CROWN POINT — A search Saturday morning failed to yield any more of the remains of a missing Indianapolis-area woman presumed dead.
Crown Point police, a team of cadaver dogs and their handlers combed more than a half dozen ponds along Interstate 65 to leave no evidence overlooked in the case of Najah Ferrell, who was first reported missing March 15 to Indianapolis police.
Detective Ryan Olson said a team of dogs and their handlers started searching about 9 a.m. along the shores of ponds between 109th Avenue to the north and U.S. 231 on the south.
He said they also used an aerial drone to fly over the bodies of water to look for any human remains missed earlier this week by divers and underwater sonar.
Police began searching for Ferrell after she failed to show up for work at a Panera Bread restaurant in Indianapolis where she had just begun working. She was last seen at home in Avon, a western suburb of Indianapolis.
Police later found her car, which had been abandoned in Indianapolis.
Two men fishing on the banks of the 109th pond Monday found a severed human foot bearing a tattoo with the name “Najah.”
Crown Point police contacted Avon police after an electronic search of missing persons made the connection with the Ferrell case.
While police are still awaiting DNA confirmation of the victim’s identity, they say they are now conducting a death investigation.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Aquatic and Rescue Team of the Crown Point Fire Department searched the body of water, a 30-acre borrow pit excavated decades ago during the construction of I-65, earlier this week without finding any more evidence.
Olson said Crown Point felt another effort over a wider area was needed.
“These other ponds were so close, we wanted to take another look,” Olson said. When asked if they found anything, Olson responded, “We are still looking.”
The search area, two miles east of the downtown, is primarily rural. Sheep can be found grazing in a nearby meadow, and dormant farm fields await the spring plowing.
But the opening of the I-65 interchange at 109th in 2010 has begun to transform it into one of the Hub City’s fastest-growing areas with new medical facilities and commercial strip malls. Upscale townhouses now encroach to within a few hundred feet of that crime scene.
Assistant Police Chief Jim Janda said Saturday afternoon the search concluded with no new evidence found.