Day 4 of the Investigation - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/04/02 - Nacogdoches

Day 4 of the Investigation

by Jessica Cervantez

After four days of searching for debris, many people are feeling the exhaustion; however, efforts have not slowed down.

Admiral Harold Gehman and the team of investigators he will lead arrived this morning at the A.L. Mangham Airport in Nacogdoches, which is being used as a debris collection site.

"Yesterday, the media asked me where the debris is being stored and I could not answer that," said Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss. "Today, I can tell you that it is being stored at A.L. Mangham Airport, but of course, it is an isolated site."

Meanwhile, search crews continue to look for debris on horseback, 4-wheelers, and by GPS mapping. The number of calls concerning debris locations has now increased to a total of 3,200.

At the Nacogdoches Command Post, officials are making the transition from a reactive to a proactive approach when locating and retrieving the debris.

"We have sent out three more mounted teams and more ATV equipment," said Kerss.

Lt. Gary Lile, of the Smith County Sheriff's Dept., was a part of one of the teams on horseback.

"Some people have been here since day one," said Lt. Lile. "We have been here for the past two days and we'll probably be here for another six or seven days."

"We have continued to have found human remains of the individual's of the space shuttle," said Kerss.

Although phone calls have now dropped to an average of about 22 an hour, that is no indication that the demands on everyone in the search are decreasing.

The East Texas news has learned that FBI officers and US Marshals visited a home in Nacogdoches County where debris from the shuttle was found.

The people who live there voluntarily returned the wreckage. No arrests were made, but they did get a stern reminder what they did is a violation of federal law.

Several students at Stephen F. Austin University have also been questioned about debris being taken, but no arrests have been made.

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