SEARCH & RESCUE: Expert explains best practices, complications - KMSP-TV

SEARCH & RESCUE: Expert explains best practices, complications

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After months of searching, police found the bodies of two women who had been missing -- but what took so long? Jeff Hasse, a search and rescue expert, explains what it takes to find a missing person.

Search and rescue experts say the public has a perception of law enforcement that is less-than flattering when it comes to finding missing people, but Hasse explained that it is fairly easy to hide a body -- and with so much water in Minnesota, it can be fairly hard to find one there.

Hasse's team is currently leading the search for Brandon Swanson in Marshall, Minn., but he says every search is different and there are certain factors that can create big complications.

Watch the video for more information. 

Jeff Passolt: "Jeff you're not law enforcement but you work directly with police to help find missing people. And your team is the lead on the Brandon Swanson missing person case out of marshal, Minnesota."

Jeff Hasse: "That's true in an ideal search there is a search manager that acts as essentially a consultant to law enforcement and helps provide some management assistance and some of the planning and assistance to the search teams."

Jeff Passolt: "Help us understand how a search is structured because we see these big groups trying to help but there has to be much more to it than that. Is there a standard protocol?"

Jeff Hasse: "Every search is different but we use standard techniques and methodologies to determine where to search and how to search."

Jeff Passolt: "It's got to be painful for the families of these missing people what's it like to work with the families of someone who's missing? 

Jeff Hasse: "It's a very challenging job as a search manager you have the weight of the families expectations on your shoulders and it can be stressful but it's also rewarding."

Jeff Passolt:  "Seems like there can be so many factors that complicate a search? In the Mandy Matula case there's a vehicle involved and a wide range of cell phone pings all the way to Stearns County."

Jeff Hasse: ""That's one of the main problems in these kinds of cases many of the techniques that we use are geared towards the wilderness search where our subjects are mostly on foot and in that case we have fairly large search area but as soon as you add a car to the mix your search area goes from possibly a hundred square miles to thousands of square miles."

Jeff Passolt: "Does law enforcement do enough to look for missing people? How come the women in Ohio weren't found for almost a decade?"

Jeff Hasse: "I think in general the statistics tells us that law enforcement generally does a good job. The International Search and Rescue Incident database is a data base of over 50 thousand internationally and in that database 50% of all searches are successfully concluded in three hours. A full 93 percent of them are concluded in 24 hours but it's the 7%, really a small percent of them that really are vexing and are searches that can go on for years."

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