Dogs find 'area of interest' in search for Ramona Price remains
Santa Barbara police on Wednesday said specially trained cadaver dogs had found "an area of interest" in searching for the remains of 7-year-old Ramona Price, who disappeared in 1961 and possibly fell victim to serial killer Mack Ray Edwards.
Officials must analyze the findings further before deciding whether to excavate near a bridge spanning the 101 Freeway at Winchester Canyon Road, a police spokesman said.
Ramona vanished as she took a walk near her home on Sept. 2, 1961. At the time, Edwards, a heavy-equipment operator, was working on the bridge for a highway contractor and sometimes roomed with a friend in a mobile home about a quarter-mile from the construction site. The bridge opened within weeks of Ramona's disappearance.
It is about to be demolished and be replaced by a bridge that has been built several yards down the 101. So now is a perfect time to dig in the area.
Santa Barbara police watched and waited.
Edwards took his own life in a San Quentin State Prison cell in 1972 after being convicted of the murders of three children and claiming to inmates that he'd killed as many as 20 in all.
Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez said Edwards joked in prison about his string of murders and said most of them would never be discovered because no one would tear up a freeway.
Ramona's parents are now dead, he said. An older sister, who is 60, no longer lives in the area and is "still devastated," he said.
Everyone is hoping for closure.
"A cold case does not mean a forgotten case," Sanchez said.
-- Steve Chawkins in Santa Barbara
Photo: A volunteer with a dog helps Santa Barbara police search an area at Calle Real and the 101 Freeway in Santa Barbara County for the remains of a 7-year-old girl, Ramona Price, who disappeared in 1961. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times