Drone technology used in Lori Williams search

Lori Williams autopsy finds no foul play

Police tape is still up two days after Lori Williams' body was found in woods near Bolingbroke.

Sergeant Lawson Bittick says that technology helped make it easier to spot her.

"In this case, we would have used the helicopter from the Department of Public Safety, and they provided not only eyes from the air, but also the Flir system, which detects body heat. Then we also used drone technology," said Bittick.

Chris Spence, a Macon man with a drone, reached out to Monroe County Sheriff's Office to help. He says that during the search, the DJI drone flew from ground level to 300 feet capturing photos of the ground.

"I went out and flew some power lines and some open areas and little patches here and there throughout the property. When I get done with that, I sit down and take a look at the pictures," says Spence.

He says that in the past week, he was working on a project that related to search and rescue.

During the search, Spence took photos rather than live video because he says that due to the short battery life of the drone, photos can be taken and scanned in a matter of minutes.

Lawson says the drone helps law enforcement see areas that are harder to reach by foot.

"In this case, we had a hill. The helicopter and the drone would have had a better angle on those and it can cover a wider radius," said Lawson. "We can see if there's any inconsistencies on the ground. We can actually get closer to them or go back out."

The drone was helpful in clearing much of the woods, but in the end, Williams was spotted by pilots.

"They took the time to land the helicopter in an open field in the proximity of where Mrs Williams was located, both pilots exited and investigated themself and that's when they notified us that they found Mrs. Williams," said Lawson.

Spence owns his own drone company and is willing to assist with searches in the future. You can find his Facebook page here: Roaming Drone Solutions.
 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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