LAURENS _ State police returned to the Arbas farm in Laurens on Wednesday with a search warrant.
But investigators were unable to find the remains of missing farmer Herman Arbas or anything to indicate his whereabouts, said Senior Investigator Joseph T. Valentine of state police at Oneonta. Arbas was reported missing in 2005 when he was 68 years old, but troopers have said he was last seen in 2000.
Arbas' son, Matthew Arbas, 38, has returned to the farm on county Route 10 after serving time in a Virginia jail for the abduction of a Navy pilot on April 23, 2005, in Virginia Beach.
In June 2007, while out on bail in that case, Arbas was charged with 19 felonies related to the alleged taking of $60,000 from his father after Herman Arbas went missing.
The 384-acre farm was searched by troopers on at least two occasions, including an initial multiday effort in May 2005.
Investigators on Wednesday were trying to determine if Arbas had fallen _ or was pushed _ into the farm's silo, Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said.
Troopers had not done a thorough investigation of the silo before, Muehl said.
The most-recent warrant was based on new leads, although neither Valentine nor Muehl would discuss details.
Troopers have said in the past they believe Herman Arbas is dead.
"We are not ruling out anything at this point," Muehl said when asked if Matthew Arbas is considered a suspect in the disappearance.
Matthew Arbas did not immediately return a call to a number included in a hay-for-sale classified advertisement.
Arbas' attorney, Gar Gozigian, said he has instructed his client not to talk to anyone and said he also would not speak on the disappearance or the pending charges.
"I don't comment on the record regarding pending cases," Gozigian said.
The charges lodged against Arbas last year include nine counts of second-degree forgery, six counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, two counts of third-degree grand larceny and two counts of falsifying business records.
"It's still in local criminal court," Muehl said.
A checkbook belonging to the Navy pilot was found at the Arbas farm during the initial investigation in 2005, and that led to the link between Arbas and the pilot's abduction, troopers previously said.
In January 2007, the younger Arbas admitted in a Virginia Beach courtroom that he abducted Michael Moreland on April 23, 2005. A dazed and bloodied Moreland was found by his parents and told authorities Arbas held him at gunpoint, pricked him with a needle and beat him.
Arbas was sentenced in July to a year in jail for the abduction, although at one time, Virginia Beach media reported he faced up to 33 years in prison. The sentence may have included time served.
"I was kind of surprised with the light sentence he got down there, but that is out of my jurisdiction," Muehl said.
Arbas was released May 20 from Otsego County jail on $40,000 bond after an appearance in Oneonta Town Court. He was released on his own recognizance after an appearance May 30 in Milford Town Court, according to jail officials.
Muehl said Arbas is living at the farm.
Valentine said state police investigators are aggressively following up on the missing-persons investigation.