Texas team searches for missing Fairfield woman; hopes to solve two other cases

Published: Sep. 2, 2011 at 12:56 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2011 at 10:27 AM EDT
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Paige Johnson
Paige Johnson
William DiSilvestro
William DiSilvestro

FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19) - Volunteers searched during the daylight hours on Thursday, hoping to find something that could lead them to Katelyn Markham.

Tim Miller founded Texas Equusearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team, a group dedicated to finding the missing. Markham's father called the organization for help. Miller flew in earlier this week to help search for Katelyn.

"We're all working toward one goal, and that's to bring Katelyn home alive," said Miller. "If not, our goal is to bring her home so her family and this community can have a little bit of closure."

In total, 140 people broke into small groups and searched nearly a dozen spots in Butler and Hamilton counties. Miller stayed at the command post at the Fairfield West Baptist Church to learn the rules and map out the areas. Thursday was Miller's first full day of searching. He told volunteers to stay close to Katelyn's home.

Katelyn Markham vanished on Aug. 13. John Carter, her fiancee, reported her missing about 8 p.m. the next day after he couldn't reach her and he said he found her car, purse and keys at her townhouse.

"In our experience, if there is an actual abduction or murder, the body is found within an eight to twelve mile radius, and we've found that to be true," said Miller. "We're certainly not out at 12 miles yet."

Miller has led searches for Caylee Anthony and Natalee Holloway. Miller said he's working closely with law enforcement in the area, especially Fairfield Police. He told FOX19 he plans to touch base with them daily while he's in the Tri-State searching for Katelyn.

Volunteers gathered at early Thursday morning to learn the rules.

"We go over how we're going to do the search, the areas that we're going to search and the perimeter, and just how it's spread out," said Terri Bishop, a volunteer.

Each group of volunteers was armed with bright orange flags, and told to mark spots that they had already searched. It's clear that this search is more organized and more staffed than previous ones. It gave Katelyn's father, David Markham, more hope.

"Knowing that more is coming and we're not going to stop, and it is organized, it does feel a little bit better," said Markham. "Everybody has been fantastic with what they've been doing, but to now know that we're not checking the same area twice; that everybody's efforts will be utilized 100-percent."

Still, organizers say their work isn't done until Katelyn is home.

"It's incredible," said Dave Rader, a volunteer with Texas Equusearch and S.T.A.R.R., or Search Tactics and Rescue/Recovery. "We've got some people that have called in sick. We've got people who have quit the jobs because they're so passionate about this. You know, for all the bad in the world, it needs to be touched on that they are generally great people out there that stop their life to sit there and help somebody else."

The search will resume Friday. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Fairfield West Baptist Church at 8:30 a.m.

Miller hopes at least 400 people will volunteer on Saturday. If so, he hopes to help search for two other missing persons here in the Tri-State: William DiSilvestro of West Hamilton, Ohio and Paige Johnson of Covington, Ky.

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