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Convict Says He Can Find Grave of Brach Candy Heiress

January 07, 1988|Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Nearly 11 years after her disappearance, the search for candy heiress Helen Voorhees Brach has turned to Minnesota after a convict said he was paid to bury her remains here, authorities said Wednesday.

"He feels he can lead us directly to the spot," Maj. Phillip Kruse of the Illinois State Police said at a news conference. He said the search would begin today in a rural area outside the Twin Cities.

However, authorities cautioned that Maurice Ferguson, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence in Mississippi for armed robbery, has misled authorities before in the Brach case.

"Six years ago, he told us the same story, and we went on a wild goose chase," Illinois State Police spokesman Bob Fletcher said.

Kruse said Ferguson, who was to arrive in Minnesota on Wednesday evening, had not told them exactly where he would lead them.

"He assured us that, if he was not here to guide us, we would never find it," Kruse said.

If a location is found, he said, officials would get permission from property owners to dig and authorities would have to consult experts in cold-weather digging.

Brach, the widow of candy company owner Frank V. Brach, disappeared after leaving the Mayo Clinic in Rochester on Feb. 17, 1977. No trace of her has been found.

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