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Authorities find carcass of dog swept away with Santa Ana City College student

January 5, 2010 |  1:46 pm

Kealie, the yellow Labrador that was swept away with a Santa Ana City College baseball player near Brea Creek, was found dead in a flood control channel, animal control officials said today.

A resident contacted animal control authorities Monday to report the carcass in a channel about a mile away from where James Wernke's body was found facedown Dec. 15 in a heavily wooded creek bed, said Capt. Aaron Reyes of Southeast Area Animal Control.

"There didn’t appear to be any blunt force trauma,” Reyes said. “But the dog was very swollen and very waterlogged. There were no broken limbs.”

Reyes said the full extent of its injuries would not be known until a necropsy--an autopsy for animals–is performed. The Fullerton Police Department and the Orange County Coroner's office would have to request such a procedure, and they have not done so yet, Reyes said.

Like Wernke’s case, the search for Kealie was frantic. On the Facebook group “Help Find Kealie,” downloadable fliers were posted, Craigslist links were shared and numerous tips and information poured in from more than 620 members, including Wernke's girlfriend, Sami Bock.

One post suggested checking nearby flood channels because the creek water could have been powerful and high enough to trap the dog.

Wernke, 21, of Fullerton, vanished Dec. 12 while walking Kealie, the Bock family dog, in Fullerton. Wernke took the Labrador out for a walk around 1:30 p.m., returned about 2:15 p.m. and left again with the dog.

An autopsy performed on the Santa Ana College baseball player was inconclusive, pending toxicological testing, which could take up to six to eight weeks, police said.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

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