Investigators Use Cadaver Dogs, Backhoe In Search For Missing Woman

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Police investigators with cadaver dogs and a backhoe, searched for several hours Monday for signs of a woman who has been missing for over a year, but they turned up empty-handed.

Madison County Sheriff's Office authorities told the current renters they were unsuccessful in their search for Mary Mills Carrithers. Mills was last seen alive in April of 2011 at the home of her estranged husband at 309 Hill Road in the small community of Ownens Cross Roads.

Investigators dug giant holes and unearthed planting beds and water fountains during the search. The new renters gave police permission for the search. Investigators had been unsuccessful and gaining entrance onto the property because the unidentified man who lived there would not allow them to conduct the search. He moved, and the new tenants began moving in on Thursday. Monday morning search crews ascended on the property searching the home and the surrounding outbuildings for any sign of a body.

Investigator Shawn McClure, who was at the scene Monday, told our news partners at the Huntsville Times that Carrithers stayed there "off and on." The home, until recently, was occupied by Carrithers estranged husband, whose name police did not release.

They worked with the dogs from SARTEC (Search and Rescue Technicians) K-9 Unit, an all-volunteer team based out of Madison County.

Sandra Davis told WHNT News 19 she was hoping the search crews would be successful and bring the missing woman's family some closure.

"I really thought they were going to find something back there, and I wish they had, the family needs answers," Davis said.

Investigator Brent Patterson told the Huntsville Times some information was received that "led us back to the residence," but he said the team did not find anything.