Investigators reportedly found a bleached piece of carpet near a highway that they believe matches carpet in the apartment of a convicted sex offender who was last seen with a missing Brooklyn woman.
New York State Police said they found "several items" on Friday off the shoulder of Route 17 in Bloomingburg that are potentially related to the investigation of the Dec. 3 disappearance of Laura Garza, 25. Included in those items was a piece of carpet made from the same fiber as carpet in Michael Mele's apartment in Wallkill, N.Y., home, sources close to the investigation told the Times Herald-Record.
"We have to process it to determine the full significance of this piece of carpet to this investigation," Lt. Kevin Shortall told the Times Herald-Record. "It's anticipated that it will be significant."
Mele, 23, was the last person seen with Garza, a Brooklyn woman who disappeared after leaving a Manhattan nightclub on Dec. 3. Mele has not been charged in connection with Garza's disappearance. He is currently being held in a New York jail on a probation violation.
The search for Garza continued Saturday with roughly 160 firefighters, police and emergency medical workers scouring nearby roads from Bloomingburg to Wallkill, N.Y., the Times Herald-Record reports.
Searches were to continue Sunday. Garza was last seen alive with Mele in Newburgh, N.Y., according to court documents.