Police end six-day search of Amy Pagnac's home, continue investigating 25-year-old case

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 24, 2014 - 6:06 PM
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Police officials continued to search the Pagnac property, Monday, May 19, 2014 in Maple Grove, MN. Twenty-five years after Amy Sue Pagnac went missing, Maple Grove police, the FBI and sherif's deputies searched her parent's home and property forcing the couple to leave for up to a week while excavations continued on their property.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

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Local police and FBI investigators wrapped up a six-day search Saturday of the Maple Grove house where 13-year-old Amy Sue Pagnac lived before she disappeared 25 years ago. But they aren’t saying what, if anything, was found at her parents’ home.

“That was just a small piece to an entire process we’re going to be working on,” Maple Grove Police Capt. Keith Terlinden said Saturday. “We all are very determined to bring Amy home.”

Authorities arrived at the home with a sealed search warrant last Sunday. For the past week they worked all hours, using a searchlight at night with a backhoe and other digging equipment, filling at least one dump truck and carting out items into a storage unit, neighbors said.

At one point, about 40 officers were at the home, a two-story green house with purple siding located next to a small park in a quiet residential neighborhood. Terlinden declined Saturday to discuss why authorities searched there, what they were looking for, if they found anything and what they’ll do next.

Returning home

Although her mother, Susan Pagnac, and stepfather, Marshall Midden, did extensive interviews during the week, they declined to talk Saturday as they and Amy’s sibling, a younger sister, surveyed the back yard.

They did say, though, that they were grateful to return home and for media coverage telling Amy’s story. They said investigators seemed to take some of her paperwork but returned her things to boxes and put everything in their yard, such as stone pavers, back in place.

The couple believe their daughter is alive, but say they don’t know what police are looking for at their home.

“They did more than I thought,” Midden said.

Recalling Aug. 5, 1989

Midden told police that he and Amy went to tend crops at the family’s farm in Isanti County about noon Aug. 5, 1989, and were returning home about 5 p.m. when he stopped at a gas station 2 miles from their home. He told police he used the bathroom, came outside to find the car empty and assumed that Amy was in the women’s bathroom. But, he said, she had vanished.

This happened a little more than two months before 11-year-old Jacob ­Wetterling was abducted at gunpoint by a masked man near St. Joseph. But while Wetterling’s case captured the state’s attention, Pagnac’s got little publicity because, her parents say, police treated it as a runaway.

When asked why it’s taken so long to solve the case, Terlinden said Saturday that his department has worked on it extensively over the years. Now, he said, they have the added challenge of so much time passing, but also have improved technology.

“This is obviously a priority for our police department,” he said. “This case has been open and active since we received it in 1989.”

 

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141 • @kellystrib

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