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Remains of a Missing Man Found After 19 Years of Searching

By: Jennifer Cavazos
By: Jennifer Cavazos

It's been almost two decades that Brazos County has been searching for a missing Bryan man, and the search is now over.

"I'm just hoping that someone out there might know something and come forward," says James Sprague when we talked to him in May.

After almost 20 years of looking for answers to his father, Phillip's disappearance, James Sprague now has closure.

The break in the case came when an informant Brazos County had questioned before, made a startling revelation. Authorities believe the death of the suspected killer may have opened the door for the informant to get a 20-year old secret off his chest, the whereabouts of Philip Sprague's body.

"He was very reluctant over the years but on the death of Michael and through some compelling information we shared with him. He gave us the information that lead us to this location," says Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk.

Texas Rangers and local law enforcement began their dig Tuesday in a pasture just down the road from Sprague's old home. His friend and business partner, Mike Mahoney was the prime suspect in his disappearance.

Police in Colorado believed Sprague was involved in dealing large amounts of marijuana. Mahoney was arrested and released on bond for the drug dealing in September of 1985, the same day, Phillip Sprague disappeared.

Kirk adds, "Finding the body here confirms everything we've believed over the years. Unfortunately we don't have enough information to execute a search warrant until this time."

Sifting through mud and dirt, more than 95 percent of Sprague's remains have been recovered. Also found, a fitted bed sheet that matched the flat sheet found at Sprague's home in September with bloodstains.

Sherriff Kirk says finding Sprague's body was bitter sweet. While a cold case has been solved, the man they believe is responsible for the murder will never be prosecuted, Mahoney died of cancer last year.


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