Almost two weeks have passed since 28-year-old Worland resident Breanna Mitchell went missing, and the Washakie County Sheriff’s Office is transitioning its search efforts from rescue to recovery.
Sheriff Austin Brookwell has kept the Washakie County community updated on the search for Mitchell with regular updates on social media. After several days with no information, Brookwell posted Tuesday that Mitchell remains missing and there are still no clues about where she is.
Cadaver Canine And A Drained Pond
The search continues to be difficult. In addition to rough terrain and summer heat in the area where Mitchell was last seen, there are no clues or signs that would help narrow down the search area. An earlier attempt to use a bloodhound to establish a scent trail was unsuccessful.
With the bloodhound having no success, officials also brought in a K-9 specifically trained to locate human remains.
Every effort is being made to find Mitchell, Brookwell said. When the cadaver dog honed in on a pond within the search area, a diver was called in to search the murky waters, but nothing was found.
So, the sheriff’s office got permission from the Bureau of Land Management to drain the pond with pumps provided by the Worland Fire Department and a private company. Washakie County Search and Rescue spent three days monitoring the pumps.
“After three days of pumping water out, Search and Rescue was able to go through the mud of the pond and did not locate anyone,” Brookwell said.
One Last Search By Land And Phone
Sheriff Brookwell said he has no intention of stopping the search for Mitchell; however, he plans one final attempt at searching inthe area surrounding the Nowater Trail southeast of Worland, where Mitchell's vehicle got stuck on a two-track trail. The vehicle was located roughly 2 miles off the trail, but there were no signs of Mitchell.
“I will be getting in contact with (sheriff departments in other counties) surrounding Washakie County to see if they are willing to send a few members of their Seach and Rescue Squads to give one final grid search of the area,” he said. “If we are unable to locate any more clues or Breanna after this search, I will then suspend the search efforts out there.”
Meanwhile, half of the department’s patrol force is analyzing data from Mitchell’s cellphone. Her phone records were obtained from Verizon Wireless in the hope that any pings from it could lead to an approximate location where she might be located.
Volunteers Make All The Difference
Brookwell said he will make a public call for volunteers who want to assist in the final search of the badlands once the logistics of the search are worked out.
In fact, Brookwell isn’t discouraging anyone who wants to find Mitchell so long as they take proper precautions.
“If civilians want to go out into the area to continue searching, you may,” he posted to the department’s Facebook page. “Please be advised this area is rough terrain, there are many rattlesnakes and is very hot. Bring water, food, and do not get lost out there, as it is very easy to do.
“If you find something that appears human-related or possibly related to this case, DO NOT TOUCH IT or anything around it. Try to get the GPS coordinates of the item and call the Sheriff's Office at 307-347-2242.”
Breanna Mitchell is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds and has green eyes and brown hair.
Andrew Rossi can be reached at email@example.com.