Search for Amanda Berry over, no remains found

8:00 PM, Jul 20, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- A second day of searching for the possible remains of missing Cleveland teenager Amanda Berry is over.

No trace of her body and no other evidence was found in the vacant lot at West 30th Street and Wade Avenue.  The search was abandoned at about 2 p.m. Friday.

The search began Thursday after Robert Wolford, a prisoner held at Lucasville, contacted Cleveland authorities and said he had information on the teen's remains. He then led them to the lot.

Wolford was brought to the site Wednesday morning and showed investigators where the body of Berry could be found. After a day of futile digging on Thursday, Wolford was brought back to the area early Friday morning and was asked again to indicate where the remains are.

As the search was being called off, investigators did arrest the second man who had been sought since Wolford told his story of the disappearance and burial of Amanda Berry. The man, identified as a white male in his 20's, was arrested on Storer Avenue, near Fulton Road.

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, which had a previous warrant out for that second man, declined to give his name, because it now appears that Wolford's story was bogus.

Wolford had told Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason in a letter that he had information about Amanda's disappearance. It was taken as a credible story. Later, he told of a second man allegedly involved with her disappearance.

That second man, arrested Friday afternoon, was being questioned by the FBI and sheriff's investigators downtown.

Amanda Berry disappeared on the evening of April 21, 2003, the day before her 17th birthday. She was on her way home from her job at a fast food restaurant. The location police were searching is about three miles from where Berry was last seen.

Deputy Chief Ed Tomba told Channel 3 that Wolford, who is serving a 26 year sentence for killing a homeless man in 2007, was being considered a suspect in Berry's disappearance.

"We have a suspect who told us he has information," Tomba told reporters at the scene Friday morning, "so this is not searching for a needle in a haystack. We are searching for clothing, jewelry, anything that would indicate Berry was on the property."

At Noon, Cleveland Police officials said the original area where Wolford said the body could be found, was 95 percent searched, and nothing at all was found. A similar sized plot of ground just to the south was being searched Friday afternoon, and when that was finished the investigation was considered complete.

A backhoe and other heavy equipment assisted in the digging Friday, and several trees near the edge of the vacant lot were torn down and hauled away to make the dig easier.

A house that has since been demolished used to sit on the lot where police are searching. The FBI has brought in backhoes to help excavate the site further including the basement of the house which still remains.


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