Homicide investigators and police recruits sifted yesterday through underbrush and debris in the woods where an Old Mill High School student was found stabbed to death Saturday.
"We are hoping the killer dropped something," said Detective Shelly Madison.
The nude body of Lisa Kathleen Haenel, 14, was discovered about 9 a.m. Saturday lying face down in a ravine near Shetlands Lane and Century Towne Road, next to the rusted-out shell of a car. She had been missing since Friday morning.
After following up on several leads and questioning possible witnesses, police have worked up a composite sketch of a man they believe could be a witness or who could have additional information about the crime. He was seen by several people in the area of Shetlands Lane and Century Towne Road the day before the slaying.
He is white, 19 to 20 years old, with a thin build, short blond hair, 6 feet tall and was wearing a black knee-length coat, a black baseball cap and baggy pants.
Detective Shelly Madison said that since he was seen in the area Thursday morning, he might also have been there Friday morning around the time Lisa was killed. Investigators would like to talk to him.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Robert Jaschik said investigators are awaiting the results of lab tests to determine if she had been sexually assaulted.
Police crawled through the woods on hands and knees yesterday as they searched.
But they said later it was difficult to separate what might have belonged to the killer from what passers-by left behind.
"There is all kinds of stuff down there, including an old refrigerator," Detective Madison said.
Sergeant Jaschik said detectives have questioned several people in the case.
Police also distributed more fliers with a picture of Lisa and a description of the jeans, sweat shirt, tennis shoes and Old Mill band jacket she was wearing when she was last seen alive.
"We have picked up some information about the crime from calls that have come in as a result of the flier," Sergeant Jaschik said. "And we will be checking those out."
Detectives are trying to determine what happened to Lisa after she left the apartment in the 300 block of Highland Drive, which she shared with her mother, and started for school about 6:30 a.m.
They said there are no signs that she was dragged from the path, which is a popular shortcut for students heading to Old Mill schools, but she could have been forced into the ravine "by someone with a weapon," Sergeant Jaschik said.
Her slaying has frightened students away from the popular shortcut, said Sergeant Jaschik, who found only a few students on the path yesterday when he arrived to pass out the fliers.
"Most parents seemed to have brought their kids to school," he said.
Sergeant Jaschik, who has a 14-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son, said this case is particularly difficult for him.
"When they called me to come out here on Saturday, I checked my daughter's bed just to make sure she was there," he said.
Anyone with information about the crime should call 222-3461 or 222-8050.