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Police look at killer Mack Ray Edwards in Ramona Price cold case

June 14, 2011 |  3:31 pm

Booking photo of convicted child serial murderer Mack Ray Edwards

Nearly 50 years ago, a 7-year-old girl named Ramona Price took a Saturday morning stroll on a quiet lane on the outskirts of Santa Barbara.

Click to read a 1961 story about the case She never returned -- and now police think she may have encountered Mack Ray Edwards, a heavy-equipment operator thought to have killed 15 to 20 children before confessing to six of the murders and hanging himself in his San Quentin prison cell.

On Wednesday morning in Santa Barbara, cadaver dogs will scour the area around a bridge spanning the 101 Freeway at Winchester Road. Edwards -- who was described by his Sylmar neighbors as a "quiet, very nice guy" –- worked on that bridge around the time Ramona vanished.

INTERACTIVE: Track serial killers in South L.A.

Edwards' monstrous legacy is still unfolding. Three years ago, authorities excavated a ramp off the 23 Freeway in Moorpark, seeking the bones of 16-year-old Roger Dale Madison, who disappeared in 1968. They were unsuccessful.

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez is expected Wednesday to identify Edwards as a possible suspect in Ramona Price's death.

Officials cautioned that it's only a possibility -- but one bolstered by Edwards' work on the project and the fact that he temporarily lived with a friend just a quarter-mile away.

The bridge is being renovated so now is a perfect time to investigate the site, officials said.

"The big thing is for us not to not miss this opportunity," said Santa Barbara police cold case investigator Jaycee D. Hunter. "We would be stupid not to do it."

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-- Andrew Blankstein and Steve Chawkins
On Twitter @anblanx

Photo: Booking photo of convicted serial killer Mack Ray Edwards. Credit: LAPD

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