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  • Megann Horstead

Remains of missing Rolling Meadows man sought at Joliet home

Law enforcement officials continued to search a Joliet area home for the remains of a missing Rolling Meadows man late Saturday morning after a crime scene investigation began developing on Jan. 25.

The Will County Sheriff’s Department and the Cook County Major Case Assistance Team are providing assistance to the Rolling Meadows police at 1113 Barber Lane on Joliet’s west side.

The property remained tapered off to the public with yellow crime scene investigation tape as law enforcement officials worked to find the remains of Michael Mansfield, a Rolling Meadows man who disappeared 41 years ago.

The remains are tied to the 1977 murder conviction of Russell Smrekar, a 1974 graduate of Joliet West High School, who confessed on his deathbed to killing Ruth Martin of Lincoln and burying her remains beneath a site along I-55 then-under construction. He also confessed to killing Mansfield, a classmate of his at Lincoln College.

Mansfield was on break from classes when he disappeared from his Rolling Meadows home Dec. 31, 1975. Newspaper archives obtained by the State Journal-Register indicate that he was set to testify just six days later against Smrekar, who was accused of stealing a guitar and records from a dorm room.

Smrekar died at Menard Correction Center in 2011, at which time he had already been charged and expected to serve out two 100- to 300-year prison sentences for the slayings of Lincoln shop owner Jay Fry and his pregnant wife, Robin.

Rolling Meadows police have not returned multiple calls seeking comment.

On January 28, three men could be seen walking toward the back of the residence. Garbage bags are strewn in the front of the garage attached to the house.

The home on Barber Lane was once owned by a relative of Smrekar’s but has been empty for two years.


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