CANTON, OH - The search continued Friday for a dog that has not been seen since a tragic crash claimed the life of a Dennison, Ohio father and his 3-month-old daughter.
Paul T. Guthrie, 24, was westbound on U.S. 30 at the Interstate 77 South on-ramp late Wednesday. Police say the SUV he was driving hit a concrete barrier and tumbled 10 stories over the edge of the bridge, hitting a large tree before coming to rest in the Nimisillen Creek.
In the SUV was Guthrie, his wife Kymberlie, 26, and their young children, Emelyn,
15-months-old, and Gabriella, 3-months-old.
Kymberlie and Emelyn survived the crash.
Since then, the Tuscarawas County Humane Society has mounted a search for a dog named Aspen, who they believe was also in the family's SUV.
"We are thinking that he got out of the vehicle, was either thrown from the vehicle and was able to get away from the scene or went into the river with the family and was able to swim out of the vehicle and make it on shore," said Humane Society Shelter Director Lindsey Lewis.
Lewis says Aspen was a resident of the shelter where he has lived for nearly a year and a half.
On Wednesday, Kymberlie Guthrie wanted to take him on a day visit to a relative's house in Canton.
"She wanted to take him to her father-in-law's home just so people could see Aspen in a home environment and see he is a very friendly dog and it helps him to find a home when people see something like that," said Lewis.
"She was going to bring him back Wednesday at 6 p.m., but then she said it was going so well that they were just going to do a sleep over with him and from 6:00 p.m. on, I'm just not really sure what they were doing, traveling at that time," she added.
Dog paw prints in the mud along the creek banks give searchers hope that Aspen is alive.
Larry Snider of Canton was among the volunteers helping to search for the dog on Friday.
"He's probably scared, you know? He's probably scared, probably in shock you know?" said Snider.
Searchers started a "Find Aspen" Facebook page, sharing information about where they were looking and any leads. As of late Friday, the page had more than 700 members.
"We have had a couple possible sightings, the most credible was on Raff Road the night of the accident. He was seen possibly around 3 a.m., that would be west of the accident site," said Lewis.
Aspen is described as a white American Pit Bull Terrier. He was believed to be wearing a green collar with a black band. The dog has a tan ear and has been microchipped.
"They were just trying to do the right thing, just trying to do something nice and it's really sad that this is what ended up happening. They take him out for a day of fun and just tradgedy that it had to end like that," said Beth DeStefanie, of the Humane Society.
"For me, I'm just trying to hold onto something positive, you know?" said Lewis, adding "there's positive things. Kim survived with her daughter and you know, if we can get one more positive thing to happen with Aspen's safe return, I think that would be just amazing."
If you have any information you can post on the Facebook page or call the Tuscarawas County Humane Society at (330) 343-6060 or (330) 204-9569.