Gladwyne, PA — Cadaver dogs from the Greater Philadelphia Search & Rescue Team joined the Gladwyne Fire Company Water Rescue Unit Sunday, December 9, searching for a missing Villanova, PA man. The man's car was found Wednesday at 1:47 PM partially submerged in the Schuylkill River.
Geoff Partridge, 37, of Villanova, PA, went missing on Wednesday, December 5 at around 12:15 pm.
The car was submerged but the rear end of the vehicle was still showing when it was noticed by a Philadelphia resident.
The driver's side door was opened when the Gladwyne Fire Company Water Rescue Team got to the vehicle. The police have recovered Partridge’s car keys, cell phone, and wallet. Foul play is not suspected by the police
The LMPD’s working theory is that the man was washed from the vehicle by the fast flowing river’s current after the car plunged into the frigid water. The water temperature is low enough that a body could be submerged and unless found may not be spotted until the temperature rises in the spring.
Police on the scene reported no signs that anyone escaped the river after the vehicle hurtled off the river’s bank and plummeted into the inhospitable waters.
“The cadaver dogs have a unique sense that allows them to find humans when they are concealed, even when they are underwater,” said Chief Mark Hopkins of the Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue team.
Hopkin’s team included two German Shepherds and a Beagle along with 15 humans. Hopkins stated that the beagle was one of the best.
“This little dog, Flash is one of the best but the handler is as an equal part of the picture," added Hopkins. "Flash can find bodies if they are there nearby. We have had him all over the tri-state area finding people.”
Flash, a ten-year-old beagle was not introduced to the area where the car went into the water but the dog did show signs that it recognized where the car went in as it traveled by that spot in the rescue craft. In Cadaver dog speak “changes in behavior” are indicators of the dog recognizing a significant area during a search.
Partridge's wife, Jill Turanski, reported Geoff missing to the police, and later that afternoon authorities found the vehicle.
Roughly 27 persons, 3 dogs, and 5 rescue boats were employed for the search. The local team from Gladwyne Fire Company used two boats, the Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue unit provided 3 boats. Detective-Sergeant Michael Vice of the Lower Merion Police Department oversaw the entire operation.
The search was wrapped up after about 5 hours in the cold dreary December weather.
The TAPinto team is following this developing story and will keep you informed of any updates.
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