SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KTLA) -- Police have begun excavating an area near a freeway bridge, linked to the disappearance of a 7-year-old girl who vanished 50 years ago.
Last week, three specially trained cadaver dogs alerted on an area near the base of an overpass on Highway 101 at Winchester Canyon Road.
Ramona Price disappeared from the same area around the time the bridge was being constructed in 1961.
One of the heavy-equipment operators on the job was Mack Ray Edwards, who later confessed to murdering six children and burying their bodies near freeways.
McCaffrey said members of Ramona Price's family have been notified about the excavation but do not plan to be present.
Ramona Price vanished on Sept. 2, 1961 while walking from her current house to the family's new home several miles away.
The case has remained unsolved, but police now suspect her disappearance may be linked to serial killer Mack Ray Edwards.
Family members say Ramona told her father she planned to walk to the new house around 11:00 a.m. that Saturday morning.
Her dad thought she was joking.
A short time later, the family, who had been busy packing, noticed she was gone.
Bloodhounds tracked Ramona nearly two miles down Modoc Road, near the Winchester Overpass off the 101 Freeway, which was under construction at the time.
Now, police believe Ramona may have crossed paths with Edwards, a convicted child killer who died on death row in 1971.
Edwards, a heavy-equipment operator, told Los Angeles police in 1970 that he had killed six boys and girls over a 15-year period.
He later told a Los Angeles County jailer that the real number of victims was closer to 18, making him the most notorious serial killer of children in California history.
Police believe he buried the children near the freeway construction sites where he worked during California's freeway-building boom of the 1950s and '60s.
"The tearing down of the Winchester overcrossing for new construction allows a rare opportunity to search the area with cadaver dogs trained to detect human bodies, even after being buried for many years," a police spokesman said.
In a similar case in 2008, authorities in Moorpark excavated an area near the Tierra Rejada Road off ramp on the 23 Freeway looking for another long missing child.
Investigators were looking for 16-year-old Roger Dale Madison who was believed killed by Edwards in 1968.
In that case, investigators say Edwards confessed to fatally stabbing the boy and burying him near the 23 Freeway before hanging himself in 1971 while on death row at San Quentin.