Searching for Kevin

Kevin's father, Patrick Eve, asked me to please share this story about his son. - Jennifer 

In October 2011, 25 yr. old Kevin Eve, an Iraq war veteran and experienced caver, went missing in a remote wooded caving area in Harrison County, Indiana.  KYK9 was called to help search for Kevin.  Although initially called to search for human remains, when we arrived on the scene, we decided it would be more helpful for Remy and Scout to do a live search and follow Kevin’s trail away from the site of his abandoned car (the point last seen or PLS).  To do this successfully, Kevin’s scent was meticulously collected by officers with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

I ran Scout first, walking her in a large perimeter around the PLS.  Scout “checked” or smelled every person on the scene.  This is when we met Kevin’s uncle and father.  Mr. Eve and Scout took a mutual liking to each other.  Mr. Eve called her “the pocket rocket.”  He spoke to Scout, asking her to find his son.  Finding Kevin quickly became very personal for both me and the dogs. 

Scout took Kevin’s scent and scampered downhill, walking on logs, jumping over rocks, crawling under fallen trees, pushing through briars.  The hill bottomed out in a dry creek bed, which Scout followed until she came to the spot where Kevin had left a bag of his belongings. After indicating on the spot, Scout continued on, pulling harder.

Scout went up a hill and the scent led her down the other side.  With me sliding behind, Scout raced down the steep slope, heading toward a cave entrance which I later learned was BB Cave. The entrance was covered with a metal grate, which DNR uses to keep cavers out in an effort to stop the spread of White Bat Syndrome.  Scout pulled toward the grate, jumped and fell through.

I kept her line tight and as I walked up to the grate, I saw Scout dangling in her harness 50-60 feet in the air.  Using the harness and line, I pulled Scout out.  Scout was not fazed; she just kept working the scent and she didn’t want to leave.  With Scout’s strong commitment, I was anxious to get back to the truck to run Remy to see what she would tell us.

Remy, who searches very differently than Scout, also trailed Kevin's scent to the grated entrance of BB Cave.  Remy’s certainty and clarity of interest were dramatic.  Both dogs were telling me the same thing – Kevin’s scent was at the BB Cave entrance area and it didn’t go anywhere else. DNR officials searched BB Cave based on Remy and Scout’s scent indications.  But, the DNR cavers found nothing.  Kevin was not in BB Cave.  I was baffled, where was Kevin?  According to the dogs, his scent did not go anywhere else. 

Four (4) months later a group of young inexperienced cavers found Kevin Eve’s remains. Kevin, who suffered from PTSD, had taken his own life.  He had never recovered from his tour of duty in Iraq.  Kevin’s body was found in Breathing Hole Cave, in an area immediately adjacent to BB Cave where the walls are so thin that cavers on one side can talk to cavers on the other.   Kevin’s body was on the Breathing Hole side of the BB Cave entrance, where Remy and Scout had indicated his live scent 4 months earlier!  I felt so badly for his family that Kevin had not been found sooner, but it was just very, very difficult to locate Kevin’s body in the labyrinth of cave passages.  His tragic death was a causality of war, far from enemy lines.

I was honored that Mr. Eve invited me to Kevin’s visitation and funeral.  Kevin’s climbing helmet lay next to his casket as did his belongings from his military service.  Many photos showed a handsome, happy young man who loved the outdoors, flying and playing drums.  I did not know many people there, but I saw a law enforcement officer who had worked tirelessly on the search.  As we were talking, Mr. Eve came up, put his arms around us, and pulled us close whispering, “We did it.  We brought him home.”  After searching for 4 months, the Eves were reunited with their son and finally able to grieve. God bless Kevin and his family.  

 Jennifer Jordan Hall  

All photos of Breating Hole Cave where Kevin's body was found, were taken by other cavers who have explored the cave.