Six weeks ago, Andrew Garver, a 38-year-old Beaverton High School softball coach, disappeared with his underage catcher. As first reported, the 16-year-old girl, Mimi Smith, was kidnapped. But as details further emerged, the facts were not so straightforward.
Coming from a troubled home, Mimi had actually gone to live with her coach and his wife two years earlier. The relationship had apparently been platonic until late this summer, when those feelings veered into the Lolita realm.
On September 26, the pair disappeared. Their last believed sighting was a Starbucks in Northeast Portland. From there, their trail goes cold.
That is, until two weeks ago, when Dog showed up in Portland, sniffing around for clues, telling the Oregonian he would hunt down Garver "for a buck."
But local law enforcement has not thrown out the welcome mat for Dog's gracious offer; bounty hunting is banned in Oregon. The Oregon Board of Investigators immediately fired off a letter to Dog, telling him that he cannot legally investigate the Garver case.
A holdover from frontier days, bounty hunting allows self-styled cowboys to track wanted criminals, often with whatever means necessary. But in recent years, that free-ranging jurisdiction has angered state lawmakers.
Six years ago, for example, five bounty hunters busted into a home in Arizona and fired 18 rounds into a bedroom, killing a 25-year-old man and his girlfriend. They claimed to be searching for a bail jumper from California, but neither victim had known warrants. Following their deaths, Arizona passed a law restricting bounty hunting there.
One of only four states to outright ban bounty hunting, Oregon has not allowed hunters to operate here since 1978. Yet, in spite of the warning from the state, Dog appears undeterred. His website continues to list Garver as one of his three most wanted fugitives. PB