Using Human Scent Dogs to Track Down a Killer

One of the ways the feds were able to track down Joshua Wade after he had already evaded conviction in the murder of Della Brown, was to use human scent dogs.  I had never written about Bloodhounds before writing ICE AND BONE, and what I discovered astonished me.  

The dogs were able to pick up Wade’s scent two whole weeks AFTER he had used the ATM card of one of his victims.  This video, which the FBI shared with me, picks up as a dog named Tinkerbell leads her handler Dennis Slavin and other investigators from that ATM, right to the victim’s house.  The dog lingers on the front deck a while but then appears to pick up another scent, at the house next door.  Here’s the description from Chapter 32 of ICE AND BONE:

Slavin followed closely as Tinkerbell approached Mindy’s house.  The dog climbed the stairs to the home’s outside deck which led to the front door and paused briefly, sniffing the door knob.  Slavin thought Tinkerbell might end the trail there, but he then noticed a change in the dog’s behavior.  It was almost as if she was picking up a stronger odor from somewhere nearby.  The dog descended the stairs of the deck and made her way back down Mindy’s driveway, as the entourage of FBI agents followed.  The dog appeared to want to enter the yard next door but there was a long, tall fence blocking the way, so Tinkerbell went almost to the end of Mindy’s driveway, made a sharp right, and led the agents through some brush and tall grass, and into the front yard of the house next door.  Tinkerbell made a beeline for the carport, and circled a few times the area where a car might usually be parked, then paused to sniff the door and doorknob that led from the carport into the house.  Tinkerbell lingered near the door, sniffing the base of the door and the one wooden step just in front of it, showing no real interest in any other location, indicating to her handler that this was the end of the trail.  

To make sure the results were not some sort of fantastic anomaly, Agent Stockham had another Bloodhound named Lucy run the same trail from the Wells Fargo ATM, this time using a scent pad taken from the gear shifter in Mindy’s car.  Just as Tinkerbell had done before her, Lucy would lead authorities along the very same trail: from the ATM, to the carport, and finally, to the side door of the house where Joshua Wade lived.

To read more, check out my book, ICE AND BONE: Tracking an Alaskan Serial Killer, by clicking here.