Medical Examiner Will Determine If Material Is Human Remains

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A third day of excavation at the former Queens home of mobster Jimmy “The Gent” Burke concluded Wednesday after material was unearthed.

The FBI confirmed that material was recovered from the site, but a forensic examination by the medical examiner was to determine whether it was human remains or something else, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

The FBI and NYPD organized crime investigators were searching the home since Monday. A blue tent was set up over the dig site.

The FBI’s Evidence Response Team packed up its equipment following the three days of digging at the Ozone Park home, Diamond reported.

Earlier in the week, a police source said the FBI was looking for evidence and possible human remains related to a 30-year-old mob murder, based on information from a snitch.

Authorities used jackhammers, shovels and pickaxes as part of the excavation effort.

The house belonged to Burke, and then his wife Cathy Burke after his death in 1996, a police source said. The home still belongs to Burke’s daughter.

Burke was a longtime associate of the Lucchese crime family –- one of the five La Cosa Nostra families in New York City. He was believed to be the mastermind of the Lufthansa heist, in which about $5.8 million in cash and jewels were stolen from the Lufthansa vaults at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to published reports.

The heist inspired the 1990 movie “Goodfellas.”

Burke served as the inspiration for Robert DeNiro’s character in the mobster movie.

A former member of the NYPD Organized Crime Task Force, who worked on the Lufthansa case, said what is missing is one body that never turned up, and the money.

“The money was never recovered and the material was never recovered,” said former NYPD Investigator Joe Coffey. “The only big principal that could be buried there that’s definitely missing, is Tommy DeSimone who was a principal in that robbery.”

DeSimone disappeared in January 1979. He was declared legally dead by the FBI in 1990, and his body has never been found.

DeSimone was the basis for Joe Pesci’s character in “Goodfellas.”

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