McCaffrey search yields no new clues, deputies say

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Charleston County Sheriff's Office said Monday afternoon that a day-long search for more clues in the disappearance of Gayle McCaffrey turned over no new leads.

Crews started the search early Monday morning for missing mom and Citadel employee Gayle McCaffrey.

The search focused on a tract of private property off of Highway 61 near Magnolia Plantation in West Ashley. It's the same area where Gayle McCaffrey's cellphone last pinged a wireless service tower. Helen Banach thinks it's an important area.

"The fact that it pinged here and no reason for her to be here is definitely significant to us," she said.

Banach said the family is remaining hopeful even though none of the searches have turned up any new clues to push investigators and detectives toward a new direction in the case.

"We never thought it would be going on this long after. We kind assumed someone maybe a hunter or someone would find her in the fall," said Banach. "We have a promise to keep to her."

She said the area would still play a role in the case, even if nothing turns up in Monday's search.

CCSO spokesperson James Brady says the search is a revisit of the site previously searched in early May. Brady says the search is not based on new case information but investigators wanted to cover the site again after a "change in the terrain due to seasons change."

"The investigators are looking at it again daily. We have meetings to reassess where we are at to look if there's anything else or anywhere else we can go with the case," Brady said.

Seventy volunteers and support staff from six departments and volunteers from The Citadel make up the search crew. The group is not using cadaver dogs in this search, officials said.

On March 18, 2012 around 5:45 p.m. CCSO deputies responded to the McCaffrey home on Limestone Drive for reports of a missing adult female.

Her husband, Robert McCaffrey, reported his wife missing through a 911 call. A Charleston County Sheriff's Office report states he later told investigators he and his wife had gotten into an argument and he later left to a home he frequents in Easley.

When he returned to his home the next morning on Limestone Boulevard McCaffrey told investigators his wife, Marjorie Gayle McCaffrey, was gone.

A week-long search followed and on May 2, 2012, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon held a press conference announcing that the case had been upgraded from a missing person's case to a homicide investigation and that Robert McCaffrey has been named a suspect. They also announced the existence of another woman, a love interest of Robert's who is cooperating with police in their investigation.

Officials said Monday Robert McCaffrey is still a suspect, but his attorney is not allowing him to speak with officials about the case.

The last search was just last month when a family member said they received an unusual tip that led them to a specific area in Sumter County. Officials confirmed two investigators joined the family in the search but no new leads were found.

Investigators said Monday that a letter reportedly left by Gayle McCaffrey before her disappearance has been determined to be a forgery. However, investigators are still analyzing the letter to determine who did write it.

"This is a good day to have them search again," said Helen Banach.

Officials said there are no additional searches scheduled.