Investigators reopened the decades-old cold case and began digging Wednesday in the back yard of a Glendora home on the 500 block of Essex Street, where Wendy Byron last lived with her husband, Robert. She disappeared August 26, 1978 at the age of 24.
Investigators say they have reason to believe that Byron may have been buried in the backyard of that home. Cadaver dogs were brought out to the scene on Thursday morning, but they did not pick up a scent. Nonetheless, investigators say they will continue to excavate the yard, hoping to find clues to solve the cold case.
"We do have information that led us to this location. This is where she resided when she went missing, but we're not going to release what type of information, as not to jeopardize the investigation," said Lt. Holly Francisco with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Detectives say a sonar device detected something.
"It identified an anomaly, which could be anything from a rock to different colored soil. We're just looking for any evidence that could help us in this investigation," Francisco said.
Longtime residents of the neighborhood vaguely remember the young couple.
"I moved here in 1977, and like I said, I vaguely remember the man that lived in that house, but I don't recall any female living there at all," said area resident Milford Fonza.
According to authorities, Byron's disappearance was classified as suspicious. Her car was found at Ontario International Airport and foul play was suspected. Her husband was questioned in the case. He has since remarried and moved to Covina.
When Eyewitness News asked about his involvement in his wife's disappearance, Robert Byron had no comment.
Margie Green says she knew Robert Byron and says he believed Wendy had left him all those years ago.
"He acted like he was hurt she had disappeared, left him, or whatever," Green said. "He did say they had a bit of an argument, and so when he came home and she was not there, maybe he thought that she was just mad at him."
Investigators say they are currently not in contact with Robert Byron and are just concentrating on any evidence found at the Glendora home.
Eyewitness News spoke with Robert Byron's sister, who said her brother told her that Wendy had moved to Ohio and changed her identity, and that Robert had spoken with Wendy several years after she had disappeared.
Steve Lawrence says he helped Robert Byron sell the house nearly 25 years ago. He said it was strange to see the house being dug up.
"It's trippy, I remember the house was vacant and I sat in there many times having open houses and all kinds of different stuff, it was pretty strange to see," Lawrence said.
In a phone interview, a former brother-in-law of Robert Byron told Eyewitness News that after watching reports on the investigation, he recalled Robert telling him that his former wife had relocated to Ohio and that he had been in touch with her. He said that was during the holiday season in 1978, three months after Wendy went missing.