Bodies thought to be missing couple found in Arizona, sheriff says

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Bodies thought to be Mike and Tina Careccia, an Arizona couple missing since June 22, have been recovered, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said Thursday morning. He said a male who lives on the property being searched has been placed in custody.

Authorities used a backhoe to dig near the home of a couple that vanished last month in Arizona, CNN affiliate KNXV reported.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant in Maricopa, near where Michael and Tina Careccia live.

A person of interest has been detained in their disappearance, authorities said. They did not provide additional details.

As the search continued, authorities dug outside a nearby property Wednesday night.

Missing for days

Tina Careccia was on her way to work with her husband last month when they went missing, relatives say.

It’s been more than a week since the couple vanished on June 22. Their dark gray 2008 Honda Accord was found abandoned, but there’s no sign of them.

“Our priority is to locate this missing couple, yet we have evidence that suggests foul play,” Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a statement. “This is not just a search, but it is also criminal investigation into the couple’s disappearance. We shall continue our search and investigation simultaneously.”

He did not say why detectives suspect criminal activity.

“We have no further details at this time, we are looking to provide the family and our community with answers,” he said.

Relative: ‘Let’s get some answers’

Michael Careccia’s son first reported the pair missing in a 911 call on June 22, telling a dispatcher his father, 44, and stepmother, 42, hadn’t been seen all day after leaving home to head to work.

“I’m worried about him and … their phones are off,” he says in a recording released by authorities. “They’ve been gone for 12 hours now.”

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said it “searched with air, ground and K9 resources” soon after the report was filed but found no signs that the couple is in the desert.

“We are happy that it’s shifted from a missing persons case to a criminal investigation. Bottom line is let’s get some answers and find out what happened to get them home,” said Geoff Dugan, who is Michael Careccia’s brother-in-law.

By Tony Marco, Ralph Ellis and Catherine E. Shoichet