East Bay News

Digging continues at Garrido home

Monday, September 21, 2009
Phillip Garrido home, Katrina, Michaela Garecht kidnapping

The digging intensified Monday in the backyard of a home near Antioch where search dogs and ground-penetrating radar equipment detected what could be human remains. The digging took place all day long on two fronts, in the back yard of the Garrido home as well as next door on a piece of property the neighbor says he gave the Garridos access to.

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The seventh day of the large-scale investigation wrapped up just before 5 p.m. Monday. After a day of meticulous sifting in the back yard of Phillip and Nancy Garrido, investigators announced during an afternoon press conference that they did find more bones.

But, so far they have not found what they are looking for.

"The bone fragments from today, the forensic anthropologist looked at them and is of the opinion, without follow-up analysis, that they appear to be very, very old, beyond the scope of our investigations and probably animal," said Lt. Chris Orrey with the Hayward police.

Evidence teams are looking for anything related to Bay Area girls Michaela Garecht and Ilene Misheloff, who both disappeared in the late 1980's. In the Garridos' backyard, technicians with screens and trays worked a small amount of dirt at a time from samples that appeared to be pulled out of the ground inside a blue tented area.

The area of focus is the same spot where two different dogs alerted in recent days. It is also where ground-penetrating radar detected an anomaly, or irregularity, on Friday. On Monday, six sets of canine teams combed the Garridos' property. Called "historical human remains detection dogs," the animals can sniff out bones hundreds of years old. Besides the Garridos' yard, an evidence team also dug up a portion of the neighbor's yard.

"Nothing that we have located today has been definitive to show that there is a connection between the Garrido's and Ilene's disappearance," said Kurt von Savoye with the Livermore police.

"It's been very difficult. It's been very stressful. Today, knowing what's going on here, I've had a very hard day," said Michaela Garecht's mother Sharn Murch. "I haven't been feeling very well. It's made me kind of nauseous actually."

Investigators explained that they dug up a portion of the neighbor's yard because they wanted to take a look at an old septic tank that appeared to be in an awkward location. They dug up the area, took a look and covered it back up.

Investigators said they planned to continue digging Monday evening, but said if they did not find anything, the investigation would likely wrap up Tuesday afternoon.

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