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Deathbed confession prompts search for body of Illinois man

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ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (AP) — Rolling Meadows police are searching near a residence northwest of Joliet for the remains of a local man who went missing over 40 years ago after leaving his home to visit a friend.

Police tell the Daily Herald ( ) their investigation into 19-year-old Michael Mansfield's disappearance on New Year's Eve in 1975 led detectives to a home in unincorporated Will County, where they're looking for evidence of his whereabouts.

The search comes over five years after 56-year-old Russell Smrekar, Mansfield's one-time college roommate, confessed to the killing.

Mansfield disappeared from his Rolling Meadows home over Christmas break, 1975, six days before he was scheduled to testify against Smrekar, who was accused of a dorm-room theft at Lincoln College.

Mansfield was never seen again.

Smrekar, who was from the Joliet area, was serving a 300-year prison sentence for a 1976 double-murder when he told investigators in October 2011 that he killed Mansfield. Shortly after, Smrekar died of a terminal illness at the downstate Menard Correctional Center.

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