UNITY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) — State police say they have found some items of “interest” while searching a property in Westmoreland County in connection with the disappearance of long-missing Cassandra Gross.

Criminal investigators started digging on the Unity Township property Wednesday morning.

The area they’re checking out along White Fence Lane is a property where Thomas Stanko’s mother currently lives. Stanko is considered a “person of interest” in Gross’s disappearance.

(Photo Courtesy: Pennsylvania State Police)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

On Wednesday, state police along with Unity Township workers and professors from Seton Hill University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania continued to gather what state police call items of “interest.”

WATCH: KDKA’s Lindsay Ward Reports Live From Unity Township

State police were not releasing details about what those items are but said they planned to take the time to analyze everything they found.

A township excavator, brought in on Wednesday, left earlier this morning.

Officials say this search is working in shifts. Crews will continue into the afternoon, and they look to wrap things up this evening, unless they find something monumental.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Ian Smith)

This whole search gained speed after troopers received new information about Gross, who has been missing since 2018. Troopers say they already searched the home on the property, now their focus is in the woods.

“There are some areas we were concerned about and we wanted to dig some of the ground. We were analyzing and sifting through the dirt, and that is what we are doing the rest of the day. We have a dog on the property as well; we will be using the dog,” Pennsylvania State Police Tpr. Stephen Limani said. “I can tell you we haven’t found human remains, but we have found items that are interesting to us and we are going to send them out for further analysis.”


Stanko is currently in jail on unrelated charges.

Gross’ family has told KDKA News in the past that they, unfortunately, believe she is dead, but they are still hopeful for closure in the case. Gross was missing for 18 months before she was declared legally dead.