Search turns up nothing in Roxanne Paltauf’s missing person case

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Nearly eight years after Roxanne Paltauf disappeared, Austin Police and the FBI conducted a concentrated search Thursday in a brushy area just blocks away from where she was last seen.

Roxanne Paltauf, missing since 2006.
Roxanne Paltauf, missing since 2006.

“We hope to bring closure to a family today,” said Commander Mark Spangler with the Austin Police Department. “But the truth is, until we complete the evidence collection part of this case, we really will not know.”

Around 3:30 p.m., police called off the search, saying the investigation turned up nothing.

According to Spangler, police received a tip 4-6 weeks ago from a person unrelated to the family or case. After two preliminary surveys of a brushy area in the 300 block of Rundberg Lane, cadaver dogs picked up a hit on a body.

“That is what we are looking for in this field,” said Spangler earlier in the day, “to hopefully recover a body.”

The wooded area sits just a few blocks away from the Budget Inn near Interstate 35 and Rundberg Lane where Paltauf was last seen. A Facebook page setup by her family says she was at the hotel with her boyfriend on July 7, 2006.

She left the room and was never seen again.

Spangler said the area was very difficult to travel due to the heavy brush and they had come across several examples of illegal dumping. Some officers were on ATVs to help traverse the terrain, but the location of the lead was also one of the reasons for optimism.

Any information leading us to this place we think is going to be very good,” he had said. “And specifically because we have her last seen in this area, we believe this is going to be a valuable tip for us.”

Since her disappearance, more than 1,000 tips have poured into APD concerning Paltauf’s disappearance.

Police and the FBI evidence recovery team were looking over a 10-acre area, but said their search and potential digging were focused on a few very specific locations where they believed evidence may have been present.

There are more than 160 cold cases in Austin, but Paltauf’s disappearance is one that has garnered much attention due to billboards and the efforts of her family. Each year on the anniversary of her disappearance, Paltauf’s mother Elizabeth Harris walks the Rundberg area and distributes flyers with Roxeanne’s picture.

“This one has had more news,” said Spangler. “The family has been very involved keeping Roxanne’s image.”

The case remains open. Anyone with information is asked to call the APD Cold Case/Missing Persons Unit at 512-974-5250.

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