FAIRFIELD, Ohio - Search organizers hope for a big turnout on Thursday for a massive search to find any clues in the disappearance of a missing Fairfield woman.
Texas EquuSearch, an organization known for its work in the search of missing people in high profile cases, has established a command center, in Fairfield, to help the community search for Katelyn Markham, 22.
Tim Miller, the agency's founder and director, met with fellow search team members and the Fairfield police on Wednesday morning to review maps and pinpoint locations for the search.
He established a command center at the Fairfield West Baptist Church on Muskopf Road in Fairfield. It is a short distance away from Markham's home on Dorshire Drive.
Miller says that churches are often the best places to use as a command center because they offer a lot of parking and have office space and equipment. He also hopes for a little divine inspiration to aid in the search effort.
Certainly volunteers wanting to walk through wooded areas are encouraged to spend the day searching, but others can also help in different ways. Miller said, "People that can't search, search your properties, bring food or water for the searchers. Let's bring this community together to go ahead for one reason and that's to bring Katelyn home."
Dave Rader, with Search Tactics and Rescue/Recovery or S.T.A.R.R Team is a tri-state resident. He is a big asset to Miller in the preparations for the search. He said before volunteers head out on Thursday, they will give them maps and instructions on how to search.
"Act like you're looking for a contact lense." commented Rader. "Something that is so small and minute and that's pretty much what you need to do. That's how much concentration you need to have to do this and do this in the right way."
The first organized search by Texas EquuSearch is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 1 at 8 a.m. Volunteers should meet at the church located at 5345 Muskopf Road in Fairfield.
Miller suggests people should dress appropriately with long sleeves and pants and sturdy shoes. People interested in helping with the search must be 18 years or older and must register with a photo ID. He suggests people should bring a sack lunch and enough water to last the entire day.
The organization operates with the support of fundraisers and private donations. Click here to get more information about the organization and details on how to donate.
Miller created EquuSearch 11 years ago and since then has assisted in more than 1,100 searches. The agency has found hundreds of survivors and brought closure to hundreds of families.
"When you hear that mother or father on the other end of the line and they're crying and saying, 'please help me,' how do you say no?" Miller said.
Miller says his motivation to help so many families comes from personal experience. In 1986, his 16-year-old daughter Laura went missing for 17 months. Her body was found two miles from Miller's home.
Miller says he met with several families in similar situations, and one meeting in particular changed his life forever.
"I remember meeting this one family, and I seen that look in their eyes of helplessness and hopelessness and fear," Miller said. "That's what I had to look like for 17 months. At that moment, I made a promise to God and to Laura. I'd never leave a family alone if there was anything I could do."
"The man has resources like you have no idea," Miller's colleague David Rader said on Monday. "Anywhere from side-scan Sonar to drones. He is well connected and if we need something, he will get it here."
Rader is a volunteer with Texas EquuSearch. He never knew Markham but says that's no reason not to help.
"There's some people that volunteer for different things," said Rader. "I would hope that if I had a family member that was missing that they would come out and help me."
Markham's family says any information leading Markham's discovery may result in a $25,000 reward.
He said while Fairfield police work on the investigation he'll work on the search.
"They're glad we're here and I think the two of us working together for the right reasons will hopefully come up with the results that are needed," said Miller.
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