Authorities combed more than 10 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike shoulder for about five hours on Thursday, from Bristol to Willow Grove, searching for a woman who police say was kidnapped over the weekend by her ex-boyfriend.
It was the fifth day in the search for Diane Corado, 57, of Levittown, who was allegedly abducted on Sunday - shoeless from her apartment, and at knifepoint, in her own vehicle. Since the kidnapping, more than 100 searchers, as well as trained dogs and marine units, have scoured a lake in a park across the street from her apartment, other places the couple often went, other parts of Pennsylvania, and a few spots in New Jersey, Falls Township police said.
"There isn't a cop involved in this case that hasn't given 150 percent in trying to locate this woman before Christmas," said Joe Nicholas, a search expert and retired state corrections K-9 officer whom Falls Township police brought in to help. "When we go to bed tonight, and our knees hit the floor, let's say a prayer for that young lady and find closure for the family."
Authorities declined to say whether or not they believe Corado was alive.
Corado's ex-boyfriend, Kenneth L. Patterson, 48, was arrested Sunday night at a Maple Shade motel after her Pontiac Aztek was found abandoned Sunday in Camden, with what appeared to be bloodstains inside.
Patterson's clothing had the same stains, too, authorities said.
The couple's relationship ended recently, and until about a month ago, he had listed her place as his residence, officials said.
Patterson, an ex-convict, remains in the custody in Burlington County Jail and has refused to talk to authorities.
He is fighting extradition, but the Bucks County District Attorney's Office will seek a governor's warrant to return him to Pennsylvania, said Michelle Henry, the first assistant district attorney.
On Thursday, about a dozen officers, including ones from the Pennsylvania State Police and Falls Township, broke into teams and searched along the shoulder of the turnpike, said Falls Township Lt. Henry Ward.
Authorities have searched routes Patterson may have taken to get to New Jersey from Levittown.
Falls Township Chief William J. Wilcox has been in the thick of the search, said Nicholas, who has been involved in some of the state's most high-profile cases.
In Bristol, the searches have centered on Maple Beach Park and the Bloomsdale-Fleetwing area.
Officers and K-9 dogs from municipalities all over Bucks County, as well as Pennsylvania and New Jersey state police, have searched nine locations, mostly in Pennsylvania but also a few in New Jersey.
Almost 12 hours after the abduction, Patterson rented a room Sunday afternoon at the Clover Motel on Route 73 in Maple Shade.
Shortly after 6 p.m., the television news reported the abduction. The wife of a police officer found a set of keys and a piece of Corado's identification in her yard in Camden. She recognized Corado and called police, who searched the area.
Corado's Pontiac was found abandoned shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday in the 1600 block of Norris Street in Camden.
At some point during his stay at the Clover, Patterson ordered pizza from a Domino's, and authorities were able to trace his cell-phone call, said a hotel clerk.
Authorities declined to confirm if they used that method.
Around 9 p.m., authorities swarmed the motel and arrested Patterson.
Patterson has had a violent past.
Three years ago, he was charged with kidnapping, carjacking, aggravated assault, and weapons offenses in Trenton after authorities said he drove a girlfriend around against her will, hit her with an antitheft device, and threatened to kill her.
In February 2008, Patterson pleaded guilty to weapons possession under a plea deal and the other charges were dismissed.
Recently, Patterson served almost two years in prison on the weapons offenses and charges of receiving stolen property. His criminal record dates to burglary charges in the late 1980s, records show.
On Thursday, Ward said the search was on hold, so officers could get some rest. Some have been working on only a few hours of sleep. Several K-9 officers have searched for Corado after working their own shifts, Ward said.
"Right now, all the men are basically at their breaking point," he said.