MENDOTA — Todd Blumhorst is cautiously optimistic that there may be a new lead in the case of his sister, Veronica, who disappeared 23 years ago.
Todd hired a cadaver dog team to search areas in and around Mendota last fall. The dogs made a positive hit in a location. The one hit was enough to follow up with a second team a few weeks ago.
Three dogs made a hit in the same area as the team last year.
“My gut is telling me that we’ve found her,” he said. “I’m still trying to temper my anticipation because we have run into false leads before. I can’t help getting over five cadaver dogs trained only in the scent of human remains have hit in the same area. It’s a pretty good indication.”
He said the remains are very old, but these dogs are specially trained in scenting old burial sites. With several positive indications from the dogs, he now hopes it will be enough to send a forensic team to the site which is outside of Mendota.
“The dogs hit on a location in Lee County. I’m not going to disclose where at this time,” he said. “I’ve worked almost 23 years on this case and I don’t want somebody going out there and traipsing around and playing ‘CSI’ when they have no clue what they’re doing.”
His sister was last seen on Sept. 20, 1990. She parked her car in her family’s garage and was never seen again.
Mendota police worked the case with the FBI joining the case around 2004. Todd has contacted the Mendota police and the FBI with the new information and now he is waiting for a reply.
Law enforcement is very, very tight lipped about an active investigation,” he said. “I do hope they are enthusiastic about the information.”
If the investigation leads to the location of remains, he said it would be just one more step toward the closure his family has sought since she disappeared. The dogs have hit on old burial sites before and if they found remains in Lee County, it might not be his sister.
If investigators locate remains, they would then need to be identified. That could also be a long process, he said.
“It could take awhile depending on how much they find and the other artifacts they might find,” he speculated. “If it does end up being her, we will finally end this phase of the journey. Then we will be entering the criminal justice phase but even that —- 23 years later, what physical evidence would be left?”
The Mendota Police Department declined to comment on the most recent lead at this time.
Tamara Abbey can be reached at (815) 539-5200 or email@example.com