Officials Comb Joliet Area Home For Cold Case Evidence

WILL COUNTY (CBS) — Authorities are combing a house for evidence in unincorporated Will County. Rolling Meadows police confirm it’s related to the 1975 disappearance of Michael Mansfield.

CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reports.

It’s unclear what pointed investigators to the Joliet area property. Neighbors recall relatives of Russell Smrekar lived here. Lincoln police from downstate say he confessed to killing Mansfield and another woman shortly before his death in 2011. Smrekar was also convicted of killing two other people in the 1970’s.

Joan Featherston lives in the area and was startled by the sudden crime scene.

“It happened so long ago, but it’s still a scary thought,” she said.

It’s unclear if investigators found anything, or when they will be leaving.

The news is welcome for 52-year-old Greg Mansfield, who was 11 when his brother disappeared.

“It would be nice to know what happened. I mean, other than what seems to be the obvious — that Russ killed him,” Greg Mansfield tells WBBM’s Steve Miller.

He says he remembers seeing his brother for the last time as he walked toward somebody’s small late-model car.

“I couldn’t even imagine what my parents must have been going through to lose their kid,” says Mansfield, the father of two. “Even the thought of that terrifies me, actually.”

Greg Mansfield was the youngest of four children; Michael was the oldest.

“He looked out for me,” says Greg.

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