Lette Birn has been active in K9 SAR since 1989.
In the summer of 1989, while volunteering at a local wilderness search with her endurance horse, she came across a K9 team, went home, ordered a bloodhound puppy, joined a local SAR team and discovered a new passion: K9 SAR.
Countless nationwide training seminars, disaster deployments and wilderness searches later, Lette is currently working two black labs, Finnegan and Piper. Finn certified with FEMA as a live find dog and later with our local K9 team Mountain Canine Corps as a wilderness airscent dog.
Piper is certified with Mountain Canine Corps in Human Remains Detection.
Lette has attended a number of HRD training seminars with Piper in Arizona, Colorado and Texas.
Lette and Piper joined Colorado Forensic Canines in 2016.
From 1993-2016 Lette was a member of the New Mexico Task Force One FEMA team as a K9 handler and had three certified FEMA live find dogs. She acted as the Canine Coordinator for the task force 2007 – 2016 and was a FEMA K9 evaluator.
Deployed to the Pentagon for 9/11, and to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita with NM-TF1.
Lette has participated in hundreds of wilderness searches with MCC over the years, both live find and HR.
Being self-employed - and having an extremely supportive husband - has allowed Lette to embrace the K9 SAR lifestyle with lots of hours spent in the mountains, on disaster sites or at trainings throughout the country.
Lette Birn was born and raised in Denmark, attended college and taught school in Germany after marrying Joachim, her German husband. In 1980 they moved to Los Alamos, NM with their twin sons – “for one year”. 35+ years later they are still in love with outdoor life in New Mexico.
Avid skiers, the entire family was active as volunteer patrollers with the National Ski Patrol for 15-some years. Lette taught and organized the Outdoor Emergency Care course for Pajarito Ski Patrol for several years.
KRIS BROCK- Board Member
Kris Brock is a native of Wyoming. She started working with search dogs in November 2002. She is a certified search dog handler, living with three Yellow Labs. Tate was born in July, 2003. He was certified in trailing, wilderness/air scent, cadaver, evidence and water search disciplines. Tate is now fully retired. Mitchell was born in September, 2011 and is certified in cadaver, wilderness/air scent and water. Charlie was born in June, 2013 and is a certified cadaver dog.
Kris was born and raised in Cody, Wyoming and she spends considerable time in the mountains, just outside Yellowstone National Park. She is married and has two daughters and four grandchildren. Kris and her family enjoy camping and competing in team roping with their horses. Kris is also trained in GPS, 4-wheeling, snowmobile, basic Man-Tracking, ICS, Wilderness First Aid and CPR.
In addition to being a member of High Country Search Dogs, Kris is also a member of the Park County Search and Rescue Team in Wyoming.
Colt, Brock's puppy extraordinaire, bound for great things.
Bonnie Guzman- Board Member
Bonnie's SAR career started in 2007 when she opted to train Dobermans specifically for human remains detection, with an emphasis on historic human remains. After a career as an RN taking care of criminals in prison, Bonnie wanted to invest her time in putting criminals behind bars.
Bonnie is the newest addition to the Park County Coroner's office, serving as a Deputy Coroner.
Her husband is a retired Denver Police Department officer. She is a member of the Doberman Pinscher Club of the Rocky Mountain Area, the Doberman Pinscher Club of America and the United Doberman Club, for which she serves as Southwest Regional Director.
Certified K9 Porter
Swift Run’s Warrior (call name Porter)
Doberman Pinscher born 3/16/2008
Cadaver and Obedience, North American Police Work Dog Association, Fairplay, Colorado. September 2016. Test included area search, buried, water, vehicles, buildings and rubble. Previously certified in 2015, 2014, 2013 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009.
K9 Porter Temperament, Obedience and Working Titles
American Working Dog Federation: BH (Begleithundepruefung)
American Kennel Club: Canine Good Citizen
Doberman Pinscher Club of America: Working Aptitude Certificate
American Kennel Club: Rally Advanced
Schutzhund: Scent Article Discrimination 1 (Stoberprufung 1)
Swift Run’s Hell Hath No Fury, call name Tavi (Octavia)
Doberman Pinscher born 7/12/2012
Certification: Cadaver and Obedience, North American Police Work Dog Association, Lakewood, Colorado. April 2014. Test included area search, buried, water, vehicles, buildings and rubble.
Bonnie's Second Dog, Octavia
Octavia, Bonnie's second canine
Swift Run's Hell Hath No Fury is now a welcome addition to Bonnie Guzman's search and recovery dogs. "Tavi" has an extraordinary nose and boundless energy.
Certified in cadaver and obedience; NAPWDA, April 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017..
K9 Titles and Temperament:
Dorri began her SAR career in 2009 with Grand County Search and Rescue, becoming involved with all aspects of Search and Rescue, including leading the GCSAR dog team for a number of years. She began training her first SAR dog, Earl, in 2009, focusing initially on Wilderness Air Scent and then expanding to Trailing and Human Remains Detection. She joined Colorado Forensic Canines in 2014. Earl and Dorri partnered on many searches throughout Colorado, developing a wealth of practical experience as a K9 team. Earl was retired Fall 2017.
Dorri’s began training her new Border Collie, Flame, for SAR work as a young puppy, spring of 2016. She is currently working towards her certifications in suburban trailing and human remains detection with plans to be fielding Flame in early 2018.
In addition to her involvement with Colorado Forensic Canines, Dorri remains a working member of Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States, Colorado Chapter, and Grand County Search and Rescue.
Formal Training Seminars 2016 -2017: Flame
John Salem Suburban Trailing Seminar: Vail CO: 2017
Colorado Forensic Canines Search Dog School
Janet Wilts, Bonnie Whitman: Canine Human Remains Detection -Scenarios: 2016 and 2017
Janet Wilts, Beat Marti: Canine Trailing Seminar: 2016 and 2017
Intermediate/Advanced Urban Suburban Trailing Seminar: 2017
Chris Weeks Trailing Seminar: Larimer County SAR: 2016
Rae has been practicing law as a criminal defense attorney for 34 years and maintains an active practice in Pagosa Springs and Durango, Colorado. She lives with her husband Jamie in Southern Colorado. They have seven grandchildren all under the age of six!
Rae began her Search and Rescue career in 2006 as a K9 handler with La Plata County Search and Rescue in Durango, Colorado. She certified her first dog, Selah in Trailing and Cadaver 2 with Tri-State. Selah and Rae were fielded with La Plata County SAR for 10 years and Selah is now retired. Rae started her current K9, Oso in 2014 and he has certified in Obedience, Article/Evidence and, Cadaver through NAPWDA ( 2017) and Shoreline with Tri-State. Rae also has CPR and Wilderness First Aid certifications.
Kim Sadar- Board Member
Kim began training SAR dogs in 2005. She has trained dogs in Trailing, Human Remains Detection, Historic Human Remains Detection, Wilderness Air Scent and Evidence. Kim currently has 2 working dogs named Henry and AJ, both dual certified in trailing and human remains detection. Kim is co-founder of CFC. She is a native of Colorado and a retired firefighter.
Certified K9 Henry
Golden Retriever born 11/29/2008
Cadaver, Tracking and Obedience, North American Police Work Dog Association, Lakewood, Colorado. May, 2017. Test included area search, buried, water, vehicles, buildings and rubble piles. Previously certified in Cadaver and Obedience in 2013 and 2014, 2015 and 2016. SARDUS, cadaver, October 2014 and 2017.
SARDUS Trailing ( NIMS level III, Suburban)- March, 2015
2013 Attended K9 seminar at the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State. Exposure to full cadavers in different states of decomposition, both buried and surface.
AJ is Kim's second certified dog. He is two years old and is a red coated Golden Retriever. AJ is certified in human remains detection through NAPWDA, Sept. 2016 and in trailing, through NAPWDA, May 2017
Training and working SAR dogs since March 1995.
Working and training HR dogs since Summer 1997.
Currently working Murphy, third certified HR detection dog, certified with NAPWDA, April, 2014. Previous certifications in 2013, 2012.
Death Investigator for Oklahoma's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner since October 2004.
Education: Masters in Electrical Engineering. Six hours shy of Masters in Forensic Science, Technical Investigator path. Not completed due to starting as Death Investigator.
Completed 8-hour seminar in Water Death Investigation.
NASAR SAR Tech II for 15 years.
Mary began her career of Search and Rescue (SAR) dog training in 1986 in Albuquerque, NM, and has successfully certified trailing, wilderness area air scent, cadaver, and disaster dogs. She founded Sandia Search Dogs in 1999. She was a member of the New Mexico Task Force One FEMA team from 1993-2007 as a dog handler and team veterinarian. SAR deployments include hundreds of wilderness missions and deployment to the Pentagon for 9/11, and to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita with the disaster team. Mary is NASAR SAR Tech II certified and NM Field Certified. As a long time member of NM SAR, she was honored to receive the Ralph Dawdy Memorial Award signifying her dedication to the SAR community. Mary has presented numerous topics on dog training and, since a also a veterinarian, field first aid to canine handlers at the New Mexico annual SAR conference, Arizona SAR conference, and other venues. She also authored the “Use of Canines in SAR” chapter in the Boy Scouts of America’s Search and Rescue Merit Badge book, released in 2013.
Currently, Mary is handling Taz for CFC, a 5 yr old yellow Labrador Retriever that is dual certified by Sandia Search Dogs in Wilderness Area Air Scent and Human Remains Detection. Taz is an athletic, high energy dog who bears his name “Tazmanian Devil” well. He excels at large area searches and rubble search.
NAPWDA certified, cadaver, Sept. 2016 in Fairplay, CO
Mary's second dog, Indy,(4/26/16) , a yellow Labrador Retriever out of 3 Cedars Kennel in Pennsylvania, is in training for Human Remains Detection and Area search. He loves to swim and is turning into a big boy.
Heidi was born in Canada, raised in California and moved to Durango, CO in 2014. She began her SAR career in 2013 but has been involved in rescuing and recruiting dogs for live-find/air-scent for first-responders, FEMA K-9 handlers in particular, since the Oklahoma City bombing. Pippa is the first search dog she has handled, and one of the best dogs she’s recruited.
Pippa is a field-bred Labrador Retriever who has an unending supply of energy and drive. It is Pippa’s talent and need for action that motivated Heidi to move from recruiter to handler – and from California to Colorado. In addition to CFC, Heidi and Pippa are active members of La Plata County SAR. They are certified in obedience, HRD and article search.
Pippa is approximately 4 years old. Her birthdate is unknown as she was found and recruited from the Humane Society shelter in Durango, CO. Pippa excels at HRD, air-scent and article searching. She also is trained in trailing. Pippa lives with her buddy Roscoe, a 13 year old Lab and 2 cats who humble her daily.
Certified 2016, 2017 in obedience, article search and Human Remains Detection, Lakewood, CO - NAPWDA
Cindy has been a member of Sandia Search Dogs for over eleven years. She is currently training her Labrador, Callie, in both trailing and cadaver. Callie is mission ready in both areas and has attained certification with Sandia Search Dogs in both, as well as attained cadaver certification through North American Police Work Dog Association ( NAPWDA). Cindy has also trained an air scent search dog and has attained SAR TECH II status through NASAR. As a member of Sandia Search Dogs, Cindy has held numerous board positions including president, training officer, and membership officer. Cindy was the secretary for New Mexico Search Council from 2010-2013.
Current certification from NAPWDA, Sept. 2016.
Cindy has added a second canine,Popperrose. Popper is now certified in human remains detection, May 2017- NAPWDA
Cindy's newest NAPWDA certified dog, Popperose. NAPWDA 2017
Karen started her career with search dog training in 2007 with Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado (SARDOC). She joined her local county Search and Rescue team, Larimer County Search and Rescue, in 2008.
Karen has a 9 year old yellow Labrador Retriever named Sage. Sage is a certified wilderness trailing type II and suburban trailing type III dog with SARDUS. Sage also recently received her Type 3/4 HRD certification with SARDUS. Sage is a focused, high drive dog that loves to work on both HRD and live finds.
In addition to Karen’s work with her K9, she is an ITC for her county fielding calls for Search and Rescue managers when a mission arises. She also serves as Director-At-Large on the Board of SARDOC.
Karen holds the following certifications for her dog Sage:
SARDUS – Type 11 Wilderness Trailing, Type III Suburban Trailing, and Type 3/4 HRD. SARDUS HRD cert, Oct. 2017.
Karen belongs to the following organizations:
Colorado Forensic Canines
Search and Rescue Dogs of U.S. (SARDUS)
Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado (SARDOC)
Arya, a female Dutch Shepherd, is Karen's latest pup in training in both trailing and human remains detection.
ANTHROPOLOGY / FORENSIC INVESTIGATIONS
Gary Scott, Anthropologist, Forensic Analyst, Metro State University, Assistant Field Support Coordinator- Board Member
Gary has a B.A. from the University of North Dakota, a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the latter at at which his advisorwas Dr. William Bass, originator of the "Body Farm," forensic research facility. He has been an adjunct faculty Anthropology instructor at Metropolitan State University of Denver for three years and with the Community College of Aurora for over eighteen years. His personal interests focus within the areas of human osteology, forensics and search techniques. Additionally, Gary has been with the Human Identification Laboratory (HIL) for 3 years and has assisted Federal, State, City and County law enforcement agencies with multiple human remains searches and the analysis of human skeletal remains. Gary appreciates the relationship that has developed between Colorado Forensic Canines and th
GROUND PENETRATING RADAR
Katharina Hemingway, Department of Anthropology, University of Denver, Denver, CO
I discovered an interest for ground-penetrating radar during my undergraduate studies at the University of Denver about 2 years ago. It's ability to quickly, accurately, and non-destructively collect and present data is fascinating and an incredibly powerful technique that always has my interests peaked. My focus lies in using the GPR system for its forensic abilities, and I have worked on a variety of projects including assisting police departments on investigations, with historical and private cemeteries to locate lost burials, as well as simply looking for lost graves. It is also always a great pleasure to team-up with these fascinating dogs when we face difficult, large terrain. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding ground-penetrating radar, or if you need to figure out whether it would be appropriate to use this service on your project. Phone: 303-884-4613 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a store manager for K&G Fashion Superstores in Aurora, Colorado. Over the past 14 years, I have managed K&G stores in St. Louis, New Orleans, Atlanta and Oakland. I grew up in Mason City, Iowa. I played high school football, baseball and wrestled. I am an avid Colorado skier and have also skied Lake Tahoe, Utah, and Minnesota. My other interests include hiking, climbing 14ers, golf and biking. I joined the search for two missing hikers in the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area during the summer of 2014 and was part of the recovery team that located the men. My teammates say that my strong points are my strength, commitment, determination and sense of humor.
Over the past 15 years Amanda has worked as a field biologist, fire ecologist, wildand firefighter, and environmental consultant. As a result, Amanda has gained experience in navigation, GPS use, and hiking/backpacking, and has a great appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Amanda has been a member of the Sandia Search Dogs for over 2 years as a field support member. In addition, she is currently training to be a second handler for a Labrador, Gus, on Sandia Search Dogs in air scent. Amanda has attained SAR TECH II status through NASAR and is currently the secretary for Sandia Search Dogs.
I spent 31 years teaching teenagers and am currently retired. Some of my current time is spent supporting Colorado Forensic Canines in the capacity as Field Support along with driving the search boat for the group.
I have also trained 4 dogs to Schutzhund titles which includes tracking and obedience as part of the requirement. Because I have spent the last 30 years training dogs as a hobby, I understand the intricacies of training tracking, and the difficulty of the task. I currently serve as Western KG Secretary for the dog organization of DVG.
In addition, my love of the outdoors has instilled in me a confidence in the wilderness. Since I am an avid hiker it helps with physical conditioning, as well as, a healthy respect for Mother Nature. Colorado outdoor activities have been my passion for years. These qualities are needed in a person supporting the dog teams in outdoor searches.
My interests include hiking, climbing, mountaineering, canyoneering, and snow sports, and I've had the good fortune to be able to do extensive back country travel, a great deal of it with map and compass prior to GPS availability for civilian use. In 2003, I wanted to learn how to use these new tools and started geocaching as a way of getting familiar with the new technology. Since then the “Geocaching Game” has become an end in itself – it's taken me to many interesting places which I would not have discovered otherwise, and back to some favorite areas that I had not visited in a long time.
I have climbed all of the 14,000' peaks in the lower 48 states and all peaks above 13,000' in Colorado and Utah, and have through hiked two long distance trails. I believe that being comfortable in rough terrain, both above and below timberline, and my experience in living outdoors and working through the logistics required to do these things are assets that I can bring to the CFC group.
Caryn Marie Skinner
I grew up outside of Madison, WI and moved to Colorado in 2002 to lead backpacking trips for youth with YoungLife. I taught Outdoor Education at the YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch where I met my husband. My degree is in Social Work but I currently work at the Good Samaritan Loveland Village administering the medications and treatments to Assisted Living residents. I am passionate about exercise and teach fitness (Step, Aqua and Senior) classes at the Loveland Chilson Center. (I am currently back in school taking some pre-requisite classes for Nursing or Exercise Science.) I love being outdoors hiking, climbing, camping, backpacking, swimming, snowshoeing and gardening. I especially enjoy being up high on the summits of the beautiful mountains around us. I have gained some experience with navigation through my backpacking trips with Younglife, the Outdoor Education classes I taught at the YMCA and on my own outdoor adventures. I am also passionate about helping others and look forward to the opportunity to serve in this way with CFC.
Kirk Hilbelink- Geologist/ Field Support Services
I'm an avid wanderer and naturally curious soul. My background is in geology as a profession and rock collecting as an addiction. I also enjoy the occasional long trail run or off-trail excursion. All of these passions, along with an innate appreciation of the canine world, resulted in a serendipitous joining of the CFC circle in 2015. I live in Conifer with my wife Aspen, two squirrely young boys and three dogs.
Kirk plays an integral part in field support and works as a consultant to CFC regarding mine history, geologic formations as well as changes in soil levels with buried remains. He is the president of Conifer Environmental, LLC
Silvia Pettem is a self-employed researcher, author, writer, and public speaker with a passion for researching cold cases, unidentified remains, and longtime missing persons. She spent the first two decades of her career doing historical research and writing for individuals, businesses, and local governments. Then, in 1996, her life took a new turn when she stumbled upon the gravestone of a Jane Doe––a murder victim from 1954.
A few years later, she applied her research skills to both old-fashioned detective work and the power of the Internet by entering into a successful partnership with her local sheriff and with forensic experts of the Vidocq Society to determine the young woman’s identity. She chronicled their work in her book, Someone’s Daughter: In Search of Justice for Jane Doe.
Now an associate member of the Vidocq Society and one of its Medal of Honor recipients, Silvia is an American Investigative Society of Cold Cases consulting committee member, a volunteer in the Detectives Section of the Boulder Police Department, an advisory board member (and social media coordinator) of the organization Families of Homicide Victims & Missing Persons, and a NamUs instructor in classes sponsored by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
She wrote her latest book, Cold Case Research: Resources for Unidentified, Missing, and Cold Homicide Cases, in order to aid other investigators as they grapple with cold cases of their own. Silvia can be reached at email@example.com or via her website, www.silviapettem.com