CANTON — Police said Saturday that the latest search for clues into the 1986 disappearance of a 17-year-old Jay girl would continue Sunday and would possibly involve an excavator.
Richard Moreau, father of Kim Moreau who vanished on prom night 29 years ago, said he remained optimistic that investigators would unearth a lead.
Saturday morning, Moreau, his wife Beatrice, his brother and friends patiently waited for a third day as Maine State Police searched 502 Pleasant St., a 5-acre property and home of Brian Enman, the last person known to have seen Kim Moreau alive.
Police have not said what brought them to Enman’s home. An affidavit in support of the search warrant has been sealed at the Oxford County court clerk’s office in Paris.
Enman, who has never been named a suspect in the case, suggested on Friday that police are “grasping at straws” and flat-out denied that Moreau’s body was buried on the property, which he bought in 2000.
His wife was seen Saturday morning driving their daughter from the house. As she pulled up to a line of folding orange traffic cones, Moreau stooped and moved them out of the way so she could pass.
He said he bears her no ill will. After all, they both desire the same thing: for all of this to be over.
“I told her I feel bad for her and her kids,” Moreau said. “It’s hard to put innocent people through this. At least two people could tell me right where (Kim) is, and for whatever reason, they haven’t. If this is what it takes to bring her home, so be it.”
Maine State Police Detective Randy Keaten said he could not comment on whether investigators found any clues Saturday, though he ruled out an indefinite search of the property, saying he expected it would be wrapped up by Sunday.
For almost an hour Saturday, two members of the Canton Fire Department, Oxford and Franklin County sheriff’s deputies and Maine State Police cleared a path of trees and brush from the edge of a clearing a short distance into the woods. After arriving before 9 a.m., they were mostly packed up by noon.
Keaten said that after consulting with foresters on Friday, they were removing trees to the edge of where the clearing would have ended 30 years ago.
“It’s just grunt work,” Beatrice Moreau said. “But we’ll be here.”
Most of Saturday’s work was in preparation for a team of University of Maine specialists to once again use ground-penetrating radar to search the site on Sunday. Such equipment has already ruled out anything being found in the concrete slab under the house on the property.
According to Alice R. Kelley, an instructor in UMaine’s School of Earth and Climate Sciences, the equipment gives operators a remote visual up to six meters down.
Kelley said she works in geoarchaeology and typically looks for buried structures or at sedimentary deposits. Police said an excavator would be on hand if needed.
Kim Moreau went missing the night of May 10, 1986. According to reports over the years, she’d gotten into a fight with her boyfriend on prom night and ended up driving around town with a friend and two 25-year-olds, one of them Enman. She told family at 11 p.m. that she’d be back in an hour and was never seen by them again. In 1993 she was declared legally dead.
In the years since, Richard Moreau has vigilantly pursued leads into her disappearance, hanging thousands of missing-person posters, personally tracking down leads and begging for anyone with information to help him bring her body home.
Over the years he familiarized himself with official search techniques. He once bored holes every three feet for two acres to prep a site for cadaver dogs, excavating an entire swamp and lying uncomfortably on his stomach for several hours as he delicately excavated bones.
Since Thursday he’s only slept a few hours a night, has no appetite, and largely subsists on “coffee, hope and nerves.”
At one point the chain saws ceased and Keaten held a brief talk with Moreau, showing him a picture on a phone. But, asked by a member of the media what he saw, Moreau just shook his head: another unknown face whom he’d never heard of before.
Optimism, Moreau said, keeps him going. He has met countless supportive strangers, volunteers and police who have enriched his life over the years.
“You’ve got to look for the good in things, because they’re not going to jump out at you,” he said, pointing at the same time to where, a few feet away, his wife and friend Terry Belyea, who’d arrived that morning to show support, were talking.
Moreau said Beatrice knew when to turn off TV programs that might upset him; Belyea had come just to be there with him.
As he talked, Tami Hamel of Rumford walked over, hugged Moreau and said he was in her prayers. “It’s time,” said Hamel, a passing stranger.
Moreau smiled. “As I told these young gentlemen,” he said, gesturing toward the media, “it’s all a part of the process. The hardest part is the waiting game.”
Staff Writer Kathryn Skelton contributed to this report.