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Dorner: Sheriff's officials defend cabin-to-cabin search

February 13, 2013 |  5:33 pm

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday defended their cabin-to-cabin search for fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner.

Sheriff's officials have come under criticism for failing to find Dorner until two cleaning service workers stumbled upon a suspect resembling the fugitive. The suspect tied up the workers and fled. One of the workers escaped and called 911. Later, law enforcement officials spotted him and pursued him to another cabin, where he died after a shootout with police and a fire.

Sheriff's officials said they had extensively canvassed the neighborhood shortly after Dorner's burning car was found Thursday.

PHOTOS: Manhunt for ex-LAPD officer

“We did an extensive search of that area,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Steve Kovensky, who was in charge of the search effort. Kovensky said officials searched each cabin to determine whether it was secure, whether it had been broken into or if anyone was home when it was searched.

“All the cabins in that particular area had teams of deputies to check to see if there was any entry and if we could make contact,” Kovensky told reporters.

He said there were no signs of forced entry at the cabin on the 1200 block of Club View Drive and near where law enforcement held news conferences on the Dorner manhunt. Kovensky said that on Thursday, just after Dorner’s vehicle was found burning nearby, “at the start of the investigation, we don’t believe there was anyone in that cabin.”

TIMELINE: Manhunt for ex-LAPD officer

No one had been renting the cabin since Feb. 6, the day before Dorner’s vehicle was found burning, Kovensky said.

About 80% of the cabins in that area are used only part of the time, Kovensky said.

Resident Jeanne Kelly was surprised so many police who were scouring the area since Thursday did not find him. “I think if they searched every house, they probably would’ve found him,” Kelly said. “I hate to knock them,” said the 61-year-old woman, who moved to the area nine months ago. 

INTERACTIVE MAP: Searching for suspected shooter

Kelly said police never knocked on her door during the search or checked her property, but she was stopped by officers in an unmarked car who asked if any of her neighbors had any security surveillance video systems.

Kelly said she wasn’t too frightened because her husband had his guns loaded. And the couple has three dogs, which would ave alerted them to any intruder.


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Dorner manhunt: Cabin not intentionally set on fire, sheriff says

-- Phil Willon in San Bernardino County