PETROLIA — SWAT teams from three counties and a team from the California Department of Corrections, as well as federal law enforcement officials and local police have joined the hunt for a Northern California man wanted in the killing of his wife and two young daughters.
The extra help — which includes two helicopters and an armored vehicle — comes as law enforcement officials continued Saturday to search through the rugged terrain of California's remote North Coast for Shane Franklin Miller, said Humboldt County sheriff's Lt. Wayne Hanson, a spokesman for the department.
Miller, 45, is suspected of slaying his family Tuesday night in the rural community of Shingletown, then fleeing to Humboldt County.
Miller — who is considered armed and extremely dangerous — grew up in the area and knows the thick forests of the region very well, officials said.
Authorities were searching for Miller through a rugged wilderness area, much of it federal land, with poor roads and limited access.
"This guy is very unpredictable, he's a very violent person. We need to get him in custody," Hanson said.
Area residents were being asked to report any break-ins or other unusual activities. They were also being asked to stay inside once night falls and to keep their doors locked.
Investigators have recovered Miller's pickup truck after it was found abandoned Wednesday night near Petrolia, about 200 miles west of the home that Miller shared with his wife, Sandy, 34, and daughters, Shelby, 8, and Shasta, 5.
There have been no sightings of Miller since the truck was found, officials said.
Miller is suspected of slaying his family Tuesday night in the rural community of Shingletown, then fleeing to Humboldt County, where low fog and dense brush offer plenty of cover. His mother told The Associated Press she had no idea whether her son and daughter-in-law had suffered marital problems or why Miller might turn on his family.
Meanwhile, in Shasta County, detectives searched the home where the killings took place for evidence and clues as to where Miller might have been headed, said Lt. Dave Kent of the Shasta County Sheriff's Office.
In 1996, Miller was convicted of felony cultivation of marijuana in a county known worldwide for the high quality pot grown in the same hard-to-reach forests authorities now are combing.
In 2002, Miller was charged with making and selling marijuana for distribution, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing a machine gun and money laundering, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a gun and served 46 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, court records show.