Missing boy’s body found in pit

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2001


PHOTO: THE REMAINS OF JON MICHAEL SPRINGMAN, a Jefferson teen-ager who had been missing for 18 months, were found in a 20-foot cement pit between columns under Interstate 10 near Lake Ponchatrain Tuesday afternoon. (Staff Photo by Amy Szpara) MONTZ – A human skeleton was found inside a deep cement piling hole under Interstate 10 near Lake Pontchartrain Tuesday afternoon around 3:20 p.m. The St. Charles Sheriff’s Department and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Department were able to determine the identity with dental records and an identification card that was found. Missing since September 1999, 16-year-old Jon Michael Springman of Metairie is believed to be the victim of a homicide due to a trauma to the skull. Just past the St. John Parish line west of the Bonnet Carre Spillway where St. Charles Parish begins, the remains were found down a long dirt road by a local fisherman who was walking along the railroad tracks. The remains have probably been there for several months to a year, authorities said Wednesday morning. According to St. Charles Sheriff Greg Champagne, officers began processing the surrounding area Tuesday afternoon and continued Wednesday. Found with the skeleton were two shotgun shells, a strap that appeared to have been part of a satchel, a clear Motorolla blue pager case and a set of keys. The keys included Ford keys, generic duplicates and an original Hillman padlock key. “That will probably be the way we’re going to figure this thing out,” Champagne said about the keys found at the scene. After sifting through more mud and searching the area, more evidence was found that led to a positive identification. Deteriorated clothing remained on and around the skeleton. A camouflage hat, a dark blue Adidas crew shirt with pen stripes, blue jean pants with a 32-inch waist, a brown leather basket-weaved belt, white ankle-high Adidas socks and a size 11 1/2 Reeboks were found. “We don’t believe it was an accidental death,” said Champagne. Though waiting for coroner and forensics reports, authorities have reason to believe the death was a homicide due to the location of the body and some trauma to the body. According to authorities, the fisherman who found the remains climbed up onto the cement base to smoke a cigarette. Upon looking down into the approximately 20-feet deep hole, he saw the skeleton. The remains have been sent to the LSU Forensic Center in Baton Rouge for further forensic analysis. Springman’s family members, who have gone 18 months without knowing what happened to their loved one, have been crushed by the news they received earlier in the week. Julie Carver of LaPlace, Springman’s cousin, said, “We are a very close-knit family. I have children who are 18, 16 and 12, and they are totally devastated. He loved to laugh. He loved to make everyone laugh. There was never a dull moment when he was around.” Arline Fayard, Springman’s aunt, said her sister has had to be sedated since the news of her son’s death. “My sister is a very spirit-filled person. She always believed he would come back to her,” she said. “We are all just devastated. He was very loved by his family. People just gravitated toward him. He had a lot of friends.” Fayard remembers her nephew as a very outgoing person. “He loved baseball. He was a baseball player. He had a terrific personality.” Fayard is unsure of where Springman was headed on the day of his disappearance. Police are trying to determine that at this time. “It is not known at this time where Springman was going at the time of the disappearance or if he was abducted,” said Lt. Dwayne LaGrange of the St. Charles Sheriff Department. “We are continuing to investigate that.” The investigation, being treated as a homicide, is ongoing, and police ask that anyone with information contact Detective Chad Robichaux at 443-0334 or -6807.