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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

April 21, 2011 at 6:38 PM

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Cadaver dogs search site of alleged Tacoma torture house

Posted by John de Leon

-- From Times staff reporter Sara Jean Green:

Tacoma police and local search-and-rescue teams spent Thursday searching the sprawling property in northeast Tacoma where rape suspect John Joseph Hauff Jr. allegedly had a bondage room where he is accused of torturing a 24-year-old woman he picked up in Seattle on April 2.

As of 6 p.m., searchers had not found anything, said police spokesman Mark Fulghum.

"We're searching with cadaver dogs and other tracking dogs," he said. But Fulghum characterized the search as a "general search" not tied to any specific case.

"With all the strangeness and the uniqueness of the case SPD (Seattle Police Department) had we decided we needed to go out there and do a search. It's just a general search to see what we can come up with," Fulghum said.

Searchers were concentrating on the property itself and hadn't gone inside Hauff's 55-foot mobile home or other buildings on the property, according to Fulghum.

Hauff, 66, was arrested early Saturday and is being held in the King County Jail without bail. He was charged Tuesday with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree rape and second-degree assault. Seattle police are asking other potential victims to come forward with information about Hauff by calling the department tip line at 206-233-5000.

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