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Out-of-state search dogs join effort to find Maui woman

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WAILUKU >> A pair of dogs with an out-of-state search-and-rescue team has been brought to Maui to help look for a woman who disappeared three years ago.

Special K-9s Search and Recovery came to Hawaii from Texas to search for Moreira “Mo” Monsalve. Handlers brought two dogs and started the search Thursday.

The team will spend five days in Hawaii on the self-funded trip.

Monsalve was last seen in January 2014 at her ex-boyfriend’s residence. Her daughter reported her missing after not hearing from her for two days.

Personal belongings of Monsalve’s, including her purse, were recovered from a trash bin a few days after she was reported missing. No arrests have been made in her disappearance.

“I want to find Moreira, bring her home, find out what happened to her and bring some justice,” said Leslie Monsalve-Jones, one of Monsalve’s sisters. “The way I look at it is that there’s someone on this island that knows something or actually harmed her. We’re gonna keep searching until we find her, and I think right now we have a very good team searching.”

The two dogs searching for her are cadaver and forensic canines, trained to locate and alert handlers to the scent of human remains.

“We try to bring closure for the victims, but it’s never a simple case,” dog handler Ja’Na Bickel said. “This one here is not like the 25 years’ worth of cases I’ve done. You have to go in thinking that this is going to go different.”

The search team also plans to keep an eye out for signs of camper Laura Vogel, who disappeared in 2010.

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