MOORESVILLE, NC (WBTV) - Investigators are searching two properties for the remains of a woman who went missing more than a decade ago.
The last documented sighting of Bernadette Mildred Rodko was on Oct. 17, 2003, shortly after 3 a.m. on I-77 near mile marker 43. According to a national missing persons database, a Mooresville Police Lieutenant helped Rodko change a flat tire until her foster brother, Chris Kamionka, arrived.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System website says Rodko drove to Mooresville to settle a financial transaction with Kamionka.
She lived in Pennsylvania where other family members later reported her missing. One of the addresses searched Monday was Kamionka's former home on Ketchie Drive.
"Mooresville Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation have been investigating the disappearance as a homicide and recently developed investigative leads that provide new potential information her remains will be found and her killer(s) identified and arrested," police say.
Neighbors watched as police and state agents used cadaver dogs on Ketchie Drive.
"You basically see this on TV, you never see this first hand," said Albert Richello from his front porch. "The ground penetrating radar, the dogs. You know it's something serious. It captivates you."
More neighbors came out to watch a similar scene on East Wilson Avenue. Investigators also used a ground penetrating radar to further examine any areas of interest.
Interim Deputy Chief Gerald Childress wouldn't comment on the new evidence, but he did expand on how people who come forward can change an investigation.
"Friends of today are foes of tomorrow. So as time passes, folks are more apt to say things they wouldn't during the time of the event," said Childress.
Police say the residents who currently live at the properties have been notified of the search and are not suspects in the investigation.
Rodko would have turned 58 on Aug. 6.
"I think it's a good thing for closure, for the family," said Richello about his hope that authorities can close the investigation.
Anyone with information about Rodko's disappearance is asked to call the Mooresville Police Department at 704-664-3311.