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UPDATE: Police Continue Search For Amanda Bach Murder Evidence

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Porter County, Ind. authorities search for evidence Thursday in the murder of Amanda Bach. (CBS)

Porter County, Ind. authorities search for evidence Thursday in the murder of Amanda Bach. (CBS)

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Updated 9/22/2011 at 5:00 p.m.
 
VALPARAISO, Ind. (CBS) — Porter County, Ind. Sheriff’s police and a state dive team came up empty this week as they searched for evidence in the murder of Amanda Bach, the Portage teen found shot to death Saturday.

Police were hoping to find the murder weapon.

“We’re looking for evidence,” said Sheriff David Lain, who arrived at the scene, north of Wheeler High School, Wednesday afternoon. Chief deputy prosecutor Matthew Frost and deputy prosecutor Cheryl Polarek were also at the pond, about 300 yards from the road.

“We’re combing everything out there to see if there’s evidence; there was not,” Sgt. Larry LaFlower said. “It was real mucky, almost like a swamp.”

In court Wednesday, attorney Robert Harper filed his appearance to represent Dustin McCowan, 18, who has been charged with Bach’s murder.

“Dustin’s denying any involvement,” Harper said.

Porter Superior Court Judge Mary Harper recused herself from the case because attorney Harper is her ex-husband. The case was moved to Judge William Alexa’s court, where a status hearing was set for Sept. 30.

“I’ve been in contact with the family since Saturday,” Robert Harper said.

Harper said McCowan talked with police last Friday before he left town for Bloomington. He was arrested by Indiana University police in Bloomington on Saturday.

McCowan, who was friends with Bach, lives on County Road 625W, a short distance from where her body was discovered Saturday afternoon.

LaFlower said police confiscated the marked Crown Point police car of Joseph Elliott McCowan, the father of Dustin McCowan. LaFlower said Joseph E. McCowan was not cooperative on Saturday when the car was taken to process it for evidence.

According to the charging document released Tuesday, an unidentified girl told police she was with Dustin McCowan between 4 and 7 a.m. Friday. LaFlower cited the charging document saying McCowan’s father took his son for a short ride in his squad car after he came home from work.

Police also searched the McCowan house. LaFlower said McCowan’s service weapon has been ruled out as the murder weapon. LaFlower said Joseph E. McCowan owns other guns, which were being checked by police.

“There were definitely some weapons that were involved. The dad had some guns that he didn’t take to work with him” that were for personal use, LaFlower said. He said it isn’t known whether Dustin McCowan owned a weapon. “That is something we’ll have to check.”

The search for evidence continued Thursday.

Sheriff’s officers, assisted by a tracker dog, covered 2 ½ miles of road between Dean’s General Store, where Bach’s car was discovered in Wheeler, and the railroad tracks where her body was found, 200 yards from McCowan’s home. Police said they were retracing what they believed to be the suspect’s path.

“It’s the only roadway that is between, on a straight shot, between his house and Dean’s,” Porter County Sgt. Larry LaFlower said.

Also Thursday, in Portage, the casket bearing Bach’s remains arrived at Nativity of Our Savior Parish, ahead the young woman’s visitation. The steady stream of floral arrangements reflected both the community’s grief – and every parent’s worst nightmare.

“To see a young person die in this manner — I think everybody’s affected, everybody’s touched,”  Rev. Andrew Corona told CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley.  “They imagine themselves in their same position.”

Bach was killed by a gunshot wound to the neck.

Police also looked for evidence at a neighbor’s house near the McCowan home on Wednesday.

A neighbor told police she heard voices the night Bach was killed between 1 and 2 a.m. A male voice said, “Amanda, come on, get up, Amanda, get up.” The neighbor heard a female voice saying, “I can’t believe this is happening,” according to the charging affidavit.

Bach, a 2011 Portage High School graduate, left her Portage home about 10 p.m. Thursday and McCowan told police she was at his house from 11 p.m. Thursday to 1:30 a.m. Friday. He said they played video games and watched a movie. He denied hearing the voices the neighbor reported.

About 3:25 a.m. Friday, police found Bach’s car at Dean’s General Store on Indiana 130 in Wheeler. The driver’s door was open and the front tire was flat. Bach’s purse and its contents were inside the car. Police found Bach’s body about 3:45 p.m. Saturday, about three miles from her car.

Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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