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Dog scents something in search for Sjodin

A bloodhound picked up a scent Thursday that is "a definite point of interest" near where a shoe thought to belong to Dru Sjodin was found two months ago near Crookston, the dog's handler said.

A bloodhound picked up a scent Thursday that is "a definite point of interest" near where a shoe thought to belong to Dru Sjodin was found two months ago near Crookston, the dog's handler said.

Denny Adams said his dog, Calamity Jane, nearly dragged him across boulders and up a hill from the Red Lake River following a scent.

It's the first such lead by the bloodhound who has spent several days over the past month searching with Adams and Sjodin family and friends for the 22-year-old UND student from Pequot Lakes, Minn.

Authorities say she was kidnapped Nov. 22 from a Grand Forks mall parking lot by Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 50-year-old convicted sex offender from Crookston. He has denied any involvement and is in the Grand Forks jail under $5 million bond awaiting a March 5 court appearance on the kidnapping charge.

Two-day search Adams and Calamity Jane spent Wednesday and Thursday with Bob Heales, a Denver private investigator, and Chris Lang, Dru's boyfriend, on the Red Lake River under the U.S. Highway 75 bridge on the west side of Crookston. They were joined by Dru's father, Allan Sjodin, on Thursday.

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The searchers drilled holes in the 3-foot-deep ice, hoping to release any scent from the water for Calamity Jane to detect.

"The dog picked up the scent when we were down on the river to check the holes this afternoon," Heales said Thursday night. "The wind switched, to come from the southwest, and she just all of a sudden turned her head, put her nose up in the air, and started taking off, going up the hill. Denny had all he could do to get up the hill and keep up with her. She was very focused and kept the leash very tight."

The dog ended up on top of the hill at a red, steel-walled pole barn owned by the city of Crookston.

"She is very interested in that area," Heales said. "She circled it a couple of times, went up to the door a couple of times and really wanted to go in."

Nothing found The searchers called law enforcement authorities. A Crookston police officer and two deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office responded, and the building was opened and searched.

Nothing was found, and darkness came, Adams said.

"But it's a definite point of interest, and we are going to go back there when we have a lot of daylight," Adams said Thursday.

"Her route up there was over rocks and boulders and Al (Sjodin) and I had a hard time even keeping up with her," Adams said. "She took us to the building, and she wanted to go in.

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The building is used by the city to store impounded vehicles and bicycles.

The hound Calamity Jane is 10 and a veteran of many searches for humans around the country and overseas, said Adams, who owns Dakota Territory Search Dogs in Conde, S.D., near Aberdeen.

He and his dog helped search for Eric Rudolph in North Carolina in 1998 as part of the FBI's manhunt for the man later arrested in the bombings of abortion clinics and the Olympic Park in Atlanta.

The large, mournful-looking hound has followed for miles the scent of a human who has traveled down an interstate highway or city street, inside a vehicle, Adams said.

"She is a scent-discriminatory dog; she looks for human scent," Adams said. "She is really able to work around a lot of animal scent and doesn't really pay any attention to it. We have come across dead animals, and she completely ignores them."

Even the American Crystal Sugar Co. beet plant, just south of the bridge, was not a distraction to Calamity Jane, Adams said.

Humans, when alive, each have a distinctive scent and when dead, tend to have a similar scent linked to decomposition, Adams said. Calamity Jane has been given Dru's scent and also will "alert," to any deceased human, Adams said.

It could be scent from a shoe or Sjodin's cell phone which has never been found, or from a human body, that drew Calamity Jane up the hill, Adams said.

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"We don't know if it's anything or not, but definitely the dog was very interested."

The wind change at the time his dog picked up that scent means the scent could have been carried from farther to the southwest, Adams said.

"But the wind was blowing, so the scent could have come from anywhere up on top there."

"It was a strong point of interest," Adams said. "Not what I could call an alert. But something triggered her to go up there."

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