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ELAINE: FBI raids house for evidence

Crime scene investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation aided the Oak Harbor Police Friday in searching a SE Glencoe Street home for evidence in the month-old disappearance of a 15-year-old girl.

The residence is the home of the 18-year-old high school student who police say Elaine Sepulveda met when she left her room early in the morning of Nov. 6. Police discovered that the young man was in possession of Sepulveda’s clothing after she went missing, investigators say. Sepulveda’s friends told police that she was pregnant when she disappeared.

Capt. Rick Wallace with the Oak Harbor Police Dept. said investigators were able to obtain a search warrant from a Superior Court judge Thursday night. The police, FBI and agents with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service executed the warrant Friday morning and collected evidence in the house, garage and yard all day long.

“We have some problems with this young man’s statements,” Wallace said. “Hopefully this search will assist us in determining whether we are on the right track with our suspicions.”

According to the Island County Prosecutor’s Office, the judge sealed — at police request — the affidavit of probable cause for the search warrant.

Investigators still don’t know the whereabouts of Sepulveda, who lived with her family in the Navy’s Saratoga Heights housing. The police and volunteers have conducted wide-ranging searches of the woods off Regatta Drive, but have found nothing.

Wallace said the police are treating the disappearance as a criminal case, but they have no suspects or definitive evidence of foul play.

“We’ll just keep chipping away at it until we find something that will lead us to her,” he said.

According to Wallace, there were no specific leads or “a smoking gun” that lead to the search warrant, but an accumulation of evidence over the last four weeks.

Wallace said police have not named any suspects in the case and nobody is in custody. The family was home when police and FBI served the search warrant, Wallace said, but they left soon afterward.

Late Friday afternoon, Wallace said the FBI had gathered plenty of potential trace evidence, but they won’t know if they have anything illuminating to the case until it’s processed.

An unusual amount of traffic passed by the house Friday as young FBI agents trudged around the property dressed head-to-foot in white plastic-looking protective uniforms.

You can reach Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or 675-6611.

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