A task force chasing Spokane’s serial killer used a specially equipped helicopter to search for more victims this week, authorities said.
On Thursday and Friday, crews flew the helicopter over areas where the killer abandoned some of the victims. They also searched other rural areas that may serve as dump sites.
The helicopter has infrared sensors that detect changes in temperature on the ground.
Detectives hoped the equipment might pick up heat being generated by a decomposing body, said sheriff’s Lt. Doug Silver, a task force commander.
“It’s a shot in the dark, but we thought we had to try it,” he said Friday.
Silver would not say if any new bodies were found, or where the task force got the helicopter. Neither the city police department nor the county sheriff’s office owns the aircraft.
Detectives believe the same person or people committed five murders in Spokane and one in Tacoma since last November.
The victims - all women who worked as prostitutes or used drugs - were shot in the head and abandoned in out-of-the-way places.
Two sets of bodies were dumped near each other, leading detectives to believe the remains of other victims may be nearby.
Laurie Ann Wason, 31, and Shawn McClenahan, 39, were found in the same overgrown gravel pit in east Spokane. Darla Sue Scott, 29, and Shawn Johnson, 36, were discovered about a mile apart in Hangman Valley.
The task force is still searching for a woman who fits the victim profile. Linda Marie Maybin, 34, hasn’t been seen since Nov. 22.