Searching Spatter-Cone Pits for Missing Girl

by Gene Griswold and Mardi Keltner

Unit members met with Lt. Darrel James at 0830 Saturday August 18 at Santiam Airstrip to assist Linn County in a continuation of a search earlier in the summer for a missing teenage girl. Deputies Lovik and Sandberg were assigned to accompany us during the search.
At 0900 we left the command post for the Upper McKenzie Pits. Deputy Lovik briefed us on preservation of physical evidence. The seven McKenzie pits were inspected as follows: Pits 1 and 2 were entered and inspected directly. Pit 2 opened up into a room that under lay pits 3 and 4, so they were not inspected. Pits 5 and 6 were entered and inspected directly. Pit 7 is open, and was inspected visually from its lip. The search of the McKenzie pits was completed at 1300.
We then proceeded to Santiam Pit; entered and inspected it; and finding nothing we returned to base camp arriving about 1430.
While we took a short break, arrangements were made to open the gate on the Sand Mountain road. On the way to Sand Mountain to check out Moss and Century Pits, it began to rain. The Forest Service lookout on Sand Mountain met us and said a storm was moving in and that we should expect heavy rain. We left the vehicles near the crater rim on Sand Mountain and scrambled cross country through dense underbrush for 30 - 40 minutes, arriving at Moss Pitabout 1600. By then it was raining heavily with gusty winds, and a quantity ofwater was pouring down the walls of the pit. After a discussion with the deputies we decided to locate Century Pit for future reference and then return to base camp with an offer to return to check the pits at another time.
We arrived back in base camp about 1900 and were treated to hot food and beverages courtesy of Linn County. We had an informal discussion with Lt. James and other deputies before departing.

Participants: Gene Griswold, Rick Thompson, Allen Perry, Mardi Keltner, and Scott Olson.

Photo by Mardi Keltner