Excavation teams search for remains of Melanie Melanson
WOBURN, Mass. (WHDH) -- A new search is underway for the remains of a teenage girl who's been missing for more than 20 years.
Twenty three years after Melanie Melanson disappeared in Woburn investigators may have gotten their most promising lead yet. There is word that search dogs have picked up the scent of human remains.
“We were a month a part in age and we had a lot of great times together. And now she’s just gone. It’s like going to a 22-year funeral,” said Karl Lawson, Melanie’s cousin.
The family of Melanie, who disappeared in 1989 after attending a party in the woods when she was 14, is hoping for answers as dogs and experts excavate a small area, mostly by hand.
“Soil had been sent out to a lab and tested positive for human decomp,” said Alan Tate, of Mission for the Missing.
Dogs picked up the scent of human remains, which can remain for 100 years.
“As the gases rise, they go right up into the tree trunk and really, basically get trapped under the umbrella of the tree,” said Tom Recck, K9 Search and Rescue.
Melanie was last seen at the party, which is half a mile south of Friday’s dig site. In the past year alone, thanks to new leads, there have been several digs in what was once a cold case.
Experts believe her body was dumped in the woods, but say the body may have been moved. Either way, there is a chance of finding crucial evidence.
“We would like a positive result this afternoon or tomorrow, we don’t until we open up the ground,” said Tate.
Expert volunteers, who like Melanie’s family, haven’t given up hope.
“Those could be our kids and I’d like to know that somebody’s out there doing this for my kid,” said Dr. Ann Marie Mires, a forensic anthropologist.
No one has ever been charged in the case.