NORTH PHILADELPHIA Crime-scene investigators recovered human remains in a North Philadelphia ravine Friday as part of an investigation into suspended Homicide Detective Ron Dove, who is suspected of lying about three killings and a man's disappearance, according to law enforcement sources.
Police have been digging in the area since last month, after they found information on the veteran detective's iPad concerning Reynaldo Torres, a North Philadelphia man who has been missing for a year and a half.
Investigators believe Dove concealed information about Torres' disappearance and the slaying of Torres' friend Melanie Colon from other detectives.
Around 2:30 p.m., investigators found what is believed to be a human jawbone in the trash-strewn ravine near Fourth and Westmoreland Streets, the sources said. Medical examiners were trying to identify the remains Friday night.
Investigators stopped their digging at sundown and planned to return Saturday morning, the sources said.
Police taped off a pedestrian bridge and access to a recreation field as they searched out of view of reporters gathered at the scene.
Torres' case is one of several in which police suspect Dove of misconduct.
The department announced last week that Dove - a 16-year veteran of the force who had been working homicides since 2005 - was suspended with the intent to dismiss after investigators determined that he had been lying about his conduct in murder cases involving his girlfriend, Erica Sanchez.
The detective had been averaging about $160,000 a year in salary and overtime.
Dove is also the subject of a criminal investigation, headed by the District Attorney's Office and the department's Internal Affairs division.
Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said last week that the department was "not going to leave any stone unturned" over the course of the investigation.
Dove, 41, had been under scrutiny since September, when police believe he helped Sanchez flee the state after she was named a suspect in the stabbing death of her ex-boyfriend, Cesar Vera.
Investigators said they believed Dove moved Sanchez's car from the crime scene around the time of the killing and helped her escape to Rochester, N.Y.
Dove also allegedly paid for a hotel for Sanchez to hide out in - all while telling investigators he did not know her whereabouts.
Sanchez, 33, Dove's girlfriend of five years, has been charged with Vera's murder and was in custody Friday without bail. It is unclear if she has been cooperating with investigators.
Investigators believe that Dove may have concealed information in the disappearance of Torres and the slaying of Colon, 22, who was shot six times at close range and found face down behind a Juniata Park apartment building in May 2012.
Torres has not been seen since then.
Information found on Dove's iPad led police to suspect that Vera might have been involved in Colon's slaying and Torres' disappearance, the sources said.
Last month, investigators searched the ravine with cadaver dogs but did not find any human remains.
They returned to the site Friday and began digging in an overgrown area near some industrial buildings around Third Street and Allegheny Avenue.
Internal Affairs was also trying to determine whether Dove stifled the 2010 investigation into the slaying of Leslie Delzingaro, a 45-year-old woman shot through the heart at an Olney bar owned by Sanchez's father. Dove was the lead detective in that case.
Delzingaro's family has maintained that Dove seemed dismissive of the case, but told them the bar owner was a "great guy."
Then, in late October, police found photos of Dove on the iPad of a Northeast Philadelphia man arrested with more than $300,000 worth of heroin.
The snapshots, police said, showed Dove at a bar, smiling, with his arm around the suspected dealer.
Inquirer staff writer Robert Moran contributed to this article.