Cliffdell, WA – The search for missing Seattle Deputy Fire Chief Jay Schreckengost entered it’s eleventh day on Thursday. The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office said they will continue searching until they find him.
With concerns of poor weather still looming, Inspector Chris Whitsett with the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office said they hope to find Schreckengost this weekend.
“We’re continuing to work to find new strategies to prioritize our use of resources that we have to focus on the highest probability areas where the chief might be,” Whitsett said.
One new strategy includes the use of a bluetooth drone in hopes that it will find Schreckengost’s fitbit. They attempted the technique today and hope to try it again in a wider area this weekend if the weather permits it.
Whitsett said the search has shifted a bit since the start. In the first few days they were hoping to find the deputy chief responsive.
“After that time, you have to shift to the expectation that well if he could help himself get found, he would’ve gotten found by now,” Whitsett said. “You’re looking for somebody who can’t, who is disabled, you have to look for someone who is unconscious or unable to participate as an active part of the search so you got to go a lot slower.”
What he means by that, is the same ground has to be searched multiple times to make sure nothing was missed with different search techniques.
“Our best intelligence still leads us to believe that he started on foot from his truck that whatever happened from there happened on Tuesday,” Whitsett said. “We don’t know how far he went from his truck [but] we know roughly how he was equipped.”
While they don’t know how far out from the truck they need to be looking, they have gone out several miles. As Whitsett explained the search goes in concentric circles.
“You begin close in where you have the highest probability and you hit those areas hard and again and again and then you expand your search,” Whitsett said. “As you expand, every ring in the expansion as you go out covers more ground.”
The search base has now moved from Whistlin’ Jacks Lodge over to the Gold Creek Saloon.
Law enforcement is still asking the community to not come search the area because the terrain is dangerous. They have invited anyone with search and rescue certification like law enforcement officials from other areas to help search for the deputy chief.
Last weekend they had about 150 people help and this weekend they hope to have similar numbers so they can search outlying areas.
“We hope very much to find him as soon as we can and close this matter for the family and bring him home for the family, his direct family and his extended Seattle Fire Department family,” Whitsett said.