(KTVI) -Deputies in Macoupin County say they’re back to square one in the search for a 28 year old mentally handicapped man missing for a year and a half. A report of what appeared to be a shallow grave was, in fact, “just a pile of dirt” according to Sheriff Don Aubrecht.
Deputies received a report Monday of what neighbors and family members of the missing man believed might be a fairly fresh grave dug in the woods, not far from Royal Lakes. That’s where Joseph Ryan Wilson, 28, lived until he disappeared in April of 2012.
Wilson’s cousin, Sonya Walker, saw the site and was one of the people to call it in to police.
“I didn’t know what to say. I was shaking like a leaf on a tree. I’ve been like that all night. Who would do somebody like that?”
She and other relatives have feared the worst in the case, and they believed they had likely found Wilson.
“I hope not,” she said. “I mean I want to find him because I need some closure. I need to know if he’s okay, I need to know what’s what. But he’s a handicapped individual who desperately needs help.”
The scene was kept secure by deputies from late Monday all the way into Tuesday afternoon. That’s when Crime Scene Investigators from the Illinois State Police arrived and started digging. Just over two hours after they arrived, they began loading up their equipment, saying there was nothing there but dirt.
The sheriff says they’ve been pursuing other leads into the disappearance of Wilson, and will continue to look for him.