September 30, 2013

Joint effort locates missing woman

WEST CHAZY — When his wife didn’t return home from an afternoon walk in the woods, David Scales called 911 from his Route 22 home in West Chazy.

That contact set wheels in motion that are very well oiled, for after 9/11, local emergency services and law enforcement became part of a renewed national effort to improve inter-agency communications, according to Clinton County Director of Emergency Services Eric Day.

“Both face-to-face verbal communications, actually working with each other, as well as the technology and with (more sophisticated) radios and whatnot — we’ve been the students of that schooling.”


So with limited daylight left for the search for Helen Scales — whose husband called 911 at about 5 p.m. that day earlier this month — county dispatchers immediately transferred the call to State Police, who began a missing-person search for her. 

State Police also contacted the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department and the State Department of Environmental Conservation for assistance, he said. 

“An initial search of the surrounding areas was negative,” State Police Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishman said in an email.


The next step was a grid search with help from multiple fire departments and State Police K-9 handler Matthew Ross, she said.

A helicopter from U.S. Customs and Border Protection scanned the area from the sky in an attempt to locate Mrs. Scales, who is 85.

Clinton County Deputy Fire Coordinator and Chazy Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Michael Cahoon and other deputy fire coordinators were called in as well, Day said.

Border Protection employees used all-terrain vehicles and night-vision equipment to search the woods after sunset, he said.

West Chazy Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Kevin Girard, who worked with other department heads to coordinate the search, said his department was called out at about 8:30 p.m.

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