Police expand search for missing Essex couple - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Police expand search for missing Essex couple

Bill and Lorraine Currier Bill and Lorraine Currier

Essex, Vermont - August 4, 2011

Six search teams splintered off to a dozen new back roads and wooded lots in Essex. They're hoping to find any trace of Bill and Lorraine Currier. The couple has been missing since June 9.

"The further we go along in time with not being able to locate them or not knowing where they are, the more concerned we become that they may not be alive," Essex Police Capt. Brad LaRose said.

LaRose says this is the fifth organized search, but the first that lies outside the previous 1-mile search radius. Unlike grid searches where teams stand shoulder to shoulder, these crews are fanning out to cover more area in less time and they're hoping cadaver dogs, like Sadie, will be able to pick up clues humans can't.

"They're trained to clear the area so if she doesn't make a find in a specific 40-acre area I'm in, that means the person is not there and we can move on to the next area," said Mike Halpin of New England Canine Search and Rescue.

"It's alarming," said Janice Ackerman who lives next to the search area.

Ackerman watched as investigators scoured her street. She says the couple's disappearance from this quiet community is shocking.

"It is cause for concern. You hate to see anything like that happen to anybody," Ackerman said.

But that's why this case is still such a mystery-- police don't know exactly what happened to them. Investigators haven't determined whether the couple was forced from their home or went willingly. But the evidence points to foul play.

The couple's car ended up next to a Dumpster at the Pearl Street Apartments, less than a mile from their home. But police now say they've discovered the Curriers had their car serviced just days before they vanished and there's actually 40 miles unaccounted for.

"So that's an indicator to us that potentially we're dealing with a much wider radius than one mile," LaRose said.

He says there's no evidence pointing to a second vehicle being involved, but they're also not ruling out the possibility. And while foot searches are helpful, police say digging deep into the Curriers' personal pasts may end up cracking the case. About 120 leads have surfaced over the past two months, but nothing substantial has panned out. LaRose remains convinced someone knows more than they're saying.

"At least one or two of this society that has information that they haven't shared with us that's critical to the case," he said.

Unfortunately the search did not turn up any new evidence, but police may have a DNA lead. Last month they sent a sample to an unnamed government lab. Some results are back and it looks promising, but police say they need to ship out additional samples before they can share with us what's being tested and what that may mean for the case.

Jennifer Reading - WCAX News

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