A search for Anchorage woman Valerie Sifsof picked up again Thursday off the Seward Highway south of Girdwood, but Sifsof remains missing, according to Alaska State Troopers.
The 43-year-old woman vanished after walking away, upset, from her boyfriend and their campsite at Granite Creek around midnight July 7, the boyfriend told troopers. With few clues, troopers called off their search about 10 days in, but Sifsof's family continued to look for her. Then, on Sunday, they discovered her sweatshirt in a logjam on the creek, about a half-mile downstream from the campground, troopers said.
The discovery brought four cadaver dogs, their handlers, and Girdwood-based Trooper Sgt. Michael Zweifel to the area on Thursday to resume the official search.
From about 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., they scoured the banks of Granite Creek and Sixmile Creek and logjams on the waterways. At times, the searchers placed the dogs on the bow of a jet boat to let them sniff the water, Zweifel said.
"The dogs, towards the end of the day, showed some interest in an area, so we're going to go back Sunday," Zweifel said.
The trooper sergeant said the searchers are trying to take advantage of lower water levels since heavy rain caused creeks to swell in recent weeks. If they find nothing Sunday, the troopers may decide to again suspend their efforts, Zweifel said.
"It's definitely disheartening to not have found her," he said. "Before, we had the whole world that we were searching. With the clothing, we're narrowed back down to the water."
"That's just a clue as to where she may be located," Zweifel said. "And it could be a clue to the entire puzzle, but it's one tiny piece of the puzzle and we still need to put it together."
By CASEY GROVE