July 19, 2012
Missing man probe continues
By DENISE A. RAYMO, Press-Republican
Press-Republican The Press Republican Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:20 AM EDT
CHATEAUGAY — It will take several days for State Police to excavate portions of a 3-acre property behind 12 White St. as part of a missing-persons investigation.
Dale Jarvis Sr., 48, was last seen Feb. 20, but the probe into his whereabouts did not begin until recently, when “BCI became aware of a potential missing person and initiated an investigation,” according to State Police Troop B Criminal Bureau of Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain.
Jarvis had lived in the home just off Route 11 in the Village of Chateaugay since 1988 and sometimes shared it with his son, Dale Jr., known as D.J.
The missing man, who is also known as “Cookie Joe” or Stephen Dale Jarvis, also has a teenage daughter, Christina, who lives in Constable.
Allen Jarvis of Churubusco, an older brother of Dale’s, said the teen had reported her dad missing in April, but LaFountain would not comment on that.
Tully, a cadaver-detection dog handled by Trooper Kevin Beattie, was unleashed to begin her work in the backyard of the property about noon Wednesday after Kelley, a K-9 handled by Trooper Matthew Ross, had made an initial 20-minute search earlier in the day.
The K-9 sweeps were performed before heavy equipment was brought in to begin digging up the yard and portions of a large vacant parcel that Dale owns adjacent to the rear of his house.
At the same time, investigators with the State Police Forensic Investigation Unit were mapping and measuring the property and processing a burgundy Dodge Caravan recently towed to the home and parked nearby.
LaFountain said a search warrant issued Tuesday by Franklin County Court Judge Robert Main Jr. covers evidence collected from “the premises and anything associated with the whereabouts of Mr. Jarvis.”
An investigator was seen carrying several weighty red evidence bags through the front door of the home.
Yellow crime-scene tape flapped in the breeze, roping off a good portion of the Jarvis property, as well as part of the front yard at 14 White St. situated to the right of the Jarvis garage and an old pickup truck parked there.
All of this activity was watched for several hours by Allen and Maynard Jarvis, father of the missing man, and Allen Jarvis of Churubusco.
They stood across the street from the property, talking about the last time they saw or heard from him.
Allen saw his brother a few weeks after Christmas for a few minutes when the two bumped into each other at a Chateaugay convenience store.
Maynard said that, following the death of his wife, Bertha, he and Dale had been estranged for three or four years, so he didn’t know much about what was going on in his son’s life lately.
He said Dale had worked construction on the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation for a time and made money more recently by removing troublesome trees from farmers’ fields in exchange for the wood he could harvest.
He said Dale had disappeared for several months in 2007 and was found to have been out of town, working.
D.J. LAST TO SEE HIM
Maynard said his grandson D.J. was living at the house with Dale and was apparently the last one to see him.
D.J. had told Maynard that a man came to their door about midnight on Feb. 20, asking to speak to Dale in private. The two went out to the garage and were there about an hour, D.J. told Maynard.
D.J. said that when his dad came out, he handed him the keys to his vehicle and his cellphone and said he was leaving with the visitor. D.J. told his grandfather that Dale said, “‘If I don’t call or see you in a few days, I guess I won’t be back.’ He said he was heading south, and when D.J. asked him where, he said, ‘I can’t tell you.’
“Then he got into a car with the other man and drove off. When he got to the end of the street, we don’t know if he went left or right.”
Maynard said D.J. told him Dale instructed him not to file a missing-persons report if he didn’t return.
“D.J. said he didn’t report it because he thought (Dale) would be back in two or three months,” Maynard said. “But when you’ve got no money and no vehicle and you get into a car with someone else, you have to do what the other guy wants. I just don’t know.”
D.J. was arrested Tuesday night, charged with felony criminal contempt, apparently not related to the missing-person case. Bail was set at $50,000 with no bond. He remained in Franklin County Jail on Wednesday.
The Jarvis home, third on the right from Route 11 and one of five or six houses on the dead-end street, is sided with particle board, with a roof that is part metal and part tar paper. It was initially a camper trailer to which a number of additions and rooms were added, Allen said.
He said D.J. was removing dirt from under the home by the bucket full to enlarge a crawl space underneath so he could shore up the sagging floor.
Allen said his nephew told him he was also repainting the interior of the home to cover stains caused by his dad’s poor housekeeping and was fixing the house up so someone could move in with him.
The front yard is fenced about 4 feet high with chicken wire that Dale had installed to pen his golden retriever. The dog is now being cared for by another relative.
Sitting to the north of the house is a backhoe that belongs to Maynard, and an adjacent lot holds piles of logs from trees Dale had cut.
Investigators measured and documented the area around the wood as well as the interior and exterior of the backhoe.
“We’re executing a search warrant for however long it’s going to take us,” said Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. Brent Davison. “We can’t rule out anything at this point.”
Dale Jarvis is Caucasian, 5-foot-9-inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He has brown hair, blue eyes and a burn scar that runs from his right forearm halfway to his shoulder.
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