Gary Kazanjian, Associated Press
Charles Manson and his followers retreated to the Barker Ranch after a killing spree in 1969.

Utah investigators will be returning to Death Valley later this month to help California authorities search for more possible victims of notorious killer Charles Manson.

The Inyo County, Calif., Sheriff's Office said a limited excavation will be conducted at the Barker Ranch at sites where cadaver dogs gave mixed indications and soil testing was inconclusive.

"I believe the only way to determine once and for all whether there are bodies buried at Barker Ranch from the time of the Manson family is to proceed with limited excavation in very few areas," Sheriff Bill Lutze said in a statement.

The Deseret News reported last month that the newly reinvigorated Utah Technology Assistance Program lent its forensic expertise to the search for possible Manson victims.

UTAP used lasers to see if bones would glow in the dark, giving searchers less of an area to look for human remains. The technology is pretty revolutionary, said Ken Wallentine, the Utah Attorney General's chief of law enforcement.

"It's a great opportunity for us to give a shakedown to the equipment and to see what the technologies can do for us. This is not stuff that has been designed specifically to go out to a desert homicide scene; we're trying something new," he said Monday.

The job won't be easy for investigators. They will have to camp out in Death Valley and lug the equipment around in hopes that it will help reveal or dispel the possibility of human remains.

Authorities are searching the remote ranch where Manson and his followers hid out after their 1969 killing spree. The Inyo County Sheriff's Office said reports have suggested there may be more bodies at the Barker Ranch.

Manson is serving a life sentence for the slayings of seven people.


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