Dive teams search Skiatook pond for evidence in homicide

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 8/20/2013 6:17 pm Published: 8/20/2013 5:10 pm

Dive teams with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office are searching a pond where they believe evidence is there from a deadly home invasion.

Ken Cooper, 83, was shot during a home invasion in Skiatook and later died from his injuries.

Detectives believe that Aaron King and Amanda Auten were involved in the robbery and shooting death of the 83-year-old.

"We have a large amount of evidence that we are going through right now, and we have a lot of prints that we are going to go through and send to the lab," said Detective Shane Thompson with the Skiatook Police Department.

"At some point the victim tried to fight against the attacker and that's when he was shot," he said.

Police say it appears Cooper tried to grab a knife while his home was being robbed.

Officers believe King took off towards the pond after it was all over and may have tossed some evidence into the water.

Dive teams have spent the last two days going over every inch of the pond, searching for a weapon.

Miranda Munson has been a diver with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office for two years.

She and her fellow divers have spent the last few days submerged in this muddy water.

"You can't see anything. You could put your hand in front of your face and you can see my wetsuit is pretty bright but you can't see it in there," she said.

To stay on course, the divers are using a rope as they inch along underneath the water feeling for anything out of the ordinary.

"When you're searching through the water, you have to use your hands only," she said.

Munson is the only female diver on a team of 12. They are a highly trained group that is skilled in evidence recovery.

The group uses a variety of specialized equipment, including a positive pressure mask that allows the diver to communicate with the team above the surface.

Deputy David Long is their team leader.

"We preserve the evidence in special containers and it will be taken to the lab for analysis," said Long.

Because it's costly to operate a dive team this one helps out smaller departments, like Skiatook, when they are needed.
"We have special dive equipment that allow us to operate under water and we have special metal detectors and things like that," said Long.

If the diver should ever run into snakes, leeches or a tangle of limbs they can use diving knives for protection or to free themselves.

FOX23 asked if police considered draining the pond, but they said that would take days and they try not to disrupt the property more than they have to.

The teams says its confident it will find something.

Detectives believe King was picked up by someone he knew and a tip led officers to Sperry where they arrested both King and Auten.

Officers tell FOX23 this isn't the first time Cooper's home has been broken into. They responded back in July and are looking to see if both incidents are connected.

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