Specialist divers from the South Yorkshire police Regional Marine Unit searched part of the Stainforth and Keadby canal, behind the TK Maxx store at Rotherham Parkgate, as part of ongoing enquiries into the unexplained disappearance of 38-year-old Alena Grlakova.
Police were keen to conduct the search, after sniffer dogs brought them to the area yesterday, and wanted to rule it out as part of their investigation.
Temporary Superintendent Iain Chorlton, who is leading the search for 38-year-old Alena, stressed that the investigation remained an ongoing missing persons case, and urged anyone with information to come forward.
He said: “This is the area of the last known sighting of Alena after she left the Travellers Inn Pub on Broad Street just before 7pm. She was seen to meet up with an unknown male in this location in the Barbot Hall industrial estate round about 7:15pm, and that was the last we saw of Alena.
“Clearly we are becoming increasingly concerned for her welfare and our intent here is to conduct the search of about 60 metres of the canal.
“Just to stress this is one of many lines of enquiry that we are undertaking so we can bring Alena back safely to her family and loved ones.
“This is still an unexplained missing person enquiry. We are also undertaking house-to-house and other open area searches and doing a lot of investigative work as well.
Alena was last seen on Wednesday, December 26, leaving the Travellers Inn Pub on Broad Street with a man who has now been identified by police, and provided helpful information as to where she went next.
Police now believe that as Alena walked up Scrooby Street with the first identified male, a second male walked past the pair in the opposite direction.
It is believed the first male then left Alena, and she walked off with the second unidentified male towards the Barbot Hall industrial estate area.
The second unidentified male is described as 5ft 7ins to 5ft 9ins tall, of a stocky or plump build, between 30-50-years-old and wearing a dark coat and maybe a hat.
Temp Supt Iain Chorlton added: “I appreciate the description is not the most specific but I’d urge people to cast their minds back to Boxing Day evening. At that time - just after 7pm - Rotherham would no doubt have been busy with people enjoying the festive period. Did you see the man described?
“Did you see Alena? We now know that she was wearing a thin black sweatshirt with writing on which said something similar to ‘little black sweat,’ black tracksuit bottoms with white on the side and possibly sandals. She wasn’t wearing a coat.
“We’re grateful to everyone who has come forward with information so far but we still need more to piece together where Alena went next and who she may have seen or been in contact with since Boxing Day.
“If you can help, please call 101 quoting incident number 450 of 15 January or call our incident room directly on 01709 443540. You can also pass information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”