DA: Apparent human remains found in Dartmouth backyard

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) – Federal and state authorities found “what appear to be human remains” Thursday in the backyard of a home in North Dartmouth, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III confirmed.

FBI agents and crime scene investigators from the Massachusetts State Police executed a search warrant at the Maplecrest Drive home as part of the investigation into the 1980 murder of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania Police Chief Gregory Adams.

The FBI’s prime suspect, New England mob associate Donald Eugene Webb, has been missing since the killing took place.

The North Dartmouth home belonged to Webb’s ex-wife, Lilian Webb.

Police Chief Gregory Adams and his family

Investigators were seen digging behind a shed throughout the day on Thursday and a cruiser from Saxonburg was parked outside the home. Joseph Beachem, the town’s current chief of police, told a reporter they arrived at the scene around noon after an 11-hour drive.

“It’s very important,” Beachem said. “It’s the biggest question mark in our town.”

Two vans with the state medical examiner’s office arrived on scene at about 8:15 p.m. Quinn gave a brief news conference shortly after.

“It’s not our opinion that they were put there yesterday,” he said when asked how long he thought the remains had been buried.

Quinn said the medical examiner’s office will now conduct an autopsy and attempt to identify the remains.

Kristen Setera, a spokesperson for the Boston office of the FBI, said the search is being conducting by their agency, Massachusetts State Police and Pennsylvania State Police.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to locate long time fugitive Donald Eugene Webb, an evidentiary search is  currently underway,” Setera said in a statement. “Due to the ongoing investigation, no further comment will be made at this time.”

Authorities digging behind a home on Maplecrest Drive in North Dartmouth

A state police dog was seen searching the backyard of the home and barked several times before being removed. Authorities set up tents as poor weather moved into the area.

Webb is accused of shooting Adams twice in the chest during a traffic stop on Dec. 4, 1980.

Adams was a married father of two, who had moved to Saxonburg to leave the danger of his previous job as a police officer in Washington, D.C.

As Target 12 previously reported, the FBI identified Webb as an associate of the Patriarca crime family who made a living robbing banks, jewelry stores and high-end hotels up and down the east coast, then he fenced the ill-gotten gains through the mob in Providence.

Investigators say the pair crossed paths after Webb hit up a jewelry store in New York.

Webb would be 85 years old now. Rumors about what happened to him – including his death at the hands of the mob he worked for – have circulated for decades.

But, the FBI special agent assigned to tracking Webb down believes he’s still alive. Last year, the feds announced a $100,000 reward for any information leading to Webb, dead or alive.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook