The family of Lynette Dawson are holding out hope that police might find her body as they dig up the grounds of her former Sydney home more than 36 years after she vanished.
Ms Dawson was 33 years old when she disappeared from the northern beaches in 1982, leaving behind two daughters.
Investigators have started a hand dig in Ms Dawson's old Bayview home where she was living with her husband Chris Dawson - who has long been a suspect in the case.
The former Newtown Jets rugby league player denies any involvement in his wife's disappearance.
"We will go until we hit rock," Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Scott Cook said on Wednesday.
Ms Dawson's niece, Renee Simms, said it has been "incredibly intense" since the fresh searched began.
"We're just taking it day-by-day," she told the Nine Network on Thursday.
"We're not going to get too hopeful because we've been in a similar position before and nothing's come of it but it is there under the surface."
Ms Simms said the family has generally accepted that Ms Dawson is dead, so finding her remains would be a "good thing".
"Because we could finally put her to rest," she said.
It's expected police will be at the home for five days.
Australian Associated Press