MONTEREY, Calif. -- A police officer's report has sparked an intensive search in the Monterey area for two Swedish women missing for more than three weeks since they set out to hitchhike from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Police officer Tim Shelby told UPI Sunday night he was 'nearly positive' he had talked to the two women -- Marie Lilienberg, 23, and Maria Whalen, 25 -- near downtown Monterey on July 22.
'They were looking for a place to stay,' Shelby said. 'They asked about where a hostel was located.'
Shelby said authorities had checked with the only hostel in the area but there was no record of the women staying there. He said the search in the Monterey area would be intensified.
Ms. Lilienberg's father, Ove, said Sunday he and Maria's father - Lars -- had returned to the Monterey area to help with the search.
'We need some solid evidence,' Lilienberg said in a frustrated tone. 'Anything. Somewhere to start, somewhere to dig.'
More than 300 people called authorities with possible leads on the women.
Ms. Lilienberg and Ms. Wahlen left a friend's home in Redwood City - just south of San Francisco -- July 22 hitchhiking to Newport Beach south of Los Angeles. They had reservations for a flight to New York where they were to be met by friends.
The women usually telephoned home weekly, but no call has been received since July 16. After arguing in a phone conversation about the safety of hitchhiking, one called her father back four hours later to promise she would not hitchhike.
Their fathers flew to California last week and have been showing their daughters' pictures to some of the scores of people who told police they might have seen them.
Dennis Crossman, a security guard at the 17-Mile Drive on the Monterey peninsula, said he saw the women, one sitting on a backpack and the other watching sea lions, July 29.
Crossman introduced the fathers to three woman employees in a store who remembered the Swedish women buying cheese the same day.