GARVIN COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A lack of communication with family and friends by suspect, Kameron Jenkins, prompted law enforcement to take a second look at the site of a shootout between Jenkins and Cleveland County Deputy Sean Steadman. The U.S. Marshals Task Force told News 4 Monday it had received several tips and sightings but nothing was concrete.
Members of the task force and agencies involved in the search held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to explain why they called for a “grid” search of the area.
“The lack of any intelligence coming in to support that he had left the area or that he was still in the area led us to have a more thorough search of that area,” said Major Joe Williams, with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Dozens of law enforcement agencies had been searching for Jenkins for a week, after he was involved in a shootout with Deputy Steadmen along I-35 in Garvin County.
An innocent bystander was killed by a stray bullet during the exchange. Gwaun Frierson was working on construction nearby when he was hit by gunfire.
Less than 200 yards from where the shootout took place was where a cadaver dog named Ace picked up the scent of a body. It was buried deep beneath thick brush and grass.
“The brush and the undergrowth where he was discovered, you literally had to crawl and move it to find the body,” said Williams.
The dog that found the body was with Ground Zero, an emergency K9 training organization, started by the Switzer Family. Becky Switzer said she originally came up with the idea of training search and rescue dogs following the Oklahoma City bombing. But the idea did not evolve into a reality until after the 2013 tornadoes.
OHP has used Ground Zero in search and rescue situations often which was why they were called out to aid in the search Tuesday for Jenkins.
“We started basically from the center and we’re working out to other sectors,” said one of Ace’s handlers.
The dog searched for about an hour and 20 minutes near the shooting site before it focused further south. He suddenly started barking, signaling he found something.
“That search lasted about 10 minutes,” said another one of Ace’s handlers. “As soon as we found the body, he (OHP) radioed through, and they took over.”
Law enforcement on the ground for the past week said blood hounds from the Department of Corrections were on scene in the hours after the shooting but weather affected progress in locating Jenkins.
“As they caught a scent, the winds kicked up and kind of moved him off a little bit,” said Jim Mullett, Garvin County Sheriff. “Then the rain came in and we lost the scent.”
The Medical Examiner will determine how Jenkins died and issue a report, which could take two weeks.