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Remains found in Dartmouth belong to fugitive wanted for 1980 murder

The remains of Donald Eugene Webb, wanted for the murder of a police chief, were recovered in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
Donald Eugene Webb is wanted for a 1980 murder of a police chief. Photo: FBI Boston
Donald Eugene Webb was wanted for a 1980 murder of a police chief. Photo: FBI Boston

The remains of a long-time fugitive who once topped the FBI’s Most Wanted list have been recovered in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

The FBI’s Boston office confirmed on Friday that the remains found Thursday, buried in the back of a North Dartmouth property, belonged to Donald Eugene Webb.

Webb was the only fugitive in the United States wanted for the murder of a police chief, according to the FBI. Webb was being sought in connection with the murder of Police Chief Gregory Adams of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania on Dec. 4, 1980. 

“For almost 37 years, the family of Chief Adams, and the citizens of Saxonburg have been awaiting news of Donald Eugene Webb’s whereabouts. The FBI is grateful to have been able to play a role in helping to resolve this case,” said Harold H. Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, in a statement.

“Although it’s unfortunate Mr. Webb will never be brought to justice to pay for his crimes, we’re hopeful the family can find some closure in knowing that this alleged murderer has been located,” he added.

Webb was living in New Bedford with his wife and stepson when officials say he fatally beat and shot Adams in Pennsylvania. Officials believe Webb was in Pennsylvania at the time to check out a burglary target as he was a “career criminal” who burglarized jewelry stores.

Webb passed away about 17 years ago, in 1999, investigators learned.

Massachusetts state police detectives obtained a search warrant as part of a separate investigation that led to the discovery of Webb’s body on the North Dartmouth property, 28 Maplecrest Drive.

The FBI, Bristol County District Attorney’s office, Pennsylvania State Police and officials from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner assisted Massachusetts State Police in the investigation.

“The biggest question in the history of Saxonburg has been answered,” said Saxonburg Police Chief Joseph Beachem in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the family and we hope this eases their minds, if even only slightly. While the hurt will continue, at least doubt about what happened that day has been eliminated.”

Webb was one of the longest tenured fugitives ever to appear on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list, according to the department. He was first added to the list on May 4, 1981 and was removed on March 31, 2007.

The FBI recently released newly discovered photos of Webb and was offering a reward of up to $100,000 to anyone with information about his whereabouts. (That reward will not be paid, the department said, as his remains were found through investigative efforts). 

 

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