FAIRFIELD, Ohio - A new team of experienced search experts from around the country are converging in Fairfield to start up a new round of search efforts for a missing Fairfield college student.
Texas EquuSearch remains in command of the search effort for Katelyn Markham, but coordinators have recruited volunteers with search experience from Texas, Florida, and South Carolina to help serve as team leaders for this latest round of searching.
Markham was last seen on Aug. 13 by her fiance, John Carter. He reported her missing the next day when she did not show up at work and he found her car, purse and keys still at her townhome on Dorshire Drive in Fairfield.
The plan for the Thursday search is to utilize the experience from out-of-town experts to serve as team leaders for local volunteers. The plan is to search on foot, by horseback and ATV. Texas EquuSearch now also has sonar equipment to make it possible to search local ponds.
Volunteers arrived at Fairfield West Baptist Church on Muskopf Road Thursday morning to be assigned to a team for searching wooded areas and remote locations.
The biggest challenge for police and search coordinator is the total lack of evidence or clues pointing them in the direction to search for Markham.
Search coordinator Dave Rader, volunteer with Texas EquuSearch said, "In some cases, you're going to sit there and have that one direction that you need to concentrate and go, but in this case there are no boundaries. There are no boundaries to this case whatsoever, so you have to keep your grid going and make sure that you cover every piece of ground that is a viable spot."
The volunteer coordinators and leaders spend so many hours working on the actual search. They also invest more time just thinking about the case and wondering if teams are looking in the right places.
Rader added, "You get so attached to it, it becomes personal. You don't rest. You're thinking. You're constantly in motion. You get up at five in the morning. Your day isn't finished until 11 or 12 at night and you get up and you relive it the next day. But what's the price on a little bit of sleep to help an individual family out to find their loved one."
The cooler temperatures bring welcomed relief for the outdoor searching, but there are new challenges with muddy conditions. Another challenge with the weekend is the anniversary of 9/11. Search coordinators say they are being extra careful to make sure they get permission to search every area so they would avoid any unnecessary suspicion or concern.
Jeff Ruby is continuing his generosity for the effort. Last week he donated $10,000 to help fund the effort. On Thursday, his Jeff Ruby's restaurant provided lunch and salads for the volunteers.
Volunteers can return on Friday and Saturday morning to assist with the search. Volunteers must bring a photo ID and dress for muddy conditions with the recent rain.
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