A team of excavators and Santa Barbara authorities started digging near the Winchester Canyon overpass today in the search for 7-year-old Ramona Price who went missing almost 50 years ago.
Body-sniffing dogs hit on an “area of interest” last Wednesday a few hours into the search which was launched to highlight the police department’s commitment to solving cold cases, said Chief Cam Sanchez during the highly produced and well-attended press gathering.
Police spokesperson Lt. Paul McCaffrey said the dig will likely last “a few days” as crews scrape into the “area of interest” — which is slightly smaller than a tennis court — six inches at a time. McCaffrey said authorities don’t know how deep the possible remains are, if they’re in the spot the dogs locked onto (or if the scent may have drifted downstream in an unseen water source), or if there’s truly anything to find. The police had to coordinate with Caltrans before they started digging.
An anthropologist will be on hand to help with the dig, said McCaffrey, as well as a new crew of cadaver dogs. So will a detective familiar with serial killer Mack Ray Edwards who police are fairly certain kidnapped and killed Price after she walked away from her home near Modoc Road on September 2, 1961. Edwards confessed to murdering at least six children over a 17-year span, later committing suicide in his San Quentin prison cell.