Investigation of Pa. chief’s suspected mob killing uncovers human remains

The 1980 murder of Saxonburg Police Chief Gregory Adams is "the biggest question mark" in the Butler County, Pennsylvania town

Human remains found in Dartmouth could be murdered Pennsylvania police chief
Courtesy: WPRI

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, Massachusetts, 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 owned by Lillian Webb, who was married to New England mob associate Donald Eugene Webb.

Webb — who the FBI considers the prime suspect in the 1980 murder of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania Police Chief Gregory Adams — has been missing since the killing took place.

Investigators released the following statement on Thursday:

Earlier today, the FBI, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Massachusetts State Police assigned to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office conducted court authorized activity in connection with an ongoing investigation.

As part of our ongoing efforts to locate long- time fugitive Donald Eugene Webb, an evidentiary search took place in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts and what we believe to be human remains were recovered. We’re in the process of determining if the remains belong to Donald Eugene Webb. Until positive identification has been made, no further comment will be made at this time.”

Gregory Adams, murdered in Butler County, and family
Gregory Adams and his family (Courtesy: WPRI)

Investigators were seen digging behind a shed throughout the day on Thursday and a cruiser from Saxonburg was also outside the home. Joseph Beachem, the town’s current chief of police, told a reporter they arrived in North Dartmouth around noon after taking the 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 conducted by their agency — the Massachusetts State Police — and the Pennsylvania State Police.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to locate longtime 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.”

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.

Donald Eugene Webb
Courtesy: WPRI

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 News in East Providence, Rhode Island 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. Webb then fenced the ill-gotten gains through the mob in Providence, Rhode Island.

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.

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.

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