Tim Miller said his people might be able find Aniah Blanchard, but he stopped short of a guarantee.
“I told the family, I told detectives I cannot promise you that we’re going to find her, but I can promise you we’re going to bring in the best resources and do the best job we can do,” Miller said. “The only results are up to God.”
Miller’s Texas Equu-Search search and recovery team announced Monday that it has joined state and local investigators in efforts to find the 19-year-old student, reported missing Oct. 24.
“I’m optimistic that we’re going to get her located and I stay optimistic on every search that we do,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of success.”
Auburn Police Division spokesman Capt. Lorenza Dorsey would not confirm the news, but he did acknowledge that outside groups have joined the search.
“As part of the ongoing joint investigation by the Auburn Police Division, the Montgomery Police Department and 11 other local, state and federal law enforcement partners comprising the task force, we are utilizing various professional search groups and/or organizations to assist in determining the whereabouts of Aniah,” Dorsey said Tuesday. “We are using every available resource to explore areas of concern stemming from the investigation and will be doing such for an undetermined period of time.”
Texas EquuSearch was founded in August 2000 by Miller to provide volunteer horse-mounted search and recovery for lost and missing persons. “I didn’t start EquuSearch because I wanted to,” he said.
The organization was born out of Miller’s own tragedy, the murder of his daughter. Laura Miller was abducted and murdered in North Galveston County, Texas in 1984. Her body wasn’t recovered until February 1986.
Since founding Texas EquuSearch, Miller and his team of 1,000-plus volunteers have helped return more than 400 missing people safely and have recovered the remains of 238 people. They have been involved in such famous searches as Caylee Anthony in 2008 and the search for Natalee Holloway in Aruba.
“We’ve learned a lot of stuff over the years, gained a lot of really neat resources,” Miller said.
Their methods don’t just include horseback; volunteers also search on foot and on ATVs. Boats, divers and sonar equipment are used in water searches. Planes, helicopters and drones with specialized cameras also look in from the sky.
Auburn police won’t disclose where it is searching, or intends to search. Miller said Texas EquuSearch spent Tuesday mapping and planning, a day later than he had hoped to start.
Right now, he is only concerned about locating Blanchard.
“This isn’t about me, this is about Aniah and our efforts,” said Miller, whose nonprofit organization is solely funded by donations. “We’re only as good as our next search and Aniah’s our next search.”
Auburn police continue to ask and encourage anyone who saw Blanchard or her vehicle “during the critical period or has any information as to her whereabouts to call the tip line,” Dorsey said.
Those with information can call the Auburn Police Division Detective Section at 334-501-3140, the anonymous tip line at 334-246-1391 or the 24 hour non-emergency number at 334-501-3100.