2014 SEARCH for the Remains of Grand Duke Mikhail

and Brian Johnson


In June 2014, Captain Peter Sarandinaki, president of the SEARCH Foundation, Inc., led a team of American, British and Russian forensic experts to continue the search for the remains of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich Romanov and his secretary, Brian Johnson in Perm Russia.

The Team of internationally recognized forensic specialists/experts consisted of the following disciplines – Archaeology,   Doctor John Hunter (UK);  Osteology, Dr. Sergey Nikitin, Russia; Cadaver Dog Training and Handling, Michael Swindells, UK;  Remote Sensing- Aerial imaging and geophysics, Clark Davenport, USA; Forensic Computer Analysis and computer mapping, Brook Schaub, USA.

This year we added a Russian team from Perm and Yekaterinburg consisting of an FSB Data Analyst, Colonel Alexander Mishchianski; an FSB Special Investigations Officer Colonel Andrey Bezmaternikhand Yurii Stepanov a geophysicist from Perm’s Gorny Institute,  experts in the use of GPR (ground penetrating radar);  two historians, Lubov Markova and Lubov Xhitrianova; a translator,  two Clandestine Grave Specialists and a heavy equipment operator trained to follow archaeological excavation procedures.

Admittedly, to date, no human remains relating to Grand Duke Mikhail have been found, however, what importantly has been found:

  • A buried cobblestone roadway, with a width of 10 meters.  It is believed that this roadway is of significant importance in the murder of Mikhail and Johnson.
  • The buried remains of structures including a box factory.  Many remains show indications of being burned.
  • An upper, overgrown road which tends to lead into the aforementioned cobblestone road.  (This road was traced using vegetation analysis and shadows from the sun).
  • The remains of a bridge (found last year).  Although not yet dated, these remains appear to be of early 20th Century construction.  The location of the bridge closely fits what is known from historic documents.

Eighty bullets found impacted into a hillside, which is between the cobblestone road and the upper overgrown road are being ballistics/forensically examined in a crime laboratory.

The fact that we have not found the remains of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich nor Brian Johnson is positive information in my mind, and I am sure in the minds of the Team members. We know where not to look again.

As my team member, Clark Davenport wrote: “A very important and positive aspect - Technology and Cultural transfer!  Most contracts for foreign work contain a Transfer of Technology evaluation clause.  I have worked on 6 continents and in some 20-30 countries under this type of clause.  However, working on your TEAM in Russia has also included the Cultural Transfer aspect, i.e. we have been provided a tremendous opportunity to learn of and understand Russian culture including historical and religious aspects.  By the same token we have tried to transfer some of our technical capabilities and cultural aspects to our Russian counterparts.  I know from my personal experience that working on this Project with the TEAM has been one of my most cherished undertakings.  So for any future work there are some very positive aspects:

  • No ramp up time - that is, we all know what needs to be done and can hit the ground running;
  • We have worked together long enough to know what is expected of each other, thus minimizing many spurious tasks;
  • We have a systematic and efficient method of search;
  • We have time between now and next summer to continue our research;
  • The Perm district Government only wants us to continue the search.
  • We have the right equipment and personnel and have the support of the Perm district Government and the Russian Orthodox Church.  Our partner organization in Perm, the Obretenye Foundation, has provided tremendous logistical support.


We ask for your support to help us return to Perm in June 2015, and to close this very sad chapter in Russian and world history.


Captain Peter Sarandinaki


SEARCH Foundation, Inc.