A California Highway Patrol helicopter circled Old River north of town this morning in an ongoing search for a Tracy girl missing for seven straight days now.
It’s the third time searchers have conducted an aerial sweep of the city, said Tracy police spokesman Lt. Jeremy Watney today during one of the department’s twice-daily press conferences about the case.
Watney said police had “nothing to give us any indication that we’re going to find anything,” but that they were merely making use of the helicopter when investigators had the chance, since it can cover much more ground much more quickly than a search team.
At this point, FBI and local police are double-checking and triple-checking six binders full of more than 650 tips. Investigators plan to interview for the third time residents of Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park, where Sandra’s family lives and where the 8-year-old was last seen late afternoon March 27.
Searchers plan to look in storm drains around the northern Tracy mobile home park today or over the weekend. They already searched them, but will check again, Watney said.
Police said on Thursday that they have gotten some “great leads,” but added that none have been strong enough to narrow down the search. Statistically, though, Sandra should be in Tracy, Watney said. Unless a tip requires an out-of-town search, the hunt is still restricted to Tracy and its rural outskirts.
No suspects have yet been named and no breaks in the case, if there are any, have been disclosed.
Crime scene technicians thought they stumbled upon a big clue when they found a pink Hello Kitty T-shirt in a dump outside Tracy — similar to the shirt Sandra was last seen wearing. But the girl’s mom, Maria Chavez, said it wasn’t her daughter’s shirt.
Police also said that the Jacobson Elementary School second-grader has a mole on her right cheek, which they hope will help someone identify her.
Watney said people have called in with sightings from all over the state and across the nation and new sightings come in with other leads every day. He said police have been checking up on new leads along with ones that have already looked into.
Police expect Sandra’s estranged dad to stop by the police station today — which cops said would make it his fourth voluntary visit with detectives. He wants to check up on the search for his daughter, Watney said. Police interviewed him at length two days after Sandra’s disappearance, but said they found nothing to consider him any more suspicious than anyone else.
People who want to volunteer this weekend in the search for Sandra should stop by at 8 a.m. Saturday at the old fire station, 7700 Linne Road, in Tracy, police said.
• Anyone with tips is encouraged to call Tracy Crime Stoppers at 831-6847.
• The reward for information leading to Sandra’s whereabouts is up to $22,125 today.
• Sandra is 4 feet tall, weighs 45 pounds, and has dark blonde hair and a mole on her right cheek. She was last seen wearing a pink Hello Kitty shirt with black leggings.
• Contact Tracy Press reporter Jennifer Wadsworth at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.