Search uncovers no remains in Rolling Meadows cold case

  • Michael Mansfield

    Michael Mansfield

  • Russell Smrekar

    Russell Smrekar

Updated 1/31/2017 4:29 PM

The search for the remains of a missing Rolling Meadows man at a Joliet area house came up empty, but police say they've developed additional leads.

Rolling Meadows police on Tuesday said they've concluded their search of a single-story ranch home on Barber Lane just northwest of Joliet in unincorporated Will County that began on Jan. 23.


After an extensive search inside the house and backyard by Rolling Meadows police detectives and other law enforcement -- many dressed in protective bodysuits -- human remains were not located, according to a department news release.

However, "additional leads were developed and this investigation remains active," police officials said.

Michael Mansfield, then a 19-year-old college student, left his Rolling Meadows home on New Year's Eve 1975 to visit a friend in Arlington Heights. Mansfield's one-time college roommate, Russell Smrekar, gave a deathbed confession to police in October 2011 that he killed the teen. Smrekar, who was from the Joliet area, was serving a 300-year prison sentence for a 1976 double murder.

Police have never been able to locate Mansfield's body, but say they turned their attention to the Barber Lane property after receiving "credible leads." Authorities have long suspected Smrekar, and property records show the house at one time was owned by a relative of Smrekar.

A number of law enforcement agencies were involved in the search, including the Cook County Major Case Assistance Team, the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force, FBI, Will County Sheriff's Office and Cook County Department of Homeland Security.

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