Local News

Rescue team offers free services statewide

Posted March 26, 2009
Updated March 28, 2009

— The search for Granville County mother, Kelly Morris hasn’t turned up any new leads in her disappearance, but it hasn’t been unsuccessful either.

Search and rescue personnel, volunteering their time in the Morris search, identified the need for a team that can offer rapid response, as well as digital and cellular forensic capabilities, to help searches anywhere in the state.

North Carolina Search and Rescue was formed as a result.

“They get a free service at a time when budgets are tight. It’s overwhelming, the amount of manpower for us to pull 30, 40, 50 people together at one time. It’s just a phone call away,” said Nathan Huey, the CEO of N.C. Search and Rescue.

Rescue team offers free services statewide Local group forms rescue team

The group consists of many former law enforcement officers, ex-military, Coast Guard personnel and others, N.C. Search and Rescue’s Mike Craig said.

They can pull together underwater searching equipment, cadaver dogs, low-flying aircraft, computer and cell phone tracking abilities, all within a matter of hours.

Team member Allan Frazier owns a boat repair shop in Franklinton. He and all the others volunteer their time to the effort.

Frazier said the personal gratification of finding a missing person or wanted fugitive is payment enough. He also likes letting his son know that ”there’s more to life than just yourself.”

In addition to expertise, the group applies the latest technology.

“We’re going to be able to walk in with computer forensics and cell phone forensic tools – the same thing the SBI uses and the FBI uses,” said Leslie Denton, who works in the digital forensics division.

Telecommunications expert Ben Levitan helped set up the bugging operation that brought down Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He can think of no better way to spend his retirement than being part of this team.

Levitan is developing a phone that will have a touch-screen display, camera and a push-to-talk feature.

“Once I get these into the hands of the search and rescue team, they all will have a lot less equipment to run around with,” Levitan said.

The team is a full-scale operation that is hoping to help reunite families. Craig said the goal is to put a dent in the number of missing persons in the state.

“Giving life back is the most important gift you can give somebody,” Craig said. “If that’s not good enough of a payoff for you, there’s something seriously wrong with you.”

Now, North Carolina Search and Rescue is working a missing person's case in Australia at the request of an Indiana man’s family.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • nathanhuey Mar 27, 2009

    3 of 3

    While our agency is new, our people are not. Some of us already knew each other but most of us met each other on the Kelly Currin Morris search in Granville County. We are a result of the combining of resources from various agencies.
    Further information can be found on our website, which is still under construction, at http://www.ncrescue.org.

  • nathanhuey Mar 27, 2009

    2 of 3

    One of the things that I have stated and will continue to state is that there are many professional teams throughout our state. We are only one piece of the pie. While we feel that some of our resources are the first of their kind, we will at a moment’s notice make any of our resources available to any search and rescue team within the state provided that we receive approval from the Law Enforcement agency responsible for the search.
    A message to the other search teams, we are here for you. We want to work with you. We don’t care who finds the missing as long as at the end of the day, they are found and we ALL go home safe. That is what this is all about and that is why we ALL do what we do.

  • nathanhuey Mar 27, 2009

    1 of 3

    First off, I want to publically thank Gerald Owens and the staff at WRAL for a job so well done on putting this video together. The quality of their work is unmatched.

    I received a couple of emails this morning and made a few phone calls. The story starts off by saying that we call ourselves the first all-volunteer search and rescue team in our state. That is not correct. We do feel that we have resources available to us that are the first offered within the state for a search and rescue team and we take great pride that we were able to put together a land, water, air, and K9 package the way that we did.