JACKSON, Miss., Aug. 5, 1964 (UPI) - An informer, possibly paid a substantial sum of money, today was reported to have led FBI agents to the graves of three slain civil rights workers. The FBI was tight lipped about the discovery of the bodies late yesterday buried beneath fill dirt at a farm pond site near Philadelphia, Miss., where the three young men - two white and a Negro - vanished 44 days ago.
There were reliable reports, however, that traced this sequence of events leading to the discovery:
The FBI, which already had searched the area, was told of the exact spot by the informer after it became known the federal agency was offering a large reward for definite information. The most frequently mentioned amount was $25,000.
FBI agents went directly to the dam site and dug about 20 feet into the mound of dirt that had been pushed up to form a dam for the pond. The bodies were found in a shallow grave approximately three feet deep, beneath the mound of dirt.
The FBI steadfastly stuck by a terse statement issued in Washington and Jackson that said only the bodies has been found and transferred to Jackson for identification.
Another reliable source said that: "several arrests" in the case were imminent.
A detailed autopsy being conducted today would attempt to determine the cause of death. It included X-rays to determine whether any metal objects such as bullets were embedded in the badly decomposing bodies.
(The workers were identified by fingerprints and dental records as Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24, both white and from New York; and James Chaney, a 21-year-old Meridian, Miss., Negro.)
A piece of earth moving equipment, possibly a bulldozer was used to pile the dirt over the bodies in the grave dug at the pond site.
A new highway is being constructed near the site, about five miles southwest of Philadelphia in East Mississippi.
Olen Burrage, 42, owner of the property on which the bodies of the three men were found, said FBI agents approached him yesterday with a search warrant and asked to check the site.
Burrage, operator of a small truck line, said he had no idea who placed the bodies on his property.
The three workers had been the object of an intensive search since shortly after they disappeared and until the discovery there had been no tangible clues made public about their fate.
They vanished the night of June 21 near Philadelphia following their arrest on an alleged speeding charge while participating in a summer campaign by college students to register Negro voters in Mississippi.