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Body Found in Landfill; May be Missing Transient

(CBS 5 NEWS) - A Valley landfill was the scene of a huge search Monday morning as crews were digging through garbage searching for the body of a missing woman.

Fifty-three-year-old Kathy Jo Wewel has been missing since Friday afternoon.

The transient woman and her friend were dumpster diving and at one point the woman's belongings were found, but she was no where to be seen. It's believed that the woman was in one of 16 dumpsters that had been moved to the Butterfield landfill. Based on her friend's information and a timeline, Tempe police pinpointed where she might be and searchers arrived at the landfill and started going through garbage at day break.

Several hours later, they found a body.

It's not known if the body is that of the missing transient, but it is highly likely. Investigators suspected she might be found in one of sixteen transfer trucks each filled with 25 tons of compacted garbage. Luckily those trucks had not yet dumped their garbage into the landfill.

The 12 searchers came down from the landfill at approximately 11:15 a.m. with some sense of relief. They are hoping the body they found is indeed that of 53-year-old Kathy Wewel.

Homicide detectives hoped to identify the victim within a few hours. Police don't suspect foul play and are just calling this a very tragic accident.

01.23.06