The Chicago Syndicate: Bones Likely from a Mob Hit

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bones Likely from a Mob Hit

Friends of ours: Gerald Scarpelli
Friends of mine: Robert Hatridge, Michael Oliver

Visible injuries to bones found this week in west suburban Downers Grove Township have led investigators to believe the victim could have been the target of a gangland slaying, law-enforcement sources said Thursday.

The bones, which construction workers discovered Tuesday morning buried more than 5 feet underground, have not yet been positively identified, but are those of an adult male, the DuPage County coroner's office said. Investigators think the bones may have been in the ground for 20 years or more.

Law-enforcement sources said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now involved in the inquiry, and that a possible connection to organized crime has arisen because of the manner of death and obvious injuries to the body.

Three of the deceased male's fingers were sheared off, possibly with a bolt-cutting type tool. The man also had suffered a broken shoulder and two gunshot wounds in he back of the head, law-enforcement sources said.

The coroner's office said only that authorities are working to identify the male, whose approximate age couldn't be determined. The man was not an "old person," however, said DuPage Coroner Pete Siekmann. Authorities are trying to identify the remains based on fingerprints and a tattoo visible on the body, he said.

DuPage County State's Atty. Joseph Birkett said the case is being investigated as a possible homicide.

Construction workers laying sewer pipes for a new townhouse development found the bones near Bluff Road and Illinois Highway 83. The bones were wrapped in a blue tarpaulin.

The location of the bones had neighbors speculating this week that they could be linked to organized crime. The bones were found less than a half-mile from a purported mob victim burial ground, where two bodies were found in 1988 and later identified as low-level organized-crime figures. A task force formed in the 1980s to solve cold mob cases got the tip for the location from an informant, and at the time sources believed searchers might find as many as seven bodies. But after five months of digging, they found only two bodies—those of Robert Anthony Hatridge, a minor associate of Gerald Scarpelli, 51, a crime syndicate killer-turned-informant who later committed suicide; and Mark (Michael?) Oliver, another minor organized-crime figure.

Investigators said part of the process of identifying the body would include working off a list of missing persons with connections to the Chicago Outfit.

After the bones were found, Darien authorities considered that they might belong to Xu "Sue" Wang, a Darien doctor who disappeared in 1999.

Thanks to Jeff Coen and Angela Rozas

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