A forensic team is on the second day of searching for the possible remains of missing NSU student Stephen Adams, who disappeared from Tahlequah without a trace nearly ten years ago. But a tip recently led the search team to a site in Fort Gibson.
The forensic search team from the medical examiner's office is searching an old cistern, nine feet below the surface. On day two of the search, they carefully filled five-gallon buckets with dirt, then combed through it for any possible bone fragments or evidence.
"Every once in a while, they'll pause and think they'll see something. They'll bend down and inspect something and see that maybe it's just a rock, and they'll continue their dig, a shovel full or bucket full at a time," said Cherokee County District Attorney Brian Kuester.
The search is very methodical and time consuming. On Monday, crews used a backhoe to dig out the old, partially collapsed, cistern.
"Remove trees, remove dirt, try to make it safe, the cistern safe, so that investigators could go down inside of it to begin to remove the dirt," he said.
The last time Adams was heard by anyone was when he called his girlfriend to let her know he was giving someone a ride to Keys, Oklahoma. Adams and his white pickup haven't been seen since.
Kuester hopes the new tip to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation leads to answers for the sake of Adams' family.
"For them it's probably a roller coaster. Each time we find a place like this, and we look and our hopes rise and build, and hopefully we will actually find something here," Kuester said.
As the forensic team works, police tape surrounds the site, which is considered a crime scene until proven otherwise. Because of the care taken, the search could take another day or two.
Since it is still uncertain if they'll find the remains of Adams at the site in Fort Gibson, it's important to remind everyone about the $5,000 OSBI reward in the case.
There is also a tip line to call if you have any information, at 800-522-8017.
Earlier this month, those same teams used ground penetrating radar to see if Stephen Adams body was buried in a rural area of Cherokee County. Investigators say they were following up on a tip that his body may have been buried in a field near Keys.