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Dogs aid police in search for Homer woman

Homer Police Department

Correction: The statement below from Homer Police Department has been edited to correct an error. Duffy was last seen around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, October 17 on Pioneer Avenue in front of Homer's Jeans.

Homer Police have ended the ground search for Anesha Murnane as of Monday October, 21  at 3:30 p.m. Local law enforcement will continue to work with the Anchorage FBI office to look for her. HPD released this statement at 3:30 p.m.

"UPDATE 10.21.19. After having consulted with the family and exhausting all leads we have suspended all organized ground search efforts as of this afternoon. Officers spent the morning canvasing businesses in the Pioneer Avenue to Ben Walters area as we had a confirmed last-sighting in front of Homer's Jeans early Thursday evening. The two tracking K9 teams indicated heavy interest in the area between Anesha's residence and Kachemak Way, where she frequented. Based on the K9's behavior and all other circumstances, our current theory is Anesha was either picked up or got into a vehicle near the college around 5:30pm Saturday October 19th. Homer Officers along with assistance from the Anchorage FBI office are continuing the investigation. Our thoughts are with the family as we continue to expediently move through this process."

Murnane, who answers to Duffy, was last seen in downtown Homer in front of Homer’s Jeans on Pioneer Avenue shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 17. Homer Police, Alaska State Troopers and volunteers searched on the ground and by air through the weekend.
Rescue dogs arrived from Anchorage on Sunday night to aid the effort to find Duffy. The dogs and their handlers continue to search in town today. Marvin Dean Cox came from Anchorage to act as incident commander for the dog teams. He says there were five searchers and two dogs on the job. One of those dogs went back to Anchorage this afternoon. The other dog continued to search in Homer on Monday afternoon.

"We are a private non-profit. I’m with the Anchorage Search Team. The dogs are here with North Paw K9 Search and Recovery. It’s a private group with trained dogs, some of the best trained dogs in the state," said Cox.

KBBI’s  Kathleen Gustafson spoke with Lieutenant Ryan Browning of the Homer Police Department this morning for this update.


What can you say about Duffy’s disappearance?

Lt. Browning:
Our last confirmed sighting of her was Thursday between 5:15, 5:30. Outside of Homer’s Jeans heading eastbound. Right now, we've got officers in the field going all the businesses to see if they have any cameras that we can get any footage off of anything like that the track dogs last night.

They deployed one dog. It found her track where it went to, down towards Kachemak Drive. We can say definitively that she was there. We searched those, no sign of, or any clues like that. Another dog ran the same trail so we know she was in that area and then the dogs weren't able to find where she would have gone off of that trail.

We're sending them or they should be going to where she was last seen that Thursday evening in front of Homer jeans and trying to get a track from there. If we can't get anything from that, they're going to start jumping intersections with the dogs to see if they can pick anything up.

 Sounds like a maybe a month or so ago, these dogs tracked a guy for six days through Anchorage. So they have a pretty high success rate with that but they're going to start dropping dogs in town and can see if they can get anything. Right now I’m trying to get hold of the FBI to go through electronic stuff and just asking people if they see her to give us a call or if they hear anything or rumors to let us know at the police department.

 You're no longer calling volunteers for search?

Lt. Browning:
 Right, we've combed within about a mile, mile and a half of where she lived very thoroughly with the dogs, with a helicopter, with probably 50 people that came out yesterday in the community to help us out and we're confident that she's not in that area immediately around her house.

So now we're starting to expand things outside of that and I think we're going to get our best information from what the dogs do their work and see what they come up with.


News Homer Police DepartmentAnesha MurnaneDuffyAlaska Search TeamNorth Paw K9 Search and Rescue
Kathleen Gustafson came to Homer in 1999 and has been involved with KBBI since 2003