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Six area rescue squads join in search for evidence in Swift case

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Members of the Lauderdale County Rescue Squad drag a drag set across the bottom of White's Lake off of the Great River Road in western Dyer County during Saturday's search for Karen Swift. Boats used drag sets and sonar in their search for evidence.
On Saturday, approximately 50 searchers from several different counties continued the search for evidence in the missing-person case of Karen Swift.

Dyer County Emergency Management Director James Medling, in conjunction with the Dyer County Sheriff's Department, coordinated the search, which included members of the Dyer County Rescue Squad, Dyer County volunteer firefighters, the Obion County Rescue Squad, the Lauderdale County Rescue Squad, the Lake County Rescue Squad, the Paris-Henry County Rescue Squad, Gibson County Fire and Rescue, as well as a few local volunteers.

The Obion River and the White's Lake area (off of the Great River Road) were designated as areas of interest by the sheriff's department and some searchers started their morning at those locations. Searchers used boats on both the river and the lake and some were equipped with sonar to detect shapes underwater. Other boats used drag sets, which are a row of large hooks connected to a weighted piece of metal and dragged across the bed of a body of water.

Searchers begin their dragging of White's Lake. Two boats and volunteers on foot searched the entire lake and its outer edge for potential evidence.
John Baker of the Gibson County Fire and Rescue unit took part in Saturday's search said he was glad to assist.

"We are always willing to help out our neighbors whenever they need us," said Baker.

He and several others were searching the White's Lake area, searching the banks and dragging the bottom.

"There are spots out there that are about five to six feet deep," said Baker.

As some volunteers searched bodies of water, Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box and other search personnel explored areas of interest on the ground, including the Millsfield area where Swift lived with her husband and children. Box said although Saturday's search did not produce any major evidence it did turn up some results.

Dyer County Emergency Management Director James Medling (left) gives a few last instructions before volunteers from numerous rescue squads set out on Saturday's search for evidence in the Swift case.
"We picked up a couple of items of interest," said Box.

He continued to say the searches are still a part of the process of the investigation and allowing Medling to coordinate them with the sheriff's department will help them out considerably.

"Us, calling in the emergency management director to help with the searches will allow us to direct more of our resources in other areas of the investigation," said Box. "The searches have been beneficial in collecting potential evidence and hopefully all of this will provide some answers soon."

Box added his department is not releasing what type of evidence they have colleted so far in the case, but anticipates having the results back from the TBI's crime lab soon.

A Paris-Henry County Rescue Squad boat prepares to pick up one of its members as they search the Obion River on Saturday.
"We are waiting to get the results back on the evidence collected and see if they are connected to Swift or see if it points us to a suspect," said Box. "We are putting this case together one piece at a time and we have to take it one day at a time."

Swift, a 44-year-old mother of four was last seen early Sunday morning, Oct. 30, by her husband at their home on Willie Johnson Road after she reportedly returned from a Halloween party. Her white 2004 Nissan Murano was later found on Sunday, Oct. 30, on Millsfield Highway near the intersection of Harness Road with a flat tire.

Karen Johnson Swift is described as:

Volunteers on foot covered the banks and outer edge of White's Lake. The Dyer County Sheriff's Department targeted the lake as an area of interest that could yield potential evidence.
Age: 44

Race: White

DOB: 1/25/67

Hair: Blonde

Eyes: Green

Height: 5' 5"

Weight 138 lbs.

Anyone who has had contact with Swift, recalls seeing anyone near her vehicle since her disappearance, or has information regarding her whereabouts is asked to contact the Dyer County Sheriff's Office at 731-285-2802.

* Visit www.stategazette. com for more photos and video of Saturday's search.

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Have they looked at old abandon wells and cisterns that might be in that area? There is only about a three (3) hour window that she could have disappeared. What about Reelfoot Lake or the great Mississippi Could be in her on backyard.

-- Posted by Hilda Curtis on Sun, Nov 20, 2011, at 10:58 AM

i honestly dont belive it will be a search an resuce, i feel it will be a search an recover! lets start putting her husband an a few others on a lie dector machine,that should make things a little more interesting!!!

-- Posted by HARDTOLUV on Tue, Nov 22, 2011, at 7:10 PM

guess we'll have to wait for another drug bust or metal theft to get any glowing results about how great our sheriff's department is.

-- Posted by closerlook on Wed, Nov 23, 2011, at 11:33 AM

I was looking at an aerial view of Tar Road off of 182 and there is an old train bridge called the Lenox train bridge and it is out in the middle of no-where and cut off from everything and is a bridge over water. Given where her house was it is hard to believe it is random, somebody would have been observing her or knowing she was going to be out and about, or maybe they got her to come out of her house somehow. It is mind boggling that there does not seem to be any leads. I feel bad for her kids.

-- Posted by LisaDe on Thu, Dec 1, 2011, at 11:34 PM

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Karen Swift search, Nov. 19, 2011