Nearly 150 people searching for missing woman in Southeast Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - One of the largest search efforts in the state began Thursday, in an effort to find Linda Dillard who went missing last June.
The Nebraska State Patrol is working with nine other agencies to find the Fairbury woman or any other clues. She was last seen near Table Rock in Pawnee County.
NSP said the disappearance is now part of a criminal investigation, but they haven’t given any more information.
They attempted some searches for Dillard in the year since her disappearance, but conditions made it difficult.
“We were out here in July and several other occasions throughout the fall months, but as you can imagine, the grass was high, the corn was tall and it just wasn’t conducive to doing a really thorough search of the area,” NSP Lieutenant Eric Jones said.
But now, with better conditions the agencies have accelerated their search. Nearly 150 people, some on horse patrol, and K-9 teams are part of the large-scale search. They are searching 600-700 acres which includes the Table Rock Wildlife Management Area along with private land.
Dillard’s daughter said she is thankful that a more intense search for her mother is underway.
“We definitely miss her. And we hope to find her or any evidence leading towards her,” Winterstar Schaber, Linda’s daughter said.
NSP said they are looking for clothing, skeletal remains, weapons or anything else that is helpful to the investigation.
“I just want everybody to know how thankful that me and my family are that Nebraska State Patrol has put together a huge search to help us find her and get some resolution today or hopefully this weekend,” Schaber said.
If needed, the agencies will continue their search through Saturday.
In a search warrant filed by NSP last year, investigators said she may have been a victim of a crime of “theft, assault, kidnapping, and/or murder.”
According to court records, NSP believes Dillard left to join friends in Pawnee County in mid-June, where they drank and smoked meth at a farmstead. After a search of the property, a wig belonging to Dillard was located as well as clothes belonging to her. According to NSP, investigators were told by people who were at the farm that Dillard and a man at the property had an argument and she left. She has not been seen since.
Dillard was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, black DKNY boxer brief shorts, and brown Birkenstock-type sandals. Dillard is described as a white female, 5′0″, 130 lbs., with blue eyes and brown hair (possibly dyed or wearing a wig).
Nebraska Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information in this investigation. Tips can be made anonymously through Nebraska Crime Stoppers via the Nebraska Crime Stoppers website, the “P3 Tips” mobile app, or by calling 1-800-422-1494.
The search operation includes numerous partners from multiple states. Participating agencies include the Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, NecroSearch International, Brown County (KS) Mounted Search and Rescue, Saline County (KS) Mounted Patrol and Rescue, Sedgewick County (KS) Emergency Management, HRD Canine Search and Rescue Teams, University of Nebraska Department of Forensic Anthropology, and Midwest Archaeological Center.
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