KCK police search empty lot, looking for woman who vanished 20 years ago

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Police spent hours Monday digging near a home in KCK in search of a woman who's been missing for 20 years.

Detectives have been searching at a home near South 49th Street and Barber Avenue, just south of Metropolitan Avenue.

Detectives reopened the case of Star Boomer in 2017. She vanished on the evening on Feb. 23, 1999. There isn't new information, but new technology has them unearthing an empty lot where a house once stood.

Students and staff from the University of Kansas joined police Monday using new geological technology. Police tell FOX4 they don't use any machines. It's all hands, knees, and shovels. Just in case there is any evidence, they don't want to miss or damage it.

"Nothing for sure, but they saw some anomalies, what they call it, so we're just going to go ahead and go in there," KCK police spokesman Tom Tomasic said. "That's what we're doing now, digging in the dirt and seeing if we can find any evidence.”

Boomer was a patron at the former Uncle Mike’s Bar at 49th and Metropolitan in Kansas City, Kansas. Witnesses told police an altercation unfolded in the bar.

Her mother said she was knocked to the ground, causing her to lose consciousness. Witnesses say two men carried her out of the bar. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

"We will use our resources to help bring an end to this cold case and hopefully some closure to this family," police said in a release Monday.

KCK police will continue searching for the next few days. Police say South 49th Street will be closed from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily, between Barber and Douglas, to thru traffic, while officers are conducting the search.

Boomer’s mother, Hazel Hurtie, previously said a witness told her Shon Pernice was the last person to see her daughter.

Hurtie told FOX4 back in 2012 that Pernice treated her daughter’s injured arm following the bar fight, before two men dragged her out of the venue.

Pernice is now serving time now for killing his wife, Renee Pernice, in January 2009. He pushed her, and she died from the fall.

He previously worked as a paramedic for the Independence Fire Department. It took him three years before he went before a Clay County judge and admitted he was responsible for his wife’s death. There was hope during his trial that he might shed some light on Boomer’s case.

Boomer was 39 years old with a young son. There is a headstone for her but no grave. Her family is hoping she or her remains will be found and there will be some closure.

Two men were originally charged in her case, but prosecutors eventually dropped the charges because witnesses were unwilling to cooperate.

According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation website, “Investigators believe several individuals may have knowledge and information to help solve this crime.” At this time, there hasn’t been enough evidence to proceed with an arrest or prosecution.

If you know something that could help solve this case, call the KCK Police Department, Homicide/Robbery Unit at 913-573-6010 or the KBI at 1-800 KS CRIME (1-800-572-7643). You can also call the anonymous Tips Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

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