This is an inside view of a remarkable K9 search and rescue team operating in the wilds of Washington State whose “principal investigator” is a yellow lab named Keb. Keb’s story is of a dedicated K9 who can distinguish the scent of the dead from the scent of the living, and who can detect buried bones and even corpses underwater. Readers will follow this intrepid K9 and her teammates as they face the challenges of changeable weather, deep northwest forests, high mountain slopes, and menacing coyotes, to find dead bodies, missing hikers, and even the bones of murder victims from long ago. Among their successes: finding multiple victims buried by the 2014 Oso Landslide, solving the mysterious disappearance of women in wealthy suburbs, and finding human bones thought to be forever lost to time. It’s their story about evolving as search and rescue volunteers while overcoming harsh conditions, inner demons, and a rust-bound bureaucracy. This is a unique, first-hand visit into the little-known world of dedicated SAR volunteers who find their purpose while searching for the lost and the dead. It will also appeal to anyone fascinated by how rescue K9s are raised, trained, and deployed in service to law enforcement under difficult conditions.
Suzanne Elshult has been active in Search and Rescue (SAR) since 2001. She has held leadership positions with both the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue K9 Team and Everett Mountain Rescue. She and her K9 partners have deployed on hundreds of SAR missions, ranging from searches for missing and dead subjects in mountain and wilderness terrain, to avalanche and disaster searches, as well as urban searches. Suzanne has worked with K9 Keb since 2010. They have certified in Airscent, Human Remains Detection, Avalanche, and Disaster search techniques. Guy Mansfield, PhD has been active in Search and Rescue since 2008, with experience as a member of Everett Mountain Rescue, Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue K9 Team, and Cascadia Search Dogs. He has deployed on SAR missions ranging from wilderness searches, to technical rope-rescues, to disaster searches, to urban searches for abducted children. Guy has served as Operations Section Chief and Planning Section Chief on some of the largest searches in northwest Washington State, has assisted in the Green River Killer Case, and other homicide-related searches. He is currently a Director of the Washington State SAR Planning Unit.