SARATOGA SPRINGS — New information has led police to excavate a portion of a Fulton County property, as they search for the remains of a 13-year-old girl who disappeared from the city in 1986, Saratoga Springs police said Tuesday.
Excavation at a property on Route 30 in the town of Northampton, just north of the Mayfield town line, began Tuesday and was to resume Wednesday, as police try to solve the case of Tammie Anne McCormick.
McCormick went missing on her way to school on April 19, 1986. Police have developed new information from time to time but have never closed the case, though they have come to believe she is dead.
"The investigation was done back then, and then in 2010-2011 they delved into it even more, did more interviews, but nothing really came out of that that was a smoking gun," city police spokesman Lt. Robert Jillson said. "Just recently, a couple of months ago, new information came to our attention."
They're looking for remains, Jillson acknowledged.
"If there wasn't the possibility, we wouldn't be digging there," he said.
The Fulton County property is linked to a person of interest named by police in 2011, and the new information was sufficient for police to obtain a search warrant, Jillson said.
The person identified as McCormick's possible killer in 2011 was Arthur Mason Slaybaugh II, a correction officer at the Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility in Wilton. Slaybaugh died in 2001, having suffered a heart attack at age 41.
Jillson wouldn't specify Slaybaugh's link to the Northampton property.
"It came up as a property of interest back then [in 2011] but didn't come up enough for a search warrant," he said.
In the excavation that began Tuesday, city police were assisted by state police, who provided the excavator and are securing the site.
"It's an active investigation," Jillson said. "We will resume excavation [Wednesday], and we will continue to interview and re-interview people we talked to back then."
McCormick lived in the Geyser Crest area and attended seventh grade at Saratoga Springs Junior High School, which was then on West Circular Street. On the day of her disappearance, she missed the school bus and told her sister she would hitchhike to school — but she never arrived. Some friends said she planned to run away to Florida.
The case remained officially a missing persons case until 2011, when authorities announced she was probably murdered and named Slaybaugh as a suspect.