BOSTON, MA – The Federal Bureau of Investigation Boston office announced on Thursday that it had recovered human remains on a property in Providence Rhode Island.
Those remains may or may not be related to the 1993 murder of a known New England mafia associate.
“Earlier this afternoon, the FBI Boston Division’s Evidence Response Team, with assistance from the Providence Police Department and Rhode Island State Police, recovered human remains buried in the back of the property at 715 Branch Avenue, Providence, RI.” – Special Agent in Charge Harold H. Shaw, FBI Boston Division
Federal investigators were tight-lipped as to the object of their search, although reports from the Boston Globe and area news outlets had unnamed sources pointing to a search for Boston mob associate,Stephen A. DiSarro, missing since the early 1990’s.
DiSarro, who managed the Channel nightclub in South Boston, disappeared in 1993 and was presumed dead. Evidence of the Boston businessman’s death and suspected murder were revealed during federal investigation of the activities of Boston’s notorious Winter Hill Gang and New England’s Patriarca crime family.
While manager of the Channel, DiSarro was said to have come in contact with Frances “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, Sr. and his son Frank Jr., known members of the New England La Cosa Nostra (LCN). The Salemmes, according to court documents, had hidden interests in the Channel, a live-venue rock and roll establishment, turned strip club.
The eldest Salemme climbed the ranks in the Boston and then New England organizations as a soldier, enforcer and racketeer. His history was riddled with death, including involvement in 8 admitted murders and one conviction for attempted murder.
The disappearance of DiSarro was alleged to have been an intervention in his ability to turn informant.
“It was part of the conspiracy that the defendant Francis P. Salemme also conspired with others including Francis P. Salemme, Jr. and Patriarca Family associates Thomas Hillary and Steven DiSarro to engage in illegal gambling activities by placing video poker machines in establishments such as bars and restaurants where the machines would be used in an illegal manner,” a 1994 court racketeering indictment said.
The senior Salemme, who succeeded Raymond J. Patriarca, Jr. as head of the New England mafia, wasn’t alone in that indictment. He was joined as a defendant by LCN associates and FBI informants James J. “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen J. Flemmi. Robert P. “Bobby” Deluca and James M. Martorano were also named. Francis Salemme, Jr. who passed away in June 1995 was not named as a defendant.
The federal investigation launched over a decade, saw informants come and go, with multiple indictments and convictions of top mafia family members. Frances Sr. was a main target of the authorities throughout.
When DiSarro took over the Channel, his affiliation with the Salemmes and LCN were exposed. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, DiSarro disappeared shortly after the relationship of Salemme and his son to The Channel, “became a matter of federal investigation.”
The younger Salemme was alleged to have killed DiSarro by strangulation in May of 1993 in a house in Massachusetts and then transported the body across state lines into Rhode Island. The body was then, purportedly, buried at a construction site.
DiSarro or his remains were never found and no conviction was made for his alleged death.
Federal and local authorities as of Thursday would not confirm that the Providence dig and investigation was related to DiSarro’s death.
“The FBI has been in contact with our law enforcement partners relative to unresolved cases and disappearances,” Shaw said in his release. “Due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation, we do not anticipate the release of any additional information at this time.”
The human remains found at the site on Thursday afternoon were turned over to the Rhode Island Office of the State Medical Examiner for testing and DNA analysis.
The FBI is expected to remain on scene in Providence until they have completed “processing the scene and where the remains were located.”
This article originally appeared on Examiner.com on April 1, 2016.