Possible human remains found in Fayette County renews interest in missing person case

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CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - It's been 32 years since Denise Pflum disappeared...but the search for the 18-year-old high school senior continues.

Search dogs have detected something in Forth pond on the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary property.

Investigators are in the process of draining the pond located south of Connersville in Fayette County to see if they have a lead.

"The dogs are indicating possibility. No assurance that it's her or anything is there but I feel it's our burden to follow up on it."

The case has haunted the community and been a great mystery of Fayette county and I think it has been the burden of our Sheriff’s Department. It's our investigation," he told WTHR.

Sheriff Laughlin says it could take up to three weeks before they are able to determine if they have a new lead in this case.

It as been a heartbreaking mystery since 1986. Whatever happened to Denise Pflum?

Fayette County Sheriff Joey Laughlin was seven years old when she went missing. He has now been Sheriff for four years.

They borrowed search dogs from Homeland Security that search several locations but they detected something on pond number four along Columbia Road near 400 South at the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary.

"We brought out two more dogs two days later and those dogs hit as well. We began efforts to drain the pond and study the contents," he explained.

Laughlin says he remembers this case like it was yesterday.

"Denise Pflum was an 18-year-old high school senior. Had went to a party Thursday night and the next day was Good Friday. Forget her purse at the party so told her family she was going back out to the property to get her purse," he remembered.

They would never see or hear from her again.

"There have been rumors and a myriad of things they talk about over the years. Our interest is to bring closure to the family," he continued.

The search area is a good half mile of this road and hard to access especially with the current wet conditions.

Because of the current weather it could be up to three weeks before there is any word about whether this is a true lead at the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary in rural Fayette County but for now it's all residents have since 1986.

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