Gruesome Discovery in North Bay Backyard

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Authorities uncovered a body in the backyard of a home on Rebecca  Way in Novato late Wednesday night, a Novato police sergeant said.

        Novato police asked the FBI's evidence recovery team to excavate  the rear yard of a missing man's home at 4 Rebecca Way on Wednesday morning,  after results of a canine search turned out to be inconclusive, Novato police  Sgt. Oliver Collins said.
       
    Collins said that a neighbor reported 74-year-old Dale Smith  missing on Feb. 9, saying that he had not been seen for several months.
       
    Police then initiated a missing persons case and interviewed  Smith's neighbors and family, Novato police said in a news release.
       
    On Feb. 11, police requested that the California Office of  Emergency Services provide cadaver dogs to check Smith's property, Collins said.
       
    Novato police Lt. Dave Jeffries said Wednesday afternoon that the  dogs reacted to something, but the search had "mixed results."
         
    The FBI "worked late into the evening" and found a body buried  under a "newly placed brick patio" near the rear entrance of the home,  Collins said.
       
    Collins added that the patio seemed to have been constructed to  cover the gravesite.
       
    The team will begin exhuming the body later this morning, Collins  said.
       
    Collins estimated that the body would be unearthed by tonight and  identified shortly afterward.
       
    Police declined to provide further details regarding the condition  of the body.