CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS, Pa. — T.J. Biscardi and his team were making their way through a seemingly ordinary wooded area in rural Crawford County just east of Cambridge Springs last week.

They made careful note of their surroundings, on the lookout for possible signs of their quarry. The afternoon rain had stopped, but the downpour made it difficult to distinguish possible footprints from the effects of runoff. What looked like a possible heelprint was more likely to be the hoofprint of a horse, Mr. Biscardi said as the group stopped for a closer look.

Sticks placed in unlikely positions — perfectly upright in the ground, for instance — and saplings twisted abnormally in ways that couldn’t have been caused by weather or animals lacking opposable thumbs — phenomena like this provided potentially more convincing evidence that the target of their search had been in the area. And this evidence was definitely present, Mr. Biscardi said, as the group plunged deeper into the woods off Hogback Road……….READ ON

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