YOUNGSTOWN - Police have struck out again using cadaver dogs in the search for the gravesite of a man whose skull was found on the East Side last month, but they have changed tactics in their search.
Chief Rod Foley said Wednesday that the department pinned a GPS device on the dog that found the skull and other bones originally off of Vaughn Street in a heavily wooded area of the East Side Feb. 16. That dog has since retrieved other bones from the skeleton.
Last week the Mahoning County Coroner's office was able to determine the skull and other bones belonged to David Allen Jackson, 26, who had been missing since late November.
Police are treating Jackson's death as a homicide, Foley said.
Jackson's skull was found by a dog belonging to James Dutting, who lives on the end of Vaughn Street in the Sharon Line area of the East Side, which is a heavily wooded area. The dog left the skull in Dutting's yard.
Investigators are still searching for the place where Jackson's body fell when he was killed, both to give as much back to his family as possible and also to see if they can find any more evidence about how he died.
The department has been assisted by cadaver dogs from the Geauga County Sheriff's Office, but they have not been able to find anything.
Foley said they will now check the device attached to Dutting's dog to see if they can track it to Jackson's resting place.
''We're hoping if the dog goes by memory, it'll go back to that spot,'' Foley said.
In December, a shootout at a Landsdowne Boulevard store was linked to Jackson's disappearance, police said.
Reuben Williams, 32, was charged with a Nov. 30 robbery in which a woman lost her SUV and cash. Police think Jackson was with Williams when that robbery occurred, and he disappeared shortly after.
Williams also was suspected of taking part in the shootout, in which two men walked into the store and pulled guns on two other men, and all four fired at each other. No one was injured.
Although Williams was arrested, a check of court records in both municipal and common pleas court shows he has yet to be charged formally for the Nov. 30 robbery.
Foley said detectives have a theory about what happened to Jackson, so finding as much evidence as they can will help prove that theory.
''If we can find the body, we can corroborate what we've learned so far,'' Foley said.
Foley also said finding the rest of the body is crucial in determining how Jackson was killed.