Authorities say Hall has been fastidious about not leaving behind any physical evidence or forensic residues, perhaps due to his fascination with True Detective and other crime magazines and to his familiarity with cleaning supplies and techniques.
"It's kind of a needle in a haystack kind of thing," Krueger said of the sizable search area that is concealed from view from any roadway or residence.
The police dogs picked up on the scent of human remains, a scent that can migrate over time. "We were explained to that when a body is buried, when it breaks down and decomposes, the gases will spread through the ground," Krueger said.
Over the years, the gases or scents can make their way into root systems and into plants or trees.
"We could be a foot away (from a body) and never know it," Krueger said.
Radar used in search
Among the technology used in the search is a ground-penetrating radar, a go kart-like device with a mounted radar unit capable of detecting differences in soils due to disturbances, such as digging a grave.
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"Larry told us that he put her (Depies) in the ground between 2 and 3 feet," Krueger said.
Krueger said the initial excavation effort was done by hand, which proved tedious and time consuming. Officials used a small Bobcat machine to excavate a larger area more efficiently on the other two days.
"When the (five) human remains dogs hit, we marked that area (via GPS), we photographed it. And then we waited for the snow to melt. That's when we went back later with the dogs again and the dogs hit again in the same spots," Krueger said.
Hall declined to provide specific information about the other three bodies he claims are at the same site.
"He gave us no names (other than Depies')," Krueger said. "He just said four bodies and one is a boy."
The boy, Krueger was told, died accidentally when Hall — who claimed he was driving and not paying attention — hit him and panicked, not knowing what to do.
"The boy died. Is that fantasy? I don't know. He could have made that all up," Krueger said.
Krueger, however, is undeterred, convinced that Hall is providing investigators with information to the best of his memory about disposing of Depies' body after killing her — rather than falsely confessing and fabricating stories.
A Minnesota archeologist is assisting the search team that Krueger said consists of anywhere from eight to 15 members.
The State Crime Lab is not yet involved, but if the archeologist confirms that human remains are found, state technicians will take over.
Re-connecting with HallKrueger said he and Special Agent Kyra Schallhorn, an investigator with the state Justice Department's Division of Criminal Investigation, may go back to Indianapolis later this month to meet with other agencies that are looking for physical evidence linking Hall to unsolved homicides or disappearances. They then plan to head to Butner, N.C., to re-interview Hall.
"We'll be going back down and talk to him again because we've got to get this resolved," he said.
Krueger wouldn't discount the possibility of Hall being brought to Wisconsin to help pinpoint the burial site.
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Hall identified several community signs and roadway landmarks that helped Krueger and retired state homicide investigator Kim Skorlinski locate the current search site.
"It would be ideal to have him up here. Whether or not we can do that through the federal (system), I don't know," Krueger said. "I don't know if they're willing to move him."