Search continues for missing Brooklyn woman

BLOOMINGBURG - State police widened their investigation to cover Sullivan County Friday as the search for Laura Garza, of Bay Ridge, persists.

Garza?s brothers recently arrived in New York from Texas to join in the search for their missing sister. They spent Thursday and Friday posting fliers of Garza all around Orange County and combing wooded areas with police. Garza was last seen in Newburgh with 23-year-old convicted sex offender Michael Mele.

"We're doing everything possible,? Nicholas Garza says. ?We're moving rocks to try and find her. It's like a bad dream."

State police searched the village of Bloomingburg on the border between Orange and Sullivan counties where Mele?s girlfriend lives. Police suspect Mele may have stopped in Bloomingburg before turning himself in on Dec. 5 for violating his parole for a prior sex offense.

Police have searched Mele?s apartment and vehicle and report that the apartment was wiped down with bleach and a section of carpet is missing from the floor. Despite some evidence, police say they do not have enough reason to charge Mele in connection with Garza?s disappearance.

Mele is in police custody after turning himself in for breaking his parole last Friday. Police say, although he has not been charged, he is a person of interest in the investigation for Garza.

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