Raymond Churchill - 2010

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Jim Hatt

Raymond Churchill - 2010

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AJNEWS Jan, 11. 2010

SSAR Finds Body In Canal
Sheriff’s team failed in their search for the man

By Christina Fuoco-
The News

Local authorities and volunteers recovered the body of a man at 9:45 a.m. Sunday, January 3, who didn’t return home after partying on New Year’s Eve. “Raymond Churchill, 26, was reported missing, ” stated Tami Villar, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, shortly after Churchill disappeared.

“Deputies (initially) looked around neighborhoods and in the area surrounding the canal, said Villar. “They located a hat and shoe, which were confirmed to be the victim’s. Our department (PCSO) used hooks to check the water and walked the banks.” Villar went on to report, “We set up patrols to inspect the banks and gates every hour. We made a request to drain the canal, however, the cost would be approximately $10,000.

Directions were given to patrol to continue searching, hourly at the canal. Deputies used hooks again and the area was patrolled hourly during day and night. In the morning, PCSO SAR (search and rescue) had canal personnel open the gates to try and flush the body up.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Villar was quick to point out (that), “This introducing of the water would agitate the water so the body may surface. During the process, Superstition SAR (search and rescue) arrived and assisted patrol... they dragged the canal once - did not locate the victim- during the second drag and due to the water movement, the victim’s body surfaced.” Churchill was in fact found in the San Tan Valley canal when both SSAR and PCSO authorities were present.

Superstition Search and Rescue was not called by the Sheriff’s Department. According to Commander Robert Copper of SSAR, the team was contacted by a man who was concerned about Churchill. “He (the concerned man) claimed that they suspected that he (Churchill) entered the canal while walking home from a bar near his home,” said Cooper. “We met him at a location that he suspected, which was in a section of canal a half mile long. We dragged the
canal and located 26-year-old Raymond Churchill.” Superstition Search and Rescue has been dropped from Sheriff Paul Babeu’s list of resources after what Babeu described as a “personality conflict.”

Despite the sheriff’s attitude toward the SSAR, Commander Cooper told the News that, “The patrol deputies, homicide detectives and medical examiners were all very courteous and professional.” Amee Vanderpool contributed to this story.

UPDATE: AJNEWS Feb. 1, 2010

Dead Man’s Fiancee Frustrated With PCSO’s Failure To Find Body

Woman says ‘guardian angel’ gave her phone number for Superstition Search and Rescue

http://www.ajnews.com/vol14/020110/pdfs ... JNW_A1.pdf

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