Highly Trained US Cadaver Dogs Engage in Search for Brian Ahern in the Miramichi Woods

Cadaver Dogs Engage in Search for Brian Ahern

Last Updated on June 9, 2023 by Fumipets

Highly Trained US Cadaver Dogs Engage in Search for Brian Ahern in the Miramichi Woods


For the past five weeks, every morning has greeted Cory Ahern with the same daunting question: “Will today be the day we find him?”

Yet, each day has ended with the same disheartening report from the unwavering team of family and friends scouring the woods of Miramichi— Brian Ahern, his 76-year-old father who has Alzheimer’s, remains unfound, leaving no trace behind.

Ahern’s family has been painstakingly combing through an estimated 1,500 acres near their family home, the last known location of Brian before he vanished on the afternoon of April 29.

A neighbor was the last to see him. With no clues forthcoming, the family is understandably distraught. “It’s heart-wrenching,” says Cory.

In the face of such adversity, a beacon of hope has emerged from across the border. Two groups of volunteer search-and-rescue dog teams from the United States — five from Maine Search and Rescue Dogs and three from the Massachusetts Canine Response Team — are slated to commence their search operations on Wednesday.

These dogs are specially trained in wilderness air scent search, tracking, water search, and human remains detection.

Dogs Engage in Search for Brian Ahern in the Miramichi Woods

With these expert teams entering the scene, Cory is hopeful that closure is on the horizon. “We’re thrilled because we feel this might be our final opportunity to locate him,” he explains.

The mystery surrounding his father’s disappearance has left the family in a state of uncertainty, always wondering. The ability to finally lay him to rest, to hold his funeral and burial, would at least offer the solace of knowing where he is.

Brian Ahern, a cherished father of three and a loving grandfather to four, was last spotted on foot, crossing Highway 126 and stepping onto a trail leading directly to the family homestead on Ahern Road.

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His grandparents constructed this homestead in 1904. His son Cory believes that Brian could have missed the turn-off to their house and continued straight, wandering deeper into the woods.

In response to Brian’s disappearance, the family alerted the Miramichi Police Force the following day. The response was immediate and robust.

Dogs Engage in Search for Brian Ahern in the Miramichi Woods

Numerous officers and approximately 30 members of the Miramichi Ground Search and Rescue dedicated two straight days to the search, with the assistance of several conservation officers, members of the Department of Justice and Public Safety, an RCMP dog, and a police drone.

Cory’s online plea for help rallied hundreds of individuals in their close-knit community to the cause. As time passed, though, the number of daily volunteers reduced, leaving only a dedicated few consistently joining the search. Despite the dwindling numbers, the family is grateful for their commitment.

It was during this trying time that Cory’s aunt, Jacqueline Murphy, stumbled upon the Maine search team during an internet search for potential aid.

Since the team only conducts searches at the request of law enforcement or responsible government agencies, Cory reached out to Deputy Chief Brian Cummings of the Miramichi police to submit an official request.

Cummings expressed his complete faith in the Maine team, given their track record of success in past missions. The force has even agreed to cover their expenses for three days, estimated at under $10,000.

“We are deeply grateful to them,” said Cummings, underscoring the fact that these are all volunteers performing “extraordinary work.”

Dogs Engage in Search for Brian Ahern in the Miramichi Woods

Even as the community continues to rally behind the Ahern family, Deputy Chief Cummings remains cautiously hopeful. “Every day, someone asks me if there’s any news on Brian or if we have any idea where he could be,” he shares.

Reflecting the close-knit nature of the Miramichi community, he adds, “Miramichi may be a city, but with a population of only 18,500, it’s more like a small town where everyone knows each other. This situation has impacted us all, and we are united in our wish to bring Brian home.”

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It’s not the first time the Maine team has been enlisted by the Miramichi police. In June 2003, the team’s dogs assisted in the discovery of the remains of Maria Tanasichuk in the woods off Route 11. The subsequent investigation led to the conviction of her husband, David Tanasichuk, for first-degree murder.

Their reputation for success, coupled with the absence of local cadaver dogs, underscores the importance of their role. Cummings notes that New Brunswick has only one volunteer cadaver dog, stationed in St. Stephen.

“We owe them such a debt of gratitude,” said Cummings, reinforcing his high regard for these individuals and their invaluable contributions.

As the search for Brian Ahern continues, the Miramichi community waits, bound together by hope, compassion, and a common goal — to bring Brian home.

Each dawn brings with it renewed hope that today may finally be the day their friend, neighbor, and family member is found. This saga is a poignant reminder of the power of community and the enduring spirit of humanity that shines brightest in times of adversity.

The involvement of the US dog teams, the devotion of local law enforcement and community members, and the undying resolve of Brian Ahern’s family showcase the best of collective efforts.

While this is a trying time for all involved, the united front displayed in Miramichi is a testament to the indomitable human spirit.

The dog teams are slated to commence their search on Wednesday morning. As they undertake their critical mission, they do so with the heartfelt support of a community that eagerly awaits their success and the closure it would bring. Here’s to hoping their efforts will bring Brian home.

Remember, Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects millions worldwide. For those who want to learn more or seek help, resources like the Alzheimer’s Association can provide support and information.

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