The volunteer responsible for finding the remains of murdered nursing student Michelle Le on Saturday morning was the mother of a young girl who was murdered just two years ago. Carrie McGonigle of San Diego tells KRON4 that she spends time volunteering in efforts to find missing children, and she had brought along a search dog in training whom she named Amber, after her deceased daughter whose remains were not found for thirteen months after her disappearance. "I was taking her leash off to attach to her harness, which is how we train, when Amber unexpectedly bolted down the trail," McGonigle says. "I called several times for her to return which she did not."
She narrates the tale of the discovery of the remains, which happened quickly after starting the search at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with a group of about 50 other volunteers. Amber honed in on the remains quickly and signaled to McGonigle, who praised the dog and quickly alerted an officer on the team.
McGonigle founded Team Amber Rescue, and helps organize searches like this to bring closure to victims' families. She says finding Le's remains has helped her overcome her fear that she would not be able to handle an experience like this, and that she knows that "God, Michelle, and Amber needed [her]."