- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 25, 2002

OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) The FBI uncovered human remains yesterday in an outbuilding behind the house of Ward Weaver, the self-described top suspect in the case of two missing girls who lived across the street, officials said.
The remains of one person were found hidden in a shed, said Charlie Mathews, special agent in charge of the FBI's Portland office. Teams continued to look under a concrete slab directly behind the house for more remains, he said.
Police Chief Gordon Huiras said the body had been turned over to the medical examiner and had not been identified.
The FBI began searching Mr. Weaver's property yesterday morning; police erected a chainlink fence around the property late Friday.
After a quiet morning yesterday, activity at the scene picked up around 3 p.m. as crime reconstruction teams, digging equipment and FBI agents poured into the fenced area. A medical examiner's vehicle pulled up about two hours later and backed into a shed near the house.
Around that time, the girls' grandfathers Don Martin and Wesley Duffey abruptly left the search scene, saying they had to be with their daughters.
"Wes got a call from the FBI that said, 'Get to your family now,'" said Cassie Winter, a friend of the families.
Mr. Weaver, a 39-year-old single father who knew both Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis, was evicted from the single-story house after his arrest Aug. 13 on charges he raped his son's 19-year-old girlfriend.
The night of the purported rape, his angry and distraught son told 911 dispatchers that his father had confessed to killing Ashley and Miranda.
Mr. Weaver has pleaded not guilty to the charge and denied any involvement in the girls' disappearances, but he has told the Associated Press that he is considered a suspect.
The two 13-year-old girls, friends who lived in the same apartment complex near Mr. Weaver's home, vanished within two months of each other this past winter.
Yesterday morning, police set up two large white portable tents behind Mr. Weaver's house. One appeared to be over the concrete slab; the other was farther back near a shed.
Three search dogs worked the property, along with about 40 investigators from the FBI, Oregon City Police and the Oregon State Police.
Ashley disappeared Jan. 9. She was last seen eating breakfast with her younger sister and was to walk about eight minutes to a bus stop near Mr. Weaver's home. Michelle Duffey, Miranda's mother, last saw her daughter in a bathrobe eating breakfast on March 8.
Linda Beloof, an attorney representing the girls' mothers, said the women "were in a safe place" and didn't want to talk with the media.
Ashley, a friend of Mr. Weaver's daughter Mallori, had been a frequent guest at the house; for several months in 2001 she lived there while her own father was in jail on charges of abusing her.
Mr. Weaver said he often drove Ashley to school and broke up with a girlfriend after fighting about the girl's frequent overnight stays.
Mr. Weaver told AP last month that he treated Ashley as a daughter during visits, often noticing her revealing clothes and asking her to change into something more appropriate.
"My sister, the first time she saw Ashley, she told me I got to watch myself," Mr. Weaver said. "I said 'shut up, she's 12.'"
Miranda also knew Mr. Weaver's daughter and visited his home, but her mother said she stayed overnight only a few times.
Kristi Sloan, Mr. Weaver's ex-wife, said it "makes her sick" that it took the FBI so long to find the bodies. She said she went to agents five months ago with her suspicions about Mr. Weaver.

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