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Published: Thursday, 8/21/2003

Dog-handler faces 10-count federal indictment

BY ROBIN ERB
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Yesterday, a federal 10-count indictment against Sandra Anderson confirmed much of the FBI's case rests on searches conducted here.

In one, a human toe was found near Delta, Ohio, in April, 2002, while investigators searched for a 22-year-old man who had lost control of his vehicle and wandered off, apparently disoriented.

Two other cases are most likely homicides investigated by Toledo police, though in both, material apparently found by Ms. Anderson's dog, Eagle, was never pivotal in the investigation, local investigators said.

“We had used her to search in a lot of cases,” Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates said, “but I don't believe we used anything she ever found.”

Ms. Anderson, whose doberman-mix is nationally known as a sort of Wonder Dog among search dogs, participated in searches around the world for missing children, murder victims, and disoriented seniors. She has searched for mass graves in Central America and for victims after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Yesterday, Ms. Anderson was indicted on 10 charges - five of falsifying and concealing material facts from federal officers, three counts of obstruction of justice, and two counts of lying to law-enforcement officials - according to a statement released by the Justice Department.

If convicted, Ms. Anderson could receive up to 65 years in prison.

FBI agents arrested Ms. Anderson, 43, in April, 2002, as she participated in a search in northern Michigan.

The indictment says the Midland, Mich., resident planted human remains and fiber evidence during that search and planted remains during a search at the Proud Lake Recreation Center in Michigan in January, 2002.

Just days before her arrest, Ms. Anderson was in Fulton County to help search for the body of John Carney. Eagle apparently “indicated” on what appeared to be a big toe submerged in the muck near the crash site.

But when Mr. Carney's body was found two weeks later partially submerged in a creek, his toes were intact and his feet still in boots.

Fulton County sheriff's Lt. Bob Albright said he was not surprised when he received a call yesterday from the FBI saying that the indictment had been filed.

He said he was summoned to Detroit while a federal grand jury considered the matter, but he never was called to testify.

Mr. Carney's death eventually was ruled an accident. The federal indictment has no bearing on it, Lieutenant Albright said.

He said federal investigators told him they had identified the source of the toe, but he declined further details.

Ms. Anderson could not be reached for comment last night.

But in an interview last month with The Blade, she said she had never planted evidence. “There's no logical reason to plant evidence,” she said, citing several of Eagle's successful searches.

Two other cases cited yesterday appear to be homicides investigated by Toledo police.

According to the Justice Department statement, two cases involved searches in Lindsey, Ohio, and Monroe County, Michigan.

Toledo police confirmed that they were questioned about searches in those locations.

Near Lindsey, police were searching a residence for clues in the disappearance of Brenda Borowski, a Swanton mother of two. Though Ms. Borowski's body never was found, her ex-boyfriend, John Noser, eventually was convicted of murder in the case.

Toledo investigators also had been questioned about material found during a search in Monroe County in connection with the shooting death of Aaron Jaquillard. Mr. Jaquillard's body was found in his sport utility vehicle on Lotus Drive near Hagman Road in April, 2001.

Sgt. Steve Forrester, a lead investigator in the Borowski case, declined to offer details on the evidence that was turned over to the FBI.

“But we never used any of [Ms. Anderson's] material,” he said. “That's important to know.”

Until the allegations arose, local investigators had been so impressed with Eagle's work that Mrs. Bates and Toledo police Chief Mike Navarre had considered buying a search dog.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.



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