PHOENIX (AP) _ The answer to 13-year-old Brad Hansen's fate may be buried under more than 157,000 cubic feet of garbage and dirt.

City officials are considering a costly search of a 470-acre landfill for the slain boy.

Jeremy Bach, 13, a friend and classmate of Hansen's, was arrested on murder charges last week after bloodstains were found inside a trash container at his home in a well-to-do Phoenix neighborhood.

``It's suspected that Hansen's remains may be in the landfill. We don't know that for sure,'' said Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley. ``Not having a body could complicate the case, but we feel we have enough physical evidence to prosecute.''

Mayor Skip Rimsza will ask the City Council on Wednesday to authorize up to $100,000 for a landfill search that could last three weeks. The council is expected to approve the expenditure.

``If it takes $100,000 to recover a child's body, then that's what it takes. How can you put a price on that, from a parent's standpoint?'' said Scott Phelps, an aide to the mayor.

Other investigations have cost far more.

``We've had some that have cost millions and are still open,'' said Sgt. Mike Torres, a police spokesman.

If the search is approved, heavy equipment will dig up the trash from the target area _ a 150-by-70 foot space, 15 to 30 feet deep. City workers in hazardous-material suits with respirators will pick through garbage at the Butterfield Station landfill, 30 miles south of Phoenix.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 tons of trash are dumped in the landfill on any given day. The search will be made simpler because the landfill is laid out in a grid that allows operators to pinpoint dumping areas by date.

``It's going to be difficult, but it's not impossible,'' said Don Cassano, a spokesman for the operators of the landfill.

Hansen was last seen on Nov. 10, when he rode his mountain bike to Bach's home. The boys watched television and listened to music before arguing about a 12-year-old girl they both liked, Bach told police.

He claims Hansen found a .357-caliber Magnum pistol kept in a living room couch and fired a shot that hit a kitchen wall. Hansen fled on his bike in panic, Bach said. Hansen's mother reported him missing that night.

It wasn't until Jan. 9 that sanitation workers noticed dried blood inside the curbside trash container from the Bach home. DNA tests determined it was Hansen's blood.

Police seized two handguns from Bach's home, along with bloodstained grout and a chair with blood spatters on its legs and seat.

Bach dropped out of school in January and moved to Las Vegas to live with his mother. He was arrested last Thursday in Nevada.

Hansen's parents have a ``Do Not Disturb'' sign taped to their front door. Neighbors support the search plan, saying city officials have often spent more money for less noble efforts over the years.

``All we ask is that the city try,'' said Bruce Richardson, a Mormon bishop who presided over Hansen's memorial service.