04/30/2012 02:19 pm ET Updated Jun 30, 2012

Vilet Torrez Case: Police Cadaver Dog Searches Miami-Dade Canal For Missing Miramar Mom (VIDEO)

A cadaver dog was spotted searching a Miami-Dade canal on Monday for the body of missing Miramar mom Vilet Torrez.

Police officers from Miramar, Davie, Miami-Dade County, the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were on scene at the C-9 Canal -- also known as Snake Creek Canal -- in an area where it cuts through the southern end of Miramar.

The officers are members of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's multi-agency Urban Search and Rescue Florida Task Force 1, of which a Miramar officer and his cadaver dog are members. A police diver was seen on board a Davie police boat with the cadaver dog, which is trained to find submerged or buried bodies.

"They're trained to find the odor and then alert to it when they smell it," Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office K-9 handler Julianna Martinez told Local10. "The odor, when it's underwater, it's gases, so it rises to the top, so they can smell it on the top of the water. The same with underground: it will come through whatever the medium is that it's under, rocks or dirt or whatever."

The department is conducting similar searches using dogs in other locations, according to CBS Miami, and Task Force 1 told HuffPost Miami that 2 of their dogs were currently assigned to searches in Miramar.

"I got a call from one of her friends telling me that they were searching for her at a canal and it kind of hit me really hard because I know it has been a month, but you don't want to lose hope," sister Nayiva Blanco told MSNBC. "And when you hear stuff about canals, nothing good comes out of that."

Investigators believe Torrez, who was last seen March 30, has been the victim of foul play and describe her estranged husband Cid Torrez, from whom she separated three months ago, as a person of interest.

The couple's three children have remained in the custody of their maternal grandparents since April 5, when a phone call to the Department of Children and Families reportedly suggested Cid Torrez was threatening to "end it all."

Cid Torrez, who reported his wife missing three days after picking up the children for the weekend, has denied any involvement and suggested his wife may have run off -- a charge her family counters, saying the devoted mother would never have left her children.

"Finally my sister was moving on, being proactive and changing her life and this is what happens," brother Javier Blanco told HuffPost Miami. "It all sort of points to him. I'm worried he's still out there."



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