Specialized search and rescue group in Woodland to find answers in cold cases

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WOODLAND, Calif. (KTXL) -- For more than three years, Lola Rios Gutierrez has been learning to live without her son, Enrique.

“You don’t ever heal from it,” she said.

Enrique Rios, 16,  and his 17-year-old friend, Elijah Moore, were murdered in 2016 over three ounces of marijuana.

“My son’s birthday just passed, and Christmas, his favorite holiday,” Gutierrez said. “It’s pretty hard.”

Four men accused in the crime are behind bars, but Gutierrez is far from closure. The boys’ bodies were never found.

“Closure to me would be bringing my son home and having him live with us again but that’s never going to happen,” she said.

She is now hoping a crew from Texas can bring him to her, even if it’s not how she wanted.

A group called Special K-9s Search and Recovery is in the Woodland area this week searching for answers and remains in several cold cases — including this one.

“This is Hannah. She is a field trial golden,“ handler Tracey Jones said.

Hannah is trained to sniff out answers, specifically human remains.

“The dog will work off lead and just start gridding the area until they pick up scent,” Jones said. “They will go to it and do an indication.”

They provide these services across the country working on 60 to 100 cases each year.

“So the family can put them to rest is just a passion of mine,” Jones told FOX40.

El Dorado Search and Rescue team member, Shelli LaMadrid, raised the money to bring the team out here. She knows just how important this work is on a personal level.

“My ex-girlfriend, Kathy LaMadrid, has been missing over 15 years now. She’s the reason why I do what I do,” LaMadrid said.

Her way of giving back to other families going through what she’s had to. And while they haven’t found anything yet, they won’t give up hope.

After all, Gutierrez is depending on them.

“At least bringing him home or doing a church service for him or something would be a little bit better, so he could actually rest in peace,” Gutierrez said.

While in Woodland, the group will also be searching for answers in the case of Michaela Joy Garecht, who was 9 years old when she went missing in 1988.

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