RUSSELLVILLE — Authorities returned to a residence on Wilson Boulevard on Friday and gathered dirt samples and other materials in their quest to determine if an infant was buried in the yard.
They called off the search about 4 p.m.
The search began Wednesday after authorities received information that an infant was buried there.
"We have exhausted all our efforts at this point," Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said. "We found a few things that could be either bone, rock or nothing. We bagged them and are sending them to the forensics lab where they will be tested Monday."
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said the lab should be able to determine if the materials warrant further exploration at the site.
The search resembled an archeological dig at times. Those involved took layers of dirt, a few inches at a time, and sifted the samples as part of the search for human remains, Hargett said.
Hargett said seven dogs, all trained to detect the scent of human remains, indicated that remains were possibly at the site.
He said members of the Madison County Sheriff's Office used ground-penetrating radar to search the area Friday.
"They found an area next to where we were digging, and we checked it out, " Hargett said.
After digging with shovels to about 18 inches below the surface, a backhoe was brought in and dug about 6 feet into the ground.
"We didn't see anything that looked like the soil had been disturbed," Hargett said.
The chief said information his office received indicated a woman living at the house gave birth to a baby, but the infant died a few hours later and was buried in the yard.
"I thought they had some good leads and provided some good information, and because of that I believe something happened there," Rushing said. "It's a matter of finding it."
Hargett said they are not giving up.
"We are looking for a couple of people who we believe might know something that can help us," he said. "We'll wait on the lab and then go from there. We all want to know if something actually happened and the only way to do it is to keep following up."
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.