12/17/2014

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'I was really afraid it'd end up being a cold case'

'I was really afraid it'd end up being a cold case'

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima police said they have new leads in their search for Larry Riegel. He's the Yakima man who disappeared the day after Christmas in 2009 and whose face has been on billboards around town.

Investigators had search warrants to go through two homes today, including the one he shared with his old girlfriend. Action News was there and spoke with the family about the latest developments.

Detectives combed through two separate homes hoping to find anything that will lead them to Larry Riegel. He's been missing for three and a half years and his family still has so many questions.

"What's sad is you can go by a haystack, you wonder if he's there. You go by a pile of manure and you wonder if he's under that. You go by a river, you wonder if he's in that," said CeCe Downey, Riegel's mother.

Riegel disappeared in December of 2009.  He lived with his girlfriend, Ladena Mann, in this home on South 12th Avenue in Yakima. It's one of the homes police searched. She still lives there and has a pending case against her on charges she used Riegel's EBT card after his disappearance.

The other home searched in Moxee belongs to one of her relatives.

Captain Rod Light said more leads have come in recently - leads big enough to get the search warrants. He said the family is a big reason the case is still alive.

"We've aggressively been working the case over the past number of months," Light said.

"We won't give up. We will not give up. I know we will not give up until our death," said Sally Green, Riegel's sister.

Officers and cadaver dogs worked at both locations. They found nothing in Moxee. Investigators said important evidence was found at Mann's home but no smoking gun. 

"If I even had just a bone, it would help," Downey said.

"I was really afraid that it'd end up being a cold case," Green said.

Three-and-half years later, signs there might be a new direction to give them the answers they've been waiting for.

Police told KIMA no other searches are planned. Detectives will examine the evidence which could lead to another search or, they hope, Larry Riegel himself.

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