EMERSON, N.J – The mystery of missing mom Liza Murphy, whose husband tried to kill himself after she vanished, deepened Tuesday after an extensive search turned up no leads in the case.
Emerson, N.J., police and other searchers combed a wooded area around the Oradell Reservoir, less than half a mile from the Murphys' home, looking for the 42-year-old mother of three who was last seen Aug. 19. About 200 people were involved in the search.
Search team leaders told people combing the 110-acre wooded area surrounding the reservoir to look for the obvious: a body. But hours into the hunt, there were no clues to speak of, police said.
"We’ve been combing the woods all day," Emerson Police Officer Joe Alasio said from the scene. "We haven’t found anything I can comment on."
Though they are looking into whether there was foul play involved in Murphy's disappearance, police have been careful to label this a missing person case for now and are not identifying anyone as a suspect until more evidence surfaces.
Suicide hasn't been ruled out; Murphy was suffering from depression and had apparently fought with her husband just before she vanished.
The case took an unusual turn Thursday when police say Joseph Murphy stepped into traffic in a bid to take his own life. He is now refusing to cooperate with the investigation while he recovers at a local hospital from his injuries, including a broken pelvis, according to authorities.
Joseph Murphy told officers his wife left their home after they had an argument on Aug. 19. A friend of Liza's, not her husband, initially reported that she was missing.
Joseph Murphy's attorney told FOX News that his client had already spoken at length with investigators. The lawyer said he wouldn't be surprised if Liza was in hiding at a friend's house. So far, there's no proof of that theory, and police are operating under the assumption that the missing woman may not be alive.
Liza Murphy had been suffering from depression, friends and neighbors told FOX News, but police said they'd never been called to the Murphy home about a domestic disturbance. The couple have three children, ages 13, 11 and 7, and have been living in their home for at least eight years.
The Murphy children are currently staying with their dad's sister in a nearby town.
Liza Murphy's distraught father told FOX News that he's been in contact with his grandchildren daily and they have been asking where their mom is.
The Murphy family lives across the street from Liza's brother, who has gotten into tangles with his sister in the past. Police say he isn't a focus of the investigation and was on vacation at the time of her disappearance.
Cadaver dogs joined in the search around the reservoir on Tuesday.
No boats or helicopters were employed, although they've been used in prior sweeps for signs of the woman. Dogs and a helicopter with a heat-detecting camera were used to canvas the area on Friday, and officers in a boat examined the reservoir's shore.
FOXNews.com's Catherine Donaldson-Evans, FOX News' Todd Connor and The Associated Press contributed to this report.