Investigators returned piles of dirt to the backyard of an Arden Arcade home Thursday afternoon, ending a two-day search and excavation that failed to turn up the remains of a woman missing since 2008.
Still, Sacramento County sheriff's officials said they culled evidence from the Stewart Drive home that could offer new leads in the disappearance of Regina Marie Garcia.
"We obtained everything we wanted to obtain except human remains," said homicide Sgt. Jim Barnes.
Garcia, who was 33 when her boyfriend reported her missing in October 2008, is still classified as a missing person, not a homicide victim.
Garcia appears to have "basically fallen off the face of the earth," Barnes said she has not been seen or heard from since that report. Given the bizarre circumstances, he said he suspects that she was the victim of a crime.
"I truly believe my fear is we have to look into foul play," he said. "Something is not right."
A series of developments in Garcia's case in recent months led sheriff's investigators to seek a search warrant for the Stewart Drive home, which Garcia shared with her boyfriend, Randy Macedo, and Macedo's grandfather, authorities said.
Macedo, 56, and his grandfather still reside there; however, Macedo is in custody on unrelated charges.
Investigators served the warrant Wednesday morning and excavated throughout the day, digging as deep as 2 feet in areas where cadaver dogs showed interest. They also hauled bags of potential evidence for processing at the Sacramento County district attorney's crime lab.
Authorities have declined to discuss exactly what they found, but Barnes said they did locate some promising items.
"We're creating a timeline with whatever evidence we could pull from that house," he said.
On Thursday morning, specialists from the crime lab joined sheriff's investigators at the scene and agreed they had exhausted all possibilities in the backyard.
They left by afternoon, feeling "comfortable there are no human remains to be found here," said sheriff's spokesman Deputy Jason Ramos.
"We could spend forever digging up the yard 10 feet down, 4,000 square feet across, but it's not realistic to do that," he said.
Efforts by The Bee to reach Macedo's grandfather or any relatives of Garcia have not been successful.
Macedo reported Garcia missing Oct. 30, 2008. He told authorities he had not seen her in two weeks, Ramos said. Because she did not meet any criteria to be considered "at-risk," she was considered a "voluntary" missing person and her case was not publicized.
Deputies arrested Macedo on June 7 after responding to a request for a welfare check on a child living at the Stewart Drive home. Macedo is being held on suspicion of various drug and weapons charges, including possessing an assault weapon and a silencer.
His bail is set at more than $1 million.
Though his arrest was not related to the missing person case, it did set into motion the revelations that led to this week's search warrant, Ramos said.
Macedo, however, is not a suspect in Garcia's disappearance, nor is his grandfather.