Unique K-9 Unit Searches for Missing Albion Woman

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

Through thick brush and briars, five team members followed cadaver dogs searching for a scent.

paul bodnar, handles forensics hit= 9
"It's like looking for a needle in a haystack," said Paul Bodnar, who is in charge of forensics for the Mid-Michigan Working Dogs Team.

The Mid-Michigan Working Dogs Search and Recovery Team is a nonprofit made up of experienced volunteers and canines trained to track human remains.

"The dogs are trained to smell bones, blood, hair, and teeth," said search leader Sheila Elderidge.

They are looking for 33-year-old Heather Cousino, who's been missing for more than five months. Cousino suffers from health disorders and hasn't been seen since she left to walk to the pharmacy in December.

"The detectives say it's like she turned a corner and disappeared," said Heather's mother, Diana Cousino. "I hope they find her body so we can have some closure."

Though almost a dozen K-9 crews and dive teams have searched for Cousino, this team says it has something extra---a spiritual advisor providing some direction.

"I will get a feeling in my gut or sometimes a deceased family member will come to me. I am able to give some direction to the team as to which way we need to go," said spiritual advisor Debbie Marcum.

By early afternoon, the team narrowed down the search area, but only found animal bones.

"It gets discouraging at times, but you just have to keep on trucking," said Bodnar.

So far, no search teams have found even an article of clothing, and there have been no confirmed sightings of Heather Cousino. The Mid-Michigan Working Dogs Team says they'll be back out in Albion in the next few weeks.

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