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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Experts assist police in dig
The search for a woman missing since January 2006 enlists a USF forensic team.
By Abbie Vansickle and Rebecca Catalanello Times Staff Writers
Published October 19, 2007
[Melissa Lyttle | Times]
Children watch from the house as Temple Terrace police detectives supervise an excavation in the back yard of 3908 W Vasconia St. in South Tampa in connection with the disappearance of Sandra Hamby Prince.
Sandra Prince, 59, was reported missing Jan. 3, 2006.
TAMPA - The drills rumbled into the late afternoon Thursday at 3908 W Vasconia St. as police continued to dig for signs of Sandra Hamby Prince.
The search for Prince, who has been missing since New Year's Eve, 2005, is expected to continue today and possibly into the weekend, said Temple Terrace police spokesman Michael Dunn.
People in Prince's circle of friends are watching this latest turn of events with grim determination.
"I want her to be down there," said David Jarrett, a gardener who still maintains the lawn at Prince's now-vacant Moffatt Place home in Temple Terrace.
"I want this to be resolved, and I want the guilty party caught," he said.
Police have enlisted the help of forensic anthropologists from the University of South Florida to look for evidence of the 61-year-old social worker, who police believe disappeared under violent circumstances.
USF forensic anthropology professor Erin Kimmerle said she and her team are inspecting soil samples for any sign of a disturbance.
Prince, who more than 30 years ago helped found the Agency for Community Treatment Services drug treatment center, was reported missing Jan. 3, 2006, by a concerned neighbor.
Her door was unlocked. The trunk of her car contained her blood. And her cell phone lay on the kitchen counter. An ATM surveillance video released later showed a man with his face covered trying to access her accounts.
'Person of interest'
In September 2006, police named Tampa contractor Earl C. Pippin III a "person of interest."
They said Pippin, then married, dated Prince for five years and was listed as the sole beneficiary of Prince's $2.8-million estate.
Pippin's attorney said Wednesday he has no evidence of that. Prince's will is sealed in a Hillsborough court file.
When Pippin asked to view her will recently, a judge declined, stating he is not next of kin.
On Thursday, workers drilled for soil samples throughout the day. Kimmerle, who left the site about 4:30 p.m., said researchers set up a grid system to search underneath the house's foundation.
"It takes a while," she said. "You have to be very methodical."
Public records show the owners of the two-story rental hired Pippin to build the house two years ago. An inspector approved the newly poured foundation there on Jan. 5, 2006, just days after Prince vanished.
At a news conference outside the home Thursday morning, Temple Terrace police spokesman Dunn said that so far police had not recovered any evidence from the site.
He said detectives searched the home in October 2006, but it was a much less extensive examination.
What brought them back?
The accumulation of 142 tips in the case, he said.
Similar dig last year
Last year, police conducted a similar dig at a property at Lake Panasoffkee, where Prince and Pippin co-own land.
Soil samples from the Vasconia Street house will go to USF and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for testing, Dunn said.
Afterward, police will restore the house to its original condition.
A search warrant details exactly what brought them to the house, but it's not yet a public record, he said.
Dunn said Pippin continues to refuse to talk with police.
And although Pippin's attorney told reporters Wednesday his client passed a polygraph test, Dunn said that it was not one administered by police, and he has refused to take one of theirs.
The people renting the home declined to speak with a reporter. Police offered to pay for them to stay in a hotel, but they declined, Dunn said.
One person staying at the house, a woman, had to pull down yellow crime scene tape to get out of the house in the morning.