Search for evidence continues in desert wash - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Search for evidence continues in desert wash

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Dan Kelly found the remains of a body that was later identified as missing 19-year-old Adrienne Salinas. (Source: CBS 5 News) Dan Kelly found the remains of a body that was later identified as missing 19-year-old Adrienne Salinas. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Adrienne Salinas. (Source: Salinas family) Adrienne Salinas. (Source: Salinas family)
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APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (CBS5) -

A desert wash between Foothill Street and Lost Dutchman Boulevard became the focal point for a Tempe investigation early Thursday morning.

Tempe police had been searching for Adrienne Salinas, 19, who has been missing since before Father's Day. The search for evidence continued Friday with members of the Tempe and Apache Junction police departments, the FBI and other agencies.

According to an Apache Junction homeowner, her remains were found several days ago.

"It probably never would have been found if it weren't for [my neighbor]," Sheldon Coplin said.

His neighbor, Dan Kelly, found Salinas' remains in a wash near his home and immediately contacted the Pinal County Sheriff's Office and Apache Junction Police. After comparing the remains to reported missing persons from around the state, Salinas was the only person to match the description.

"I was driving through the wash and I saw a vulture sitting right in the middle of the wash," Kelly said.

Kelly says the remains were discovered under a pile of silt and debris carried down the wash from a late-July flood in Apache Junction. Police expanded their search for evidence because the possibility that Salinas' body was also carried by flood waters.

The areas police are searching are mostly undeveloped desert landscape on the outskirts of Apache Junction. The search had been temporarily called off Thursday afternoon because of harsh conditions.

Homeowner Doug Wolf said the area's terrain is unforgiving during the day with high temperatures and dry landscape.

"It's also a tough desert," Wolf said. "If somebody was buried out there, it's very likely they got uncovered too."

Recent storms and flooding have caused  the contours and banks of several washes to change, altering the desert landscape.

After more than a decade on the edge of the desert, Coplin says if there are any secrets, they usually are not kept for long.

"When you have authorities from the local, county and federal governments involved, they will find you," Coplin said of the possible murder investigation. "My message to them would be, you can run but you can not hide."

Tempe police are not discussing the type of evidence they are looking for, but said crews will be back in the area Friday morning to continue digging for evidence that could solve Salinas' disappearance.

For continuing updates, 'like' Shawn Kline on Facebook or follow on Twitter

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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  • Sidebar: Adrienne Salinas

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