Pine Lawn cold case heats up with dig for murder victim's remains - KMOV.com

Pine Lawn cold case heats up with dig for murder victim's remains

(KMOV) -- A Pine Lawn cold case is warming up.  Police and federal investigators spent all day Tuesday digging for human remains that they say are nearly a decade old.

A tip led them to the 4000 block of Beechwood -- the last place a man who was murdered was seen.

Pine Lawn police are certain that a body is buried within 100 yards of the dig site.  Even though the FBI did not find that body today, their cadaver dogs did locate two spots -- eight feet apart -- that at least at one time likely contained human remains.

Agents spent a full day of digging, sifting and sniffing out what could be an old crime scene.

"Whatever or whomever they're looking for, I hope they find it," Grace Jackson-Johnson, a neighbor, says.

The FBI is lending its resources to uncover what may have happened here about eight years ago.  A confidential informant led police to this spot.

"This person has proved to be reliable.  I'll have to bring him and another person to this neighborhood, and say where?  Exactly where?," Lt. Dan O'Connor, lead investigator with the Pine Lawn Police Department, says of what happens next.

While the evidence recovery team did not find a body, they did find charred soil.  They extracted samples and will test them for human remains. 

Neighbors think investigators are looking for Michael Hall.  Police say he was murdered about eight years ago, and they've never found his body.  He once lived on this very street.

"I'm glad that they're not giving up on it because he has a mother, and I'm quite she wants to have a peace of mind," Jackson-Johnson says.

Lt. O'Connor says it's not often officers come this close to cracking a cold case.

"It's a heart-pounding, keep-you-awake-at-night kind of thing.  If you can go back eight years and piece that puzzle together, it's quite an accomplishment; makes you feel good," Lt. O'Connor says.  "I know that if I can find the body, I'll solve this case because I know who the murderer is."

There is no word yet on when the FBI might dig again or exactly where that will happen.  Trust News 4 to stay on top of this story to let you know what happens next.

Maggie Crane is a reporter at News 4.  To contact her, email mcrane@kmov.com

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