The re-enactment of an Excavation for the Discovery Channel.
"The Masters Case"

In 1964 Butch Masters, 16, was "accidentally" killed by his father after being pushed down a flight of stairs. His father then buried him in a shallow grave, behind a building on their farm, where he remained buried until 1989. His body was found by workers repairing an underground pipe. The Master's family rented an apartment over the garage on the property. The family had long since moved to the southern states.

McHenry County Corner Marlene Lantz was contacted by the McHenry County Sheriff's Police to process the death scene. She in-turn contacted M/Sgt Hayden B. Baldwin with the Illinois State Police. M/Sgt Baldwin is a recognized expert in the recovery of human remains. M/Sgt Baldwin was assisted by Sgt. Melvin Trojanowski, also with the Illinois State Police. The scene was processed for the human remains and any items of evidential value. The scene indicated that the deceased was buried by someone "close" to him, either family or friend. The victim was buried without clothing and was positioned as though being "laid out" in a casket. Once the remains had been properly exhumed and secured, they were examined by Dr. Clyde Snow, an Internationally renown Forensic Anthropologist. Dr. Snow was able to build an accurate description of the person but didn't know who he was. The case was put on hold pending a positive identification of the deceased.

In 1994 the deceased's sister had contacted the local police authorities, trying to find the whereabouts of her nephew. His father had told people he moved out of the area in 1964 and went to work in Alaska. The physical description Dr. Snow developed from the remains fit the missing brother. A DNA test on the family revealed the recovered remains were in fact that of Butch Masters. This DNA test also revealed that John Masters, his father, was not his biological father!

John Masters was interviewed and confessed to the crime that occurred 30 years previous. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 5 years probation.


This case was re-enacted and will be aired January 22, 1997 at 9:00 PM (EST)
on the Discovery Channel show called "Science Detectives"

Photos of the "crew" at Powderhouse Productions.

Joel Olicker
Note: (3D) indicates these photos are in 3D for those who can free view.
McHenry County Coroner Marlene
Lantz in hole examining the exposed 
skeletal remains found by the "plumber".  Joel (sitting) and crew filming the event. (3D)
Coroner Lantz "reconstructing" the skeletal remains. (3D)
Coroner Lantz still hard at work, watched by Joel Olicker, 
home owner (standing), Nancy Powers, production assistant, ,
and crime scene investigator (standing), Melvin Trojanowski. (3D)
The production crew hard at work arranging the "next" shot. (3D)
mel & clyde
Dr. Clyde Snow, Forensic Anthropologist, with Mel Trojanowski, Retired Sergeant, Illinois State Police .(3D)
Dr. Clyde Snow & Hayden B. Baldwin, M/Sgt, Crime Scene Supervisor, Illinois State Police (3D)
Paper of the Recovery of Human Remains
Crime Scene Recovery of Human Remains Course
If you have comments or suggestions, email me at
This page created with Netscape Navigator Gold, last updated 6/7/97