After three years of searching, the key to solving the case of a missing Hallandale Beach woman might be buried within a seven-acre wooded patch of overgrown trees and shrubbery in Opa-locka.
New information as to the whereabouts of Lynda Meier, who went missing June 4, 2010 after leaving her Hallandale Beach apartment at 5 a.m., led police Monday to an area around 1790 Service Road in Opa-locka.
“Recent information received related to this case said there may be Lynda Meier’s remains or property that have been located in this wooded area,” said Hallandale Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy.
Public Works employees used bulldozers and other equipment to clear out the trees and shrubbery so that police officers from Hallandale Beach, Miami-Dade, Opa-locka and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement could begin the tedious process of combing through the land with the help of cadaver dogs.
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The search is expected to take at least two days and will include about 30 detectives and seven agencies, said Hallandale Beach Police spokesman Maj. Thomas Honan.
Meier, 40 and a pharmacy school graduate from Nova Southeastern University, was supposed to pick up her mother at her Aventura apartment for a doctor’s appointment, but never showed up.
Surveillance video showed Meier leaving her beachfront apartment, where she lived by herself, at 5:17 a.m.
Her maroon Cadillac Escalade was found two days later, abandoned in a parking lot near The Gardens apartments in the 13400 block of Northwest 30th Avenue. Police at the time said it looked like there was an effort to remove evidence from the car.
Two women were seen using her credit card at a Wal-Mart Supercenter on 5851 NW 177th St. the next day.
Police began questioning two ex-convicts, one of whom she had contact with just days before her disappearance.
At the time, both Antwan Kennedy and Dallas King were named persons of interest.
Meier met Kennedy while she was volunteering to work with disadvantaged youth. Police at the time believed Kennedy was the last person she spoke to on the morning of her disappearance.
Kennedy was good friends with King, and both men at the time admitted to having contact with Meier, and attempting to use her credit and debit cards.
But police, who suspected foul play, were never able to connect the men to her disappearance or find her body.
A year after Meier disappeared, investigators searched a Miami Gardens canal and surrounding areas to no avail. A $75,000 reward for information was offered.
But Hallandale Beach police did not give up.
“We never stopped working this case,” Flournoy said.
Recently, acquaintances of King stepped forward with information. They’d been afraid to previously, Flournoy said, because they were scared of King.
“He was known to be very violent, so they were afraid to come forward to provide this information,” Flournoy said.
But King is now behind bars, serving two life sentences for armed robbery.
Three sources singled out the Opa-locka location as Meier’s resting place.
The sources identified the area based on “some historical information, based on some activity that they know related to Mr. King,” said Flournoy, adding the connection to King remains strong.
King was inside one of the homes just a block away from the wooded area on the night Meier disappeared.
Sources said the wooded area was a common place for King to dump things, Flournoy added.
Kennedy, who is now on probation and lives in Fort Lauderdale, has not been linked to the crime.
As the afternoon wore on Monday, tractors and bulldozers crashed through the trees next to the residential area allowing investigators to find credit cards, driver’s licenses and purses — but nothing that belonged to Meier.
Flournoy called the area a dumping ground for stolen goods.
He’s hoping that somewhere in the mix they will get the clues they need to solve the three-year-old case. But even if they don’t, they will not give up.
“We may come up completely empty, but it just means we have to continue to work the case,” Flournoy said.