K-9 leads police to Chester County homicide victim


When police in Chester County last week realized the victim in a murderous love triangle may have been buried, but weren't sure exactly where, they turned to a local K-9 search and rescue team for help. 

As he's done before, Falco found the victim. In this case it was 33-year-old Kevin Mengel Jr. who police say was killed by his wife and her lover.

"We were able to identify and locate the victim by the use of a cadaver dog that was brought to us by the Search and Rescue Dogs of Pennsylvania in Malvern," said West Goshen Police Chief Michael Carroll. "I can tell you without the use of this dog, we would not have been able to find this body."

The non-profit group – which dispatches dogs to disaster sites in Pennsylvania and beyond - works various kinds of missing person cases with success.

Founder Vicki Wooters said she was called Friday and sent out two search dogs. It was Falco, a 7-year-old German Shepherd, along with handler Chuck Wooters found the body buried in a deep grave on the grounds of Marple-Newtown High School in Delaware County.

“This is a case similar to most; the police have a situation and they call us,” said Wooters, who started the organization in 1999. “They are trained to find any graves of any human bodies.”

She declined to give specifics of the how the body was found, citing the ongoing investigation.

Falco is a celebrated search and rescue dog (he has his own trading card). Several years ago he located a missing West Chester man who was alive and Falco will be featured in an upcoming book about the 2007 discovery of the body of a hiker missing in the mountains Idaho for a year.

Wooters said the group is supported by private donations and is always looking for new canine recruits, as well as human volunteers to play missing people for training exercises.