(GRESHAM, Ore.) — Authorities used red tape to mark where they found broken glass and tire marks in a heavily wooded area in Gresham, Ore., as part of their search for a Starbucks employee who disappeared on her way to work.
It’s unclear whether they found any significant clues.
Investigators searched the park in Clackamas County and also Larch Mountain on Wednesday in connection to the disappearance of Whitney Heichel, 21. She was last seen Tuesday when she kissed her husband goodbye and left for work at Starbucks, a five-minute drive from her home.
Gresham police have called Heichel’s disappearance “suspicious” and fear they are in a race against time to find her.
“Right now we have 24 detectives working on it,” Gresham Police Department spokesman Lt. Claudio Grandjean said. “We want to be able to jump on leads we have right away. The colder those leads get, the more difficult it becomes.”
Of the park findings, he said, “I’m not prepared to say that’s the broken glass that came from her vehicle, although it’s absolutely possible.”
Heichel’s black Ford Explorer was found abandoned in a Walmart parking lot hours after her disappearance. The passenger side window had been shattered.
Police aren’t saying what brought them to search the wooded area.
Heichel’s husband, Clint, has said she kissed him goodbye and left for her job just before 7 a.m.
“She got ready, did her normal thing and I kind of woke up and said, ‘Bye. I’ll see you when you get home,'” Clint Heichel told ABC News’ Portland affiliate, KATU-TV, Wednesday.
Clint Heichel reported his wife was missing at 9:56 a.m. after her supervisor alerted him that she did not show up for work.
“I called her several times,” he said. “I texted her several times and then actually at about 9:30ish, her phone got to the point where you would call and it went straight to voicemail.”
Police say surveillance cameras recorded her vehicle pulling into a Shell gas station around 9 a.m. and her ATM card was used.
Her husband said bank records show the same card was used at another gas station minutes later, but police have not confirmed that.
“One at 9:22 and then one at about 9:30, which was kind of odd, both for gas eight minutes apart,” Clint Heichel said.
Grandjean said, “The video is inconclusive in terms of being able to tell who’s in the vehicle but we can tell it’s the vehicle and we know through bank records it’s the car.”
Police have not yet released the surveillance video, but they plan on doing a briefing later Thursday morning, according to KATU.
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