Presumed Mob Victim Remains Dug Up

Thursday, October 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — The remains of a woman believed to be those of a high-ranking mobster's girlfriend who disappeared in 1981 were dug up Thursday near the former home of gang leader James ``Whitey'' Bulger.

Authorities examined the site after a tip from a mob insider who agreed to cooperate in a plea bargain.

The body was believed to be that of 27-year-old Debra Davis, who disappeared Sept. 17, 1981, just after a family vacation in Acapulco, Mexico.

Her mother told investigators at the time that she blamed Davis' boyfriend, Stephen ``The Rifleman'' Flemmi, a top associate of Bulger, according to Davis' brother, Victor.

Federal prosecutors say Bulger and Flemmi thought Davis was a threat to their organization.

The two were indicted Sept. 28 on charges of involvement in 21 murders. Bulger has been in hiding since he was indicted in 1995. Flemmi is in prison awaiting trial.

The remains were found near a railroad trestle in Quincy, not far from Bulger's former apartment.

Federal officials would not immediately confirm the finding, but Davis family attorney Jeffrey Denner said family members have been told the body was female and believe it is Debra Davis. Denner said an autopsy was needed for confirmation, but ``we're comfortable enough with it.''

Last month, the remains of Thomas King were found at the same site. King disappeared in 1975 shortly after beating Bulger in a South Boston barroom brawl.

In the past 10 months, authorities have found the bodies of five other suspected victims of Bulger's Winter Hill gang who were killed as long ago as the 1970s. They were reportedly led to the bodies by Kevin Weeks, a Bulger crony who pleaded guilty in July to federal racketeering charges and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

During each of the excavations at the mob burial sites, Davis' brothers have held a vigil, waiting for word that their sister's body had been found. They were at the site again Thursday.

``Our priority above anything else is to find my sister and properly bury her,'' Victor Davis said after the last body was found.