HUNLOCK TWP. — The search for the remains of Phylicia Thomas continued Saturday with excavation of land near where a trailer once stood — the last place Thomas was seen alive more than 14 years ago.
A volunteer team of cadaver search dogs from Stroudsburg-based Rescue International returned to the area along Golf Course Road and Timber Lane in Hunlock Township where Phylicia, then 22, was last seen at a party in a trailer on Feb. 11, 2004.
The excavation Saturday did not uncover any human remains.
Chief Bruce Barton of Rescue International said he and his team are volunteering their services in the hope of finding Phylicia and ending the long ordeal for her family.
Before a backhoe began to dig, three search dogs did “hit” on a few spots on the site, indicating possible evidence of remains. The main focus was in an area between two trees about 100 yards from where the trailer once stood. Judy Lorah Fisher, a friend of Pauline Bailey, Phylicia’s mother, said a vegetable garden was located in the area and she has been told Phylicia was buried in the garden.
Phylicia was reported missing by her mother on Feb. 13, 2004, when Bailey received a phone call from Phylicia’s place of employment indicating her paycheck was never picked up.
Family members believe Phylicia was killed while attending a party in the house trailer on a farm on Timber Lane on Feb. 11, 2004, and her body was then carried to a barn where it was kept. They believe her body was either buried in a vegetable garden on the farm or dumped in a pond, which discharges into Roaring Brook Creek.
After the search dogs earlier this week “hit” on several spots near where the garden was, Chief Barton contacted state police to give them an update and to ask if he could excavate the site. Fisher said Barton was told by State Police to proceed with excavation and to notify troopers if they make any significant discoveries.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.