Police Expand Search for New York City Woman Last Seen With Sex Offender

Police further expanded their search for a New York woman last seen in the company of a convicted sex offender and began looking near his girlfriend's apartment.

State police SUVs Tuesday swarmed Bloomingburg, Middletown, Wallkill and Wawayanda, N.Y. — areas familiar to sex offender Michael Mele — in search of clues in Laura Garza’s disappearance, according to The Times Herald-Record.

The search led one investigator to wade into a creek after a civilian reported spotting a woman’s handbag there, the paper reported. But it, along with many other leads, was a false alarm.

Mele's girlfriend lives near Bloomingburg.

Investigators last week found segments of carpet by a Middletown-area highway that is being tested for a possible link to Mele.

Garza and Mele left a Manhattan nightclub early on Dec. 3 and were last seen hours later near his apartment in Wallkill.

Mele has been deemed a “person of interest” in the 25-year-old's disappearance and is being held on a probation violation charge, according to the Herald-Record.

Click here for more on this story from The Times Herald-Record.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.