Metro

Human remains believed found at Dartmouth home tied to 1980 killing of Pa. police chief

Agencies from the Massachusetts State Police, Bristol County District Attorney's Office, and Saxonburg Police from Pennsylvania investigated the property.

Steve Haines For The Boston Globe

Agencies from the Massachusetts State Police, Bristol County District Attorney's Office, and Saxonburg Police from Pennsylvania investigated the property.

DARTMOUTH — Human remains appeared to have been recovered from a residential property here late Thursday after a search to find evidence of a missing mob associate wanted by the FBI for allegedly murdering a Pennsylvania police chief in 1980.

“An autopsy will be conducted and identification of the remains will be part of that process, which will occur shortly,” Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn said at the scene Thursday night.

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The FBI, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania State Police searched the property at 28 Maplecrest Drive Thursday as part of a decades-long effort to locate fugitive Donald Eugene Webb.

The office of Massachusetts State Attorney General Maura Healey said state troopers assigned to her office obtained a search warrant for the property “as part of an ongoing illegal gambling investigation.”

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In a statement, the FBI confirmed that “human remains were recovered. We’re in the process of determining if the remains belong to Donald Eugene Webb.”

Webb remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for allegedly murdering Gregory Adams of Saxonburg, Penn., on Dec 4 1980.

Webb went missing soon after the slaying of Adams, who was shot twice at close range in his community after being “beaten about the head and face with a blunt instrument,” according to the FBI.

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At the time, Webb was living in New Bedford with his wife and stepson and was known to have connections with organized crime figures in Rhode Island, where his car was discovered after the chief’s death, the FBI has said.

On December 31, 1980, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Webb alleging unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, after Webb was charged in Pennsylvania with first-degree murder for Adams’s killing.

Webb was a career criminal and a jewel thief believed to be in Pennsylvania planning to rob a jewelry store. He allegedly decided to murder Adams rather than go back to prison.

But the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last month that a hidden room was recently found by FBI agents inside a Dartmouth home owned by Webb’s former wife on Maplecrest Drive. The chief’s widow told the newspaper that she believed Webb used the room as a hideout.

The search of the property did not entirely surprise neighborhood residents.

Antonio Almeida, 72, a 30-year resident of the neighborhood, said he was contacted by police about three months ago, who asked him questions about the woman who lived at the home.

“I’ve seen her walking by, she smiles, says hello, but that’s all I knew,” Almeida said.

John R. Ellement of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.
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