12/04/06 — Three Wayne County K-9 officers participate in hunt for missing Greenvile man's body

View Archive

Three Wayne County K-9 officers participate in hunt for missing Greenvile man's body

By Lee Williams
Published in News on December 4, 2006 1:45 PM

GREENVILLE -- Three K-9 officers from the Wayne County Sheriff's Department are being hailed as heroes after they tracked down a missing man whose body was found in the Tar River.

Robert Daniel Leggett, 25, of Greenville, was reported missing from a friend's apartment on Avery Street, said Shari Dennison, spokeswoman for the Greenville Police Department.

"The victim was last seen leaving the Avery Street house Saturday evening at approximately 7 p.m. after he had reportedly been drinking heavily with friends," Ms. Dennison said of the Nov. 25 incident.

His parents filed a missing person's report after he failed to show up for work at a construction company in Rocky Mount Nov. 27, and a search for the Greenville man ensued.

An initial search for Leggett Nov. 28 yielded no results, officials said. However, the search resumed Wednesday. Members of the Pitt County Sheriff's Office and the Greenville Police Department called on the Wayne County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit to help.

Wayne County Sheriff's Deputy Randy Thompson and his K-9 officer, Linda; Deputy Jason Hill and his K-9 officer, Cora; Deputy Billy Wells and his K-9 officer, Remco, helped comb the Tar River to find the body Wednesday.

Linda, a cadaver dog, was the first to indicate on a scent, alerting officials to Leggett's body, Thompson said.

"My dog was on the boat," Thompson said. "If you look at the dog, they will show you exactly where to put the boat at. She carried us back to the same spot every single time."

Cora was the second dog who alerted at the spot, Thompson said.

"Deputy Billy Wells' dog, Remco, was actually searching on land, and he jumped into the same spot where our dogs had already indicated on," making a big splash, Thompson said.

For their work, the dogs were rewarded with tennis balls, he said.

"After they alerted, Pitt County Sheriff's officials used an underwater camera and placed it right where the dogs indicated at, and they found his body," he said.

A group of tree branches marked the spot where Leggett's body was found, police spokeswoman Ms. Dennison said.

"Although the victim was found under over six feet of water, all three K-9s alerted to the location," Ms. Dennison said. "Rescuers were able to quickly recover the body of Robert Daniel Leggett. Detectives are still waiting on autopsy results to determine the exact cause of death."

Thompson beamed as he patted Linda on the head for a job well done. Thompson said this was the first time -- outside of training -- that Linda, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, had completed an underwater cadaver search.

"The training paid off," Thompson said.