday was the first time that searches did a full “grid search.” The only problem was she went missing without a trace.
“We have descriptors that we are working with, our common sense,” said search and rescuer Howdie Rambur.
And they would have been searching the area on the weekend, but they had to wait for a break in the weather.
“We tried to come out yesterday, but as you know the wind and the rain and everything…” said Rambur. “It was too dangerous to have people in the woods.”
In the searching process, the three dog teams had to over come some unpredictable circumstances, like encountering campers.
“And you say it’s occupied? Over,” said Rambur, talking to the search crews. “Copy, it’s occupied. If you ask them will they let you look inside the tent?”
Police said Baxter often moved by the soles of her shoes, and frequented the trails – possibly running into unexpected company.
“There [are] a lot of camps back in there,” said Rambur “She could of had a misfortune running into to someone back there. Who knows?”
Now, it is up to the best-trained noses in the business to make sure that every part of the muddy terrain is checked.
Kia has been working toward becoming a certified search dog for three years, and although she isn’t certified, her team is confident in her. “She’s ready to go,” said volunteer Gerry Bering.
As humans search for clues, like a purse or piece of clothing, Kia is only focused on one thing. “She is what's called a cadaver dog,” said Bering. “H.R.D.: human remains detective.”
But anyone can help. “We would like the public to keep their eyes open,” said Rambur. “These bike trails and paths are walked by different people. If they smell something that’s not right, call the police. Don’t try and do something on your own.”
Search crews say Baxter’s family desperately needs closure. Her sister, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, hasn’t spoken since her sister disappeared.
The grid search at Valley of the Moon Park could continue for another four or five days.