Grandmother: Police Ignored Report, 'Disrespected' Amber

Sheila Welch Says Dog Team Picked Up Trail 6 Months Ago

Amber Dubois' grandmother said she is bouncing between sorrow and anger -- with that anger directed at the Escondido Police Department.

"She should be a sophomore in high school now. But she's not," said Sheila Welch, Amber's grandmother.

Welch told 10News she's a mixed-bag of emotions. She's sad for Amber, but angry at the police because she said they did not consider information gathered by privately hired scent-sniffing dogs.

"They disrespected my granddaughter by ignoring the report," said Welch.

The report showed the dogs had followed Amber's trail from Escondido to the Pala area last August.

When the announcement was made this weekend that Amber's remains were found in the Pala area, it outraged Welch, who had hired the dog team from Virginia.

Welch said a full report was given to Escondido police six months ago.

"And if it turns out that Amber was alive at that point in time … it would be an absolutely unforgivable error in judgment for them to have ignored it," said Welch.

Escondido police did not return 10News' calls.

In the meantime, Welch said she is agonizing over the loss of her granddaughter but wants to make sure it never happens again.

"And how many times are we going to continue to let this happen? Whose child is it going to be next?" said Welch.

Search Team Captain Details Search Sarah Platts of the VK9 Scent Specific Search and Recovery Unit told 10News from her Virginia home that it took her dogs less than a day to follow Amber's trail to Pala.

"That's where we went. That's where we ended up at and that's what we relayed to the police department," said Platts.

Platts said her team started their search at Amber's Escondido house the first night they were in San Diego County. The dogs took them from the home, past the school and onto Interstate 15. The team put the dogs in a truck, drove north and got out at every exit to search.

"Then we just started working down the interstate until we reached the Pala exit. At that point the dogs wanted to exit the road," said Platts.

The team worked their way inland to a spot near where police found Amber's remains.

"It's always questionable when it's an asset that's brought in by the family. They're held a little bit suspect by the police versus an asset the police department themselves have brought in," said Platts.

Platts said Escondido police never responded to her report.

"If they considered us credible, I don't know. I didn't quite get that feeling that they were very interested in what we had done, though," said Platts.