BEULAH — A dozen canine search and rescue teams are heading to Benzie County next week, where they’ll scour the woods for a downstate woman who has not been heard from since mid-October.
Adrienne Quintal, of Southfield, disappeared Oct. 17 after calling a Detroit-area friend from a cabin in Honor to report that she was in a shootout and had shot a man. Her friend then called 911.
When deputies arrived they found Quintal’s car, cell phone, purse and handgun, but no sign of the 47-year-old or any evidence that anyone had been shot.
About 36 volunteers and 12 human remains detection (HRD) dogs will spend Dec. 7 and 8 searching about 1,000 acres of woods around the Indian Hill Road cabin, which belongs to Quintal’s uncle.
Alpena County Search & Rescue will send two canine teams, while the rest will come from around the state, said Chris Moe-Herlick, deputy director of the all-volunteer Alpena organization.
The search had been scheduled for earlier this month, but was canceled after a storm dumped a couple feet of snow on some areas. Moe-Herlick said unsafe roads caused the delay, as the dogs can pick up a scent in up to about a foot of snow.
Lt. Troy Lamerson of the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office told commissioners at the Benzie County board meeting this week that his department is in the process of finding places for the volunteers and dogs to sleep.
He was also looking for funding to provide meals for the group while they are in town. The request was OK’d by Mitch Deisch, county administrator.
Lamerson gave commissioners an update on the case, saying he was in Detroit on Monday to interview several people, including Quintal’s son and boyfriend.
The boyfriend, who had been helping Quintal winterize her uncle’s cabin, left two days before the Oct. 17 incident. He has been named a person of interest in the case.
“We’re learning more every time we talk to them,” Lamerson said.
Family members are offering a $100,000 reward for information on Quintal, who is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds. She has brown hair and eyes and goes by the name “Ada.”
“The family believes she is being held against her will,” Lamerson said.
The reward is good until Saturday, when it drops back to the original amount of $10,000.
“That is bringing people out of the woodwork,” said Lamerson, with tips offered by psychics and by one person who had a dream about Quintal.
A credible tip was received on Monday with a specific time and place where a person that may have been Quintal was seen, Lamerson said. Security footage is being looked at from the location, he said.
Lamerson said this is the biggest case he’s worked on in the 22 years he’s been with the sheriff’s office.
“There’s so many moving parts to it,” he said. “It’s changing daily — which way we’re going, who’s being investigated.”
Sheriff Ted Schendel has said he is hoping the search will rule out the possibility that Quintal came to harm after running out into the woods.
A canine team consists of a handler and an HRD dog, said Moe-Herlick, who with her dog Kaiser makes up one of the teams.
Each team also has two field support people, or “flankers,” she said. Flankers maintain radio communications and work with GPS and mapping to make sure their canine team is safe, she said.
A search management team will also set up and maintain a communications center, she said.
Everyone involved in the effort is an unpaid volunteer, Moe-Herlick said.
“We do this because of the need to help family members have closure for the missing family member,” she said.
Anyone with information on the case should call Benzie County Central Dispatch at 231-882-4487 or the Michigan State Police silent observer line at 1-866-774-2345.