It took police nearly 48 hours to search the area where they ultimately found the Lewiston mass shooter’s body, despite public records linking the property to an address associated with the shooter being readily available online.
The body of Lewiston mass shooter Robert R. Card II was found Friday night in a trailer at the Maine Recycling Center where he used to work. Maine police searched the recycling center twice but did not check the “overflow lot,” Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said Saturday morning.
The owner of the property gave police tips for where to look because he knew Card had worked there, Sauschuck said. Card voluntarily left Maine Recycling Center last year, the company said.
But searching locations affiliated with known addresses of suspects — as well as a wide perimeter around those locations — is best practice when conducting manhunts, police with manhunt experience in other states told the Bangor Daily News. Following such standards may have resolved the manhunt and ended the lockdowns in Lewiston and surrounding towns earlier.
The overflow lot where Card’s body was found is clearly owned by Maine Recycling Center, public records from the Androscoggin County Registry of Deeds website show.
Lisbon police searched the business part of the recycling center, and then a joint tactical team searched “later that afternoon,” Sauschuck said. He did not clarify if he was talking about Thursday or Friday.
“Nobody had any idea that across the street, across Capital Avenue, there’s an overflow parking lot which is recycling corporation property,” Sauschuck said.
The two properties are around 400 feet apart and across the street from each other. The recycling center’s main property is 61 Capital Ave., in the Lisbon Industrial Park, which was the property searched twice prior to the discovery of Card’s body. The company also owns two additional lots at 45 Capital Ave., where Card’s body was ultimately found.
Police have not said what time Card died. He was found around 7:45 p.m. Friday, wearing the same clothing as he was at the time of the shooting.
“The Maine Medical Examiner’s Office uses the time an individual is located, as their official time of death,” Office Administrator Lindsey Chasteen said when asked for Card’s time of death.
There is no further information to release, Chasteen added.
Getting as much information as possible in terms of connected property, building layouts and infrastructure is important, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Adam Reed said. He added that he did not know the specifics of Maine’s search and could not comment on decisions police made here.
He was part of the police search in Pennsylvania for two weeks in September for convicted murderer Danilo Cavalcante, who escaped from prison.
“On the fly that might be easier said than done in some circumstances, but obtaining as much information about that property is going to be pretty important,” Reed said.
When police found an area Cavalcante may have been at, they searched surrounding areas, Reed said. The perimeter of how far they search depends on the newness of the information, if that person could still be in the area and where police have already searched, he added.
Areas are sometimes searched twice in case a person doubled back, but that’s not preferred, Reed said.
“You do your absolute best to just search one place and move on to the next,” he said.
When police in Hampton, Georgia, were searching for a man suspected of a mass shooting this July, they did search some areas multiple times, Hampton Police Chief James Turner said.
Tips brought Georgia police to a racetrack that had wooded areas around it. When asked if police searched the surrounding areas, Turner said, “Yes ma’am we did.”
“Exhaustive searches is about the best I can explain them,” Turner said.