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Why was Robert Fisher's dog found near abandoned vehicle? Experts weigh in on mystery

Posted at 5:00 AM, Apr 02, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — When looking at what happened to Robert Fisher, some are puzzled by what to make of the family dog and where he was found.

Fisher is accused of murdering his wife, Mary, and two children, Brittney and Bobby, rigging the home to explode and disappearing in April 2001. Mary's Toyota 4Runner was found in the woods near Payson 10 days later. While Fisher was nowhere to be found, the family dog, named 'Blue,' was located near the vehicle.

"That's been the topic of most conversation, is why was the dog still there?" said Scottsdale Police Detective John Heinzelman. "If he committed suicide, if he walked off into the woods, the dog would have been there with him. So clearly, he must have gotten into a vehicle and left, and the dog just was abandoned behind. So that's that one piece that I really wish we would have been able to kind of make heads or tails of..."

Depending on who you ask, you will get various answers and theories as to whether Fisher is still alive, or perhaps took his own life in the remote wilderness and was never found.

RELATED: Could Robert Fisher still be alive 20 years later? Local experts weigh in

Heinzelman told ABC15 where the vehicle and dog were located is also notable.

"Why did you park here? It wasn't hidden in the woods," Heinzelman said. "He didn't set the car on fire. He just left it there... he had to know that we would find it and we would put two and two together and say this is his vehicle. So, was that him telling us, 'I'm up here come, find me?' Or was that him telling us, 'I'm not here, I've just dragged you out of Scottsdale and you'll never find me?'"

ABC15 also spoke with Dr. Tess Neal, a forensic psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University. Dr. Neal has not worked on the Fisher case, nor interviewed anyone involved, but ABC15 asked her to weigh in on the information that has been publicly reported or is publicly available, including the police report.

Neal also made note of the dog being found alive with the vehicle in the woods.

"If indeed things happened such as that he committed this crime and then escaped and saved the dog from the situation, and then left this dog alone to die in the woods, why would he do that?" Neal said. "Doesn't make a lot of sense."

Neal theorized, based on the police report, that if Fisher did have the means to escape the area, perhaps he intended to keep the dog, but realized it would help identify him, and decided at the last minute to leave him behind.

"If he was trying to save an animal, that's sort of psychologically significant in some ways," Neal said. "But then leaving the animal to die is also bizarre."

The dog is one of the many unique, and unexplained, aspects of the case.

"He decided that the dog needs to survive," Heinzelman said. "And then 10 days later he abandons the dog."

RELATED: What Robert Fisher could look like 20 years after Scottsdale murders, fire