New clue in missing man investigation leads detectives to pond

- Deputies with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office dive team spent the day underwater investigating a lead in the disappearance of Claudio Carvajal Hernandez.  His family reported him missing on June 21.

"He just, I hate to say it this way, kind of fell off the face of the earth," said Captain Tony Prevatt, adding that they received a very vague tip on Wednesday night.  "We received leads that we need to look in the pond for evidence. We're just honestly looking for anything that will lead us back to the investigation of the missing person.  Could be bone, weapon, cell phone."

Days after Hernandez was reported missing, investigators discovered human remains in a burn barrel behind his home.  Now they're waiting on DNA testing to verify whether it's Hernandez or someone else.  The condition of this water in the retention pond  is only adding to the difficulty of this search.
It's black 4-5 feet deep with 2-3 feet of mud lying underneath.  

"As soon as the divers get in they sink up to their waste in mud so they're just kind of pushing their way around to see if they can feel anything in the water at this point," said Captain Prevatt. 

Over the course of Thursday's 8 hour search, deputies in boats held onto each end of a long rope leading the divers through a grid search.  Those divers were relying on waterproof metal detectors and their hands hoping to find something of investigative value.  

Captain Prevatt says they found nothing of interest Thursday.  They'll be back at 8 a.m. on Friday morning to continue their search in a spring just feet away from the retention pond.  

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