Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. is a IRS Section 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit volunteer organization that specializes in assisting law enforcement and families in the recovery of those lost in the water, vehicles and other evidence using the latest side scan sonar equipment and techniques.
The company was founded by the husband and wife team of Dennis and Tammy Watters of Moro, Illinois in 2005.
In 2005, the Watters acquired a Humminbird Side Image Sonar unit. While testing the unit near home in the waters of the Mississippi River at Alton, IL, Dennis found what he believed to be a car in the river. Remembering an incident three years prior in which a retired school teacher’s car plunged into the water while she was parking and that the car and body were never recovered, he immediately contacted Alton Police. The police were initially skeptical as the area had been swept previously by a professional searcher and nothing was located. It took a lot of communication with Humminbird and software updates being e-mailed almost daily to improve the images, but they were eventually convinced the image was the car they were seeking. They sent in divers after Dennis marked the location for them with GPS and the car and body were recovered. After three long years the family was finally able to give her a proper burial and begin the process of healing.
Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. was born from that incident. Dennis had prior experience in water recovery through the Wood River Volunteer Emergency Corp, assisting in the recovery of a number of drowning victims with his father, also a member of the Corp at that time, using traditional “dragging” methods. Side image sonar provides a much more accurate method of locating items or bodies and, in the case of human recovery, does no damage to the body. It is also safer for divers as they have a specific location to dive and have a general idea what to expect when they go down for recovery missions.
Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. has located and assisted in the recovery of 89 individuals who were lost in rivers, lakes and ponds around the country. This in several high-profile cases where bodies, vehicles and other items were recovered allowing law enforcement to build cases against criminals who thought the murky depths of rivers and lakes was a safe hiding place.
It is not uncommon for Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. to pack up from a search one evening and be on the road the next morning to a new search location. They have recently conducted two recoveries in Texas only to pack up for Oklahoma to search for a weapon and leave there to arrive 2 days later in Indiana to search for a homicide victim and while on their way home get called to Georgia to aid in a search for a boating accident victim. They are available on very short notice and willing to answer a call from cooperating agencies with their requests if at all possible.
Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. also works with agencies to train their personnel in the use of side image sonar equipment.