June 11, 2015

Why put out the news that dogs have picked up the scent of the murderers who escaped from prison?

"[A]bout 3 miles from the prison... dogs involved in the manhunt picked up a scent... There is growing confidence this scent is from the two fugitives, the sources say."

If you knew dogs were on your trail, what would you do? I'd look up how to evade them. Here's  "How to Evade and Escape Tracking Dogs":
The best you can hope for is to delay the dog(s)... You need to also keep in mind many of the myths that exist about evading tracking teams. Running through water or across hard ground may help hide your foot prints, but your scent will always remain behind. It is possible to utilize waterways by crisscrossing them several times, but staying in them along their course is almost like drawing a direct map from the dog's nose to your location. It is important to always remember that there is very little chance you will actually confuse a well-trained tracking team enough to simply escape to a nearby hideaway. The end goal for any evasion plan should be to get to a location where you can get easier escape with a bike, motorcycle or car. If you stop before you have put a sizeable distance between you and your trackers, they will find you.
So I guess that's why the authorities want the escapees to know the dogs are on their trail. You'll either waste time doing dumb stuff that won't work, give up because you believe nothing will work, or you'll do the one thing that might work, go fast, which will require you to expose yourself to the roadblocks that are ringing the whole area.

ADDED: Of course, the news may have nothing to do with capturing the escapees and everything to do to reassuring people that the police are hot on their trail. The people will eventually lose interest, and this calming news might help.

64 comments:

MayBee said...

Or do the thing you apparently love doing: kill some people

gerry said...

Researchers have estimated that a bloodhound’s nose consists of approximately 230 million olfactory cells, or “scent receptors” — 40 times the number in humans. Whereas our olfactory center is about the size of a postage stamp, a dog’s can be as large as a handkerchief

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Every lawyer knows the way to avoid the dogs is with a red herring.

Fen said...

If you stop before you have put a sizeable distance between you and your trackers, they will find you.

"So I guess that's why the authorities want the escapees to know the dogs are on their trail. You'll either waste time doing dumb stuff that won't work, give up because you believe nothing will work, or you'll do the one thing that might work, go fast, which will require you to expose yourself to the roadblocks that are ringing the whole area"

No, its in the last sentence you quoted - high adrenaline combined with sleep deprivation ("don't stop") means they will make stupid mistakes and get caught.

madAsHell said...

They had power tools, and a map of the drainage system, but after that they had no plan what so ever. Really.....????

They are in Mexico, or beyond.

traditionalguy said...

I just hope and pray the police are kind and gentle as they arrest these American citizens.

Police brutality has to stop.

garage mahal said...

Did the Tea Party break anyone out of jail today?

Patrick said...

Could be misinformation

Gahrie said...

Did the Tea Party break anyone out of jail today?

No..they were too busy stealing candy from minority babies to give to their own children.

Lyssa said...

It blows my mind that these guys could still be in NY. Why would they not have made it to Mexico by now?

joeknows said...

"Why put out the news that dogs have picked up the scent of the murderers who escaped from prison?"

I am sure that they have a computer or a tablet with a WI-FI connection and all they have to do is Google "How to Evade and Escape Tracking Dogs". Sounds like a plan to me.

Rob said...

We can only hope the fugitives aren't Althouse readers.

Nonapod said...

If they do end up getting caught (or shot dead in some "suicide by cop" shootout) while still in NYS, it'll just be another confirmation that most criminals really are idiots. They made the lead guy out to be some kind of Casanova mastermind, but I suspect he was just a lucky dumbass (thankfully)

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The way to catch the fugitives is by following the trail of broken hearts.

rhhardin said...

I trained my first Doberman Susie to track. The difficulty is getting somebody to lay tracks for you. I wound up modifying the exercise: walk out in a field, zig-zag like, and drop a sock, and walk back avoiding the previous path. Say to Susie, "Susie, Find it!" and she'd dash out at a full run, following the zig-zags, run right past the sock and then stop (whoa!) and return to it, sniffing out its exact location in the tall grass, and return to me with it.

That's more impressive than following along on a tracking lead anyway.

Ann Althouse said...

What percent of living murderers do you think are in prison (in the United States)?

I hate to think of these murderers running free, but there are many unsolved murders and (I assume) unnoticed murders (e.g., of babies and old people), and those people are out of prison. Shouldn't we spread more of our fear their way?

rhhardin said...

The local cemetery responded to doing tracking in their cemetary by banning dogs.

Cemetery grass is perfect because it doesn't have cross-trails on it, mostly; which helps a lot when the dog is learning to stay on a track until the sock is found. ("It's always out there and you have to find it.")

rhhardin said...

The dog starts by following crush scent. Crushed grass always leads to a sock.

rhhardin said...

The AKC exercise requires a glove, but old socks are in greater supply at my house.

JPS said...

"Why put out the news…?"

I sincerely hope they're trying to scare these guys into making mistakes, as in the article you linked. Otherwise I would commend to them Bob Gates' new strategic communications approach.

rhhardin said...

A dog that tries to see the sock rather than follow the scent to it can be discouraged by putting a sock, doubled over with the end cut out, over its eyes, making it track blind.


Make the track clear of obstacles, though.

rhhardin said...

One day in a park I encountered a lady also laying tracks for her dog.

She accosted me and wanted to know where my track was so she could understand what her dog would be doing.

rhhardin said...

One trick for laying tracks in a huge field is to align two distant objects with each other,
so you walk straight and can tell later when you're following along that the dog is on the track.

Make turns when two other distant objects align, and follow those.

Drop a sock when a third pair aligns.

The alternative is planting flags, which isn't nearly as convenient.

rhhardin said...

An old demented women went missing a few miles away last year, on my bike route. It would have been easy to find her, had I had my tracking dog.

She'd wandered into a cornfield and, being a dotty woman, got lost and did the only sensible thing, she laid down and went to sleep.

World's easiest track.

They found her some other way and now she's in a home for the dotty.

Michael K said...

Basset hounds are short legged bloodhounds so they should also be good at tracking. However, I would have to wake Winston up to try to get him interested. By the time I got him up, the fugitives would be in Mexico.

AllenS said...

The dogs will never find them, unless they drop one of rhhardin's old socks.

Wilbur said...

"Not a hard man to track ... leaves dead men wherever he goes".

Captain Redlegs on Josie Wales.

JCC said...

@ Ann -

No doubt there are any number of undiscovered - or at the least, uncharged - murderers among us, but how many committed the crime for a incident-specific motive, i.e. profit, jealousy,something unique to that circumstance, and not a more general motivation like the somewhat ambiguous sex/power/kill-the-witness in a rape-homicide, for instance? It is those latter serial criminals who choose not to leave someone behind to talk about things that should be scaring us, especially since no one has a clue - vaunted FBI claims notwithstanding - how many are cruising around preying on the vaguely transient or unloved without being noticed.

These escapees should be scarey, because they get a free ride, regardless of any new crimes, since they have already achieved the maximum allowed penalty in NY. They're essentially in a bonus period, everything is on the house, until they cross the wrong state line.

Bob Boyd said...

"Shouldn't we spread more of our fear their way?"

Those who have gotten away with murder aren't much of threat unless someone finds out. Most of them didn't just attack some random person because they enjoy killing. They killed a particular person for a specific reason and the situation was thereby resolved. Afterward their best course is not to draw any attention to themselves and certainly not to be proximate to another murder. They have everything to lose.
The fugitives, on the other hand, have nothing to lose.

traditionalguy said...

Unreasonable search and seizure unless Cuomo's boys go get a search warrant for air molecules.

It's time to watch Runaway Train again on Netflix.

traditionalguy said...

Conservatives will like Runaway train. Jon Voight stars as Manny the only free man and by the last scene he has beaten the Prison Warden. It is a film by a Russian survivor of Stalin who understood freedom and prisons.

rhhardin said...

If they open a pizza parlor to remain inconspicuous, I'd recommend not refusing service to gay weddings.

William said...

This is the prison break that will inspire a hundred books and a dozen movies. Too bad the escapees aren't more sympathetic. Even by the standards of convicted murderers, one of them is particularly loathsome. Or maybe that will add to his appeal.......The woman involved looks kindly, plump, and respectable. How could anyone do anything so stunningly stupid? I wonder if Charlize Theron will wear a fat suit for the movie or go the full DeNiro and put on the ponds.

Michael said...

They searched long and hard for James Earle Ray when he escaped from Brushy Mountain prison in Tennessee. He had been gone more than a day when the bloodhound man suggested they wait another day for a rainstorm to come and go and enhance the dogs' chance of picking up the scent. The next day the dogs were loosed and in a matter of hours Ray was discovered under a log on the top of a nearby mountain that had been scoured by humans.

blood hounds rock.

alan markus said...

I sincerely hope they're trying to scare these guys into making mistakes, as in the article you linked. Otherwise I would commend to them Bob Gates' new strategic communications approach.

If these guys have half a brain they would know that there are probably all kinds of resources being used to find them - dogs & roadblocks (that's "old school"), infrared cameras, security cameras all over the place, drones with cameras, and probably things we don't know about yet.

If there are any "mind games", it would be to give them false confidence and embolden them to make mistakes.

It took 48 days to catch cop killer Eric Frein in the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania. And most of that time the media was broadcasting about his survivalist skills and the ability to elude law enforcement. Because he had already killed a cop, there was concern that he could easily do it again as he would probably see them first.

Cops Caught The Alleged Cop-Killer And Survivalist Hiding Out In Pennsylvania Mountains

For 48 tense days, hundreds of law enforcement officials fanned out across the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania in a grueling manhunt for the 31-year-old survivalist armed with high-powered weaponry and explosives.

In the end, Frein surrendered meekly around 6 p.m. Thursday to a team of U.S. marshals who stumbled across him near an abandoned airplane hangar some 30 miles from the rural barracks where he allegedly opened fire Sept. 12, killing a trooper and seriously injuring another.

tim in vermont said...

O brother where art thou?

Let me tell you this has the women fold in a tizzy around here. You can see the prison across the lake at night because it is very well lit. Supposedly there were rumors that they were going to try to get to Vermont and hide out in "camps along the lake" to avoid the "heat." My cleaning lady today reproached me for not owning a gun.

I think that they are getting clues from questioning the lady who sprung them. I am just guessing here, but putting two and two together from the police announcements, I think that the lady was supposed to meet them at the escape point and got cold feet, leaving them on foot. Were they skilled outdoorsmen, they could easily disappear into the Adirondack Park for any amount of time. I don't think they are.

trumpintroublenow said...

Law question -- if they murder someone in a state with the death penalty, can their NY accomplice be charged with capital murder?

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Bloodhound

Quaestor said...

Re: Bloodhound

The syllable blood in bloodhound does not mean that bloodhounds are particularly drawn to blood (All canids are instinctively obsessed by blood and must sniff it and usually taste it.) It means the hound is of known and exalted lineage, a blooded hound. The term blood is applied to Thoroughbreds for the same reason. The Blood-Horse

Quaestor said...

During WWII the British SOE was tasked with this "how to evade tracking dogs" question in an effort to help their agents in Occupied Europe. They consulted fox hunters and basically got the same advice as offered by the linked-to article -- delay and outrun. Needless to say this wasn't very satisfactory.

One proposed solution was a fold-up bicycle. Agents were inserted by parachute, so naturally they couldn't carry very much on their persons, thus the idea of a bicycle that could be folded into a canister which could be dropped on its own 'chute. Eventually the idea was shelved for two reasons: Firstly, it proved very difficult for an agent to locate the bike canister at night, and secondly the fold-up bike was unusual looking and could hardly be expect not to draw the attention of an observant German soldier.

The real solution was proposed by an officer who had been training as a dentist in civilian life -- cocaine! The idea is simple and effective. Just spread some cocaine powder on the ground behind you. The hounds following you will snuff up some of the cocaine and thereby anesthetize their own noses. To make the cocaine more effective they mixed powdered blood with the drug. The blood made certain the dogs would lower their muzzles to the ground where they'd get a powerful hit of coke along with the tempting scent of blood. The SOE came up with a novel way to deploy the hound confuser, a small bag that could be buckled to the ankle which incorporated a mechanism derived from a walker's odometer that dispensed about a teaspoon of blood-scented cocaine behind the wear's heel at regular intervals. A dog anesthetizer something like this is still in the arsenal of the CIA today.

(typos fixed)

Interesting,not crazy said...

These guys gonna sneak back into prison and claim they never left. Be like mattress girl; "That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!"

khesanh0802 said...

I think Donald Westlake (as Richard Stark) had the answer to this problem. Parker escaped by car. Don't you think these guys have?

tim in vermont said...

And this isn't the only place law enforcement is looking. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said there's an indication that Matt and Sweat "had a canoe or something in mind they could paddle" -- the idea being the two could quietly get across Lake Champlain, which presumably would be "cooler" without as much police around.

This is the story that got the ladies upset. There are a lot of cops around here. But Vermont has basically zero restrictions on firearms, so they are taking their chances in that regard if they come here.

There are more State Police launches around than I would have thought the state owned. They probably brought some from the Connecticut River. The place is always crawling with Border Patrol, who have their own versions of "go-fast boats." Triple-engine center consoles of the type that the New York Times calls "luxury speedboats"

Anyway, I bet there is an O Brother Where Art Thou clip for every news story.

Here the three intrepid escapees are discovered by bloodhounds.

tim in vermont said...

Here a scene from the movie apropos to the idea that the woman was supposed to be there with a getaway car. (My theory of why they are still on foot, if they are)

Never trust a female.

JAORE said...

Interesting note, Quaester, thanks.

I had a Boxer-Doberman mix. Great dog, but he'd dig the crap out of my garden. Then one day it dawned on me. Pre-dog I'd gotten in the habit of spreading blood meal in the beds......

furious_a said...

Why would they not have made it to Mexico by now?

Ummm...Canada?

furious_a said...


"Blue run himse'f plumb t'death...".

tim in vermont said...

I don't think going to Canada would be their best move. Quebec still encourages smaller farms so the rural areas are much more heavily populated than rural areas here. Once they got across the border, they would be out of wooded areas and into open farmland. Not to mention that since 9-11, Border Patrol has all kinds of equipment for tracking people. They just choose not to use it on the Mexican border, I guess. I read that Vermont has one of the highest apprehension rates of illegal border crossers, and it outrages local liberals. There is a red and blue Vermont, and along the Morse Line, it's mostly red.

Maybe they could work out a deal at the Indian reservation though.

furious_a said...

New York State Patrol needs to bring in "those guys".

Fernandinande said...

Ann Althouse said...
What percent of living murderers do you think are in prison (in the United States)?


Not an exact answer, but for about 1/3 of murders nobody is ever arrested, much less convicted.

Ah, here we go: Open Cases: Why One-Third Of Murders In America Go Unresolved

My girlfriend's son was murdered when he was 17, a guy was arrested but he essentially got away with it by spending one year in a mental hospital.

Freeman Hunt said...

From the Open Cases link:
"Take, for example, homicides of police officers in the course of their duty," he says. On paper, they're the kind of homicide that's hardest to solve — "they're frequently done in communities that generally have low clearance rates. ... They're stranger-to-stranger homicides; they [have] high potential of retaliation [for] witnesses." And yet, Wellford says, they're almost always cleared.

What that tells Wellford is that clearance rates are a matter of priorities.


That doesn't follow at all. Of course it would be easier to clear the murder of an on-duty cop. You've been in radio contact with him. You know exactly where he went and why. You may also know who he was going to talk to or arrest or have a description of someone he was going to meet or pursue. You might even have dash cam footage. You generally don't have any of that if a regular person is murdered.

furious_a said...

I don't know about smelling socks or gloves, but my older beagle can hear a candy wrapper from like a mile away.

tim in vermont said...

Apparently, according to the news, all the boats are about searching the many little remote islands in the lake.

Shootist said...

Cayenne pepper and lots of it.

rhhardin said...

I canoed many miles into a heavy wind on Lake Champlain once as a kid. Nobody else was in sight of our little group.

madAsHell said...

My cleaning lady today reproached me for not owning a gun.

Your cleaning lady knows you don't have a firearm?? What else do you share with this woman??

Freeman Hunt said...

Your cleaning lady knows you don't have a firearm?? What else do you share with this woman??

If you have a cleaning lady, she knows everything about you.

tim in vermont said...

Freeman Hunt is right. She has been our cleaning lady for six years. If she wanted to plan a robbery, it wouldn't have to be when we might be home.

JCC said...

@Fernandinande -

Homicide clearance rates are so much BS. They are arrived at by the departments themselves, and no one fact checks them. A department can claim a "clearance" several ways, even without making an arrest, and thus, in effect, say they have solved a murder when in fact no one was ever charged or prosecuted, or they lost the case in court.

It's true that in some murder cases, police do know who dunnit and are ready to go to trial but the moron is already doing life or so for other crimes (or is insane, dead or otherwise unavailable), and the lawyers decide that it's not a good use of the people's money to prosecute someone already - in a sense - spoken for.

But the published numbers are crap, unless you tale a look individually at each case and validate. Some agencies are pretty honest. Others (Chicago PD, for one, springs to mind) are completely dishonest. In small towns, for instance, there are lots of "missing persons" that seem to be pretty obviously murders. No body? No foul seems to be the rule.

Big Mike said...

The end goal for any evasion plan should be to get to a location where you can get easier escape with a bike, motorcycle or car.

Motor vehicles are out because of the roadblocks. Anybody up there missing any mountain bikes?

rcocean said...

"I don't know about smelling socks or gloves, but my older beagle can hear a candy wrapper from like a mile away."

Our dog can her the tinkle of the car keys from a block away. Time for a drive woof woof.

Goju said...

Turner, the Halloween killer, was caught when two certified tracking dogs tracked Lisa French to inside of his house.

When training tracking dogs, do not just drop a sock. The dog very quickly learns to track you to the sock, not to search for the sock. Pointing dogs, in particular, pick up this trick when being field trained with live pigeons. The solution is to throw the sock 10ft or more away from where you are walking.

Funny,no matter what we do, dogs always seem to outsmart us.

Popville said...

This post immediately had me singing Quick Joey Small by Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus. Easily my favorite bubblegum tune.