NEW INFORMATION: New movement in 1996 missing person case

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Sara Bushland
Considered Missing and Endangered Since April 3rd 1996

The Washburn County Sheriff's Office conducted an extensive ground and water search on Thursday May 16th and Friday May 17th, 2013. The search was conducted in cooperation with and the consent of Marie Lambert, Sara's mother and Jim Lambert, step-father, on property owned by Marie and Jim Lambert. We thank Marie and Jim and Sara's sister Lesley for their continued cooperation in efforts to find Sara.

Many agencies and personnel assisted the Washburn County Sheriff's Office investigators in their search to include: Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, City of Superior/Douglas County Dive Team, St. Louis County MN Sheriff's Search and Rescue, Cadaver K-9 Units from the Midwest, Wisconsin Emergency Management and Wisconsin National Guard.

Why and how this search came about and the results or information learned from this search will not be released, as this is still an ongoing criminal investigation.

Sara has been missing for over 15 years and as far as we are concerned the case remains open and active until such time she is located. We will continue to do what has to be done to provide closure to Sara's family and friends and hold any and all responsible for her disappearance. We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts.


SPOONER, Wis. (WEAU) -- "You're scared to answer the phone, you never know what's going to be on the other side of the line," said Mike Bushland.

For the past 17 years, that is how he has lived day in and day out since his daughter, Sara Bushland, was reported missing in April 1996.

"I don't think it's good whatever happened but you gotta keep hoping," he said.

Years of waiting for something, and now, some movement in the case.

"They just said they were going to do this search, why I don't know" he said.

He was told by investigators they were going to search his property where Sara Bushland lived near Spooner. He says it had been searched before, but now has gotten attention again.

"They came with three boats and nine dogs and a bunch of people I guess.

He believes 76 people were out there yesterday as well as on Friday. You could see several law enforcement officers on the scene. It is something he has been in the works for the past one to two months.

"It was just a little deal, they have been planning this for a while," he said.

"We'd ride together and sit on the bus together and go to school together and hang out," said Amy Riedll.

Riedll grew up down the road from Sara Bushland and is hearing about investigators searching the property for the first time. More than a decade later, she has not forgotten her friend nor the April day in 1996 when she disappeared.

"She didn't get on the bus the next day and wasn't around and then all the sudden everything came out that she was missing," she said.

"Hardest part is they don't have a body, pretty hard to track it backwards without that," Mike Bushland added.

The facts may be tough to face. But Bushland still holds on to hope, believing there is one thing to be true.

"I'm sure somebody knows what happened to Sara, someone knows," he said.