Firefighters scour Sullivan Co. for missing woman

Posted: Updated:

Firefighters from several Orange County departments spent Friday combing the woods in Sullivan County in search of clues linked to the disappearance of a Brooklyn woman.

Laura Garza's two brothers arrived from Texas to join the search party, looking for any trace of the missing 25-year-old aspiring dancer, who was last seen leaving a Manhattan nightclub in the company of convicted sex offender Michael Mele over a week ago.

?We feel in our hearts that she's alive, and we're going to find her,? says Nicholas Garza.

For the past several days, crews of local firefighters, volunteers and police have narrowed their search to wooded areas in the village of Bloomingburg, where Mele?s girlfriend lives. Police think the suspect might have stopped somewhere in town before turning himself in for violating his probation on a prior sex offense.

Mele's Middletown apartment and his Infiniti SUV have been thoroughly searched, but so far, police say there is not enough evidence to charge him with any crime related to Garza?s disappearance.

News 12 Hudson Valley has learned that the search parties in the woods are looking specifically for pieces of carpeting, towels and bedding from Mele's apartment.

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