Search expanding at Lake Tahoe for missing Petaluma woman

STATELINE, Nev. — Law enforcement officials in Nevada and South Lake Tahoe expanded their search Thursday for a missing Petaluma woman, combing the snowy region by air and land, conducting a room-to-room sweep of her hotel and poring over her cellphone activity.

But so far, there has been no sign of Alyssa Byrne, 19, who vanished New Year's Eve while attending a three-day music festival at Lake Tahoe Community College.

The aerial search will resume this morning with help from an additional helicopter from Reno, Douglas County Undersheriff Paul Howell said in a news conference.

He stressed the importance of finding Byrne soon because of the below-freezing overnight temperatures in the ski resort area.

"We're concerned," he said. "And we're putting every resource we have into it."

Howell said the last activity from Byrne's cellphone was recorded at 12:03 a.m. Jan. 1, or about 10 minutes later than previously thought.

Detectives were unable to say if it was a call or text message, he said.

"Since that time, the phone has gone inactive," Howell said.

He cautioned that activity on her phone wouldn't necessarily pinpoint her location — just her phone's.

The Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida is examining the cell activity, Howell said.

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