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Here are our search tracks for anyone interested in going out there to help find her. If you do go out there, make sure you are prepared as you WILL BE ON YOUR OWN! 

Vital Statistics: Overweight smoker and not a hiker. 

Vickie got stuck on the rocks in trinity canyon and attempted to free herself. She called 911 and two towing companies according to her family, but the Pershing County Sheriff Department did not send out search and rescue and the tow trucks would not help her as she was out of money. Her vehicle was located months later by a hunter. 

 

vickie-day-5-112219-91836-am.kml vickie-search-day-3-112119-125835-pm.kml vickie-hike-day-6-112319-94305-am.kml vickie-day-1-111819-10313-pm.kml vickie-day-6-road-hike-112319-10557-pm.kml vickie-day-5-112219-91836-am (1).kml

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Can you repost the coordinates for her car?  I want to first call that the Last Known Point and plot out the median find distance for a subject of her type.  We call this the IPP - Initial Planning Point.

I know you found clues (cigarette butts), so that could move the IPP to that new location, assuming you're 100% certain as to the brand being correct and associated directly with the subject.  If not, it's worth considering, but not (yet) worth moving the IPP.

On another related topic, we should dive into your search methods.  A trail run is a one tactic in a hasty (effectively a 'reflex task') search.  But it seems like you're combining reflex tasks with other methods, e.g. grid searches.  It's hard to tell from the videos what your distances are between searchers, but have you considered the critical separation distance (largely determined by terrain and vegetation, and also by the skill and ability of the searcher)?  You could have walked past her if there was too much distance, which drops the Probability of Detection to near zero (and we've not yet gotten to Probability of Area, yet).

I'm trying to work this out in my head, but it's getting a little disorganized.  I think for where you are looking, the Probability of Area is high, but your Probability of Detection is low (<50% for an unresponsive subject).  

Something else I did not previously consider is that subjects are very likely to move at night, especially in what we refer to as a 'dry domain', like this area.  Depending on how she was equipped, she may have moved towards light at night (I think this was suggested previously), and possibly not the 'correct' lights.  

Finally, I'm struggling with how to classify her as a subject.  Certainly she was mentally ill, but if she was free of negative symptoms, it may be wrong to classify her that way.  Like I said before, I'm still working on this.  Mostly trying to organize myself as I try to draw up a search plan.  Lots of work, which is why there is usually a team of people involved (and a lot more information, too).

 

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Sorry, I forgot to include the coordinates. Here are the coordinate: 40.33479, -118.51088

We were about 10 yards apart, five of us (not counting my youngest who just followed my path). In the future we are going to get a second phone with Gaia and make sure we track the two outside searchers. 

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So here's the test.  If you want to go with a 10 yard distance, walk 5 yards, and place an object between you.  It should be representative of what you might find - a backpack, a hat, an item of clothing, etc.  

Then, run your pattern.  Can both of you see it?  Yes, OK, that's a good sign.  No?  You need to close up the distance.  Since you're looking for a body, 10 yards might be OK.  It's a tough call.  

In terms of the grids, it's better to set those up before you go out, with them plotted into a GPS.  That way you just follow the 'arrow' and maintain your grid.  But again, too much going on here.  I'm trying to internalize and conceptualize the jobs of an entire overhead (OH) staff.  It's a little more daunting than I anticipated. :)

 

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Hrm.  After plotting the KML files and drawing a 1.6 mi. circle from there, your tracks show what we call scenario lock - you assume she went back the way she came.  That does have the highest probability of being correct.  But don't let it negative the less-obvious.  

I'm going to continue studying the map for likely decision points and if she was lost, areas she might have direction-sampled or route sampled.  

What a mess. :)

 

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What's interesting is when I met up with the Humboldt County Sheriff Detective for the Carnes case, he said it was his friend who found Kirkwoods remains. The interesting part was that he said he was partially skeletal, but mainly intact. I was figuring that since the environment there is identical, most likely she would still be in intact, but of course that depends on the wildlife in the area. 

There are a lot of mine tunnels in the area, and it gets to around 100 degrees when she was missing, what's your take on the possibility she entered into a mine tunnel to get out of the heat? 

According to the hunter who found her, there was still two bottles of water and some old food in the car, mostly fruit. There was a spot right next to where her car was found that had a bunch of cigarette butts like she sat there a while contemplating what to do. 

When we searched, we went of a few theories. The first theory was that she tried to go back the way she came, so we followed the roads back to town. (Her family thinks she is out there in the flat areas). We focused on the roads and any washes / drainage ditches. There were a few mine tunnels I didn't enter due to lack of safety gear. The next theory was she tried to go straight to Lovelock, not following any roads. The last theory was she went to the highest peak she could in hopes to see anyone who may be coming to find her. 

I feel if she did walk down the road she came, she probably could have gotten pretty far. It's a pretty easy stroll down the road and out of the valley. There is even a spring and water running across the road where the canyon she was in meets up with Trinity road. If she made it there, she could have gotten some water and continued on. There are some shade trees in that area too, but we didn't hike back up Trinity Canyon, we just drove up the road as far as we could and turned around. 

If it were dark, the prison would have been a major beacon of light, so she may have gone that way. I sometimes wonder if she were in a manic state and then it flipped to a depressed state and she just decided to walk off into nowhere.  

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Your ideas are solid, and her behavior was unpredictable.  I don't mind grabbing gear and doing recon on any of the nearby mines at some point in the next couple of weeks with you.  It's pretty easy for me and if she went in for shade, she likely didn't go back more than a few yards. 

I'm thinking a refined search over ground you already covered, then move to the east and west of the car, first as a hasty, then in more detail. 

Would be nice to know her cigarette brand, and locations of places you found butts matching the brand, if that's even possible.  A direction of travel would be very helpful.  Baby wipes can blow around more easily than cigarette butts, so I'm not putting much emphasis on those w/out solid confirmation of type/brand (which I don't think you were able to do). 

Also, if any photos of the car's interior exist from after it was found, but before it was searched or cleaned, would help.  I'm curious about debris in the car (rocks, dirt, dust).  It could indicate if she remained in the car, slept in the back the first night, moved from driver side to passenger side, or front to rear, to indicate an intention to make camp at least initially.  Not sure if that exists, either.

Knowing her footwear could help, too.  The wrong shoes would slow anyone down, a lot.  Good boots could keep her moving longer and faster.  So many unknowns. 

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This is turning into 'S&R 101'... I'll be following along..  It's likely a cold/muddy mess out there.. but I'm game... wife on the other hand.. no way 😉

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OK, work has been a little hectic, but I can at least put down some information that may be of help. 

First, the assumptions and inferences:

I'm assuming a 'subject type' of 'mentally ill'.  I'm also going to break down the 'hiker' subject type for reasons described below.

I'm assuming she could reach at least the median distance from LKP (aka the IPP), which in turn I'm going to infer as the location of her vehicle.  We can change this if and when we can link some evidence that puts here elsewhere. 

I'll call the climate domain 'dry' and I'm going to categorize this as 'non-mountainous' for both subject types.

From all that, the data sets to work with are incredibly small.  However, what we end up with is this:

Median Subject Distance from IPP (n=8)

 --  0.6 miles

Subject Find Location (n=7)

-- Road: 29%

-- Structure, Water, Scrub, Woods, Field: 14% (for each)

Subject Scenario (e.g. reason for search) (n=180)

-- Evading: 57%

-- Lost: 32%

Subject Track Offset (n=8)

-- Median: 23 meters

I'm going to go in a different direction, and look at 'hiker' subject type.  Why?  If she was in a manic state, or if she was under the influence of narcotics (stimulant), her energy levels and physical progress may not coincide with her apparent physical condition if she tried to hike out.  Though there is no data for bipolar subjects in the mania or hypomania phase, medical literature suggests increased physical abilities during the manic pole of the disorder.

For Hiker

Median Subject Distance from IPP (n=58)

-- 1.3 miles

Elevation change (downhill) (n not stated)

-- 52% downhill

-- 48% uphill

-- Median elevation gain for uphill: 956 feet

-- Median elevation loss for downhill: 975 feet

Median Dispersion angle (n=28) [ this is the angle offset from intended direction of travel ]

-- 47 degrees

Find Location (n=196)

-- Linear feature: 31%

-- Drainage: 18%

-- Road: 17%

-- Structure: 10%

Median Track offset (n=40) [ this is the 'to the left or right' of the track followed, assuming they did not disperse at an angle ]

-- 100 yards

 

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Based on the above data, I would start with a circle from the car, radius (r) of 1.3 miles.  In that circle you have a 50/50 chance of finding her, statistically. 

Within that search area, I would break up the circle into 45 degree or 90 degree octants or quadrants.  Within each quadrant, I would:

1.  Do a hasty search of every linear feature - drainage, road, draw, gully, ridge, creek bed, trail, and so on. 

2.  Repeat the hasty paths, but offset to 50 yards, left of the feature. 

3.  Repeat #2, but offset to 50 yards, right of the feature.

4.  Take a waypoint for every piece of possible evidence at least 100 yards from the IPP/LKP, even if you are not sure it's tied to her.  Plot this on a map and review for emergent patterns.

5.  Determine if there are any visible features during the hasty and offset-hasty search that would appear enticing to a lost, bipolar individual: trees, caves, adits, springs, water troughs, buildings, etc. 

6.  If visible features are noted, search those areas for evidence of the subject or the subject proper.

7.  Where elevation change and cover suggest, run the offset hasty searches in the opposite direction.  This provides better visual perspectives on the 'other side' of vegetation and terrain features.

8.  If any discernible footprints remain, photograph them with a tape measure for reference.  Also, set up a tracking stick to see if you can find additional prints and establish direction of travel.

That's a lot, and that's all I'm going to suggest for now.  The next step is grid searches, but that requires more planning and far more personnel that you have available to you, Bob.  It's not uncommon for us to run 6 or 7 operational periods (OP = 8 hours) and still come up empty.  For the Hart family up in Mendocino County, teams took part in more OP's than that, and it wasn't until a body washed up that the Sheriff had a solid 'find'. 

But, keep in mind that if more information comes out (eyewitness sightings, confirmation of footwear tied to known prints establishing a DOT, verification of cigarette brand, water bottle brand, etc.), you could end up doing this ALL over again, but with a NEW IPP/LKP. 

Finally, I'm leaving a lot out of this, mainly how to form non-circle search regions.  It's involved, it's half art, half science, and I lack the energy to get into it here.  Plus there are many competing theories, and the data sets are too small to be (IMO) statistically significant.  All data came from ISRID and related earlier sources.  Techniques (1-8) above are my own deduction based on training and experience.  Take it for what it's worth.  I'm happy to sit down and go over maps with you in more detail, too.  I'm in ELT training all day Saturday, but I may have some free time late Saturday evening. 

 

 

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Sorry guys, been dealing with this freaking server move and it's been pretty frustrating, but I am going to just stick with IPB for forum software so that will be one less thing to deal with. 

The majority of cigarette butts were next to a rock where I believe she just sat there smoking while trying to figure out what to do next.

We did cover the majority of ridges in the area, I would say we did a pretty good job of that, but I also know it's very easy to talk right next to the remains and never know it.I would totally be up to searching all the areas again. Look at how many people probably drove right next to Jeffery Kirkwood's remains and never seen him. 

We covered the road out to the area where it get's flat, but not up Trinity Canyon road except for the immediate road. The tracking dogs and family members also covered the road from her vehicle leading out of the canyon, but they didn't cover Trinity road either. Of course I would totally up to covering it all again if you think that's what we need to do.  

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I will be able to go back out there again anytime after the 17th, so if you guys can meet up after that for a search, lemme know. I would really like to get back out there for another search. 

 

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