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Witnesses say two unearthed Todd's body

CHICAGO -- Two convicted organized crime figures searching for a 10-carat diamond ring dug up the grave of movie producer Michael Todd, two government witnesses say.

Peter Basile of Wilmette and Glen DeVos, whose address is unknown, were identified Thursday in court documents filed in U.S. District Court as the men who dug up Todd's grave, searching for a 10-carat diamond ring he supposedly wore when he was buried.

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Todd's body was stolen from its Forest Park grave in 1977. It was found in the bushes about 75 yards away but no one was ever charged in the incident.

The claim against Basile and DeVos was contained in a sentencing memorandum submitted by an attorney with the Justice Department's organized crime strike force in Chicago. Basile and DeVos were convicted last month of conspiracy to transport stolen property.

Salvatore Romano, an admitted organized crime figure turned informant, said Basile told him in 1977 that he and DeVos discovered Todd's grave and dug up his body searching for the diamond ring.

Frank Cullotta, another mobster turned informant, said Basile told him the same story in 1982.

'They went to the grave and dug and dug until they uncovered the casket containing Todd's body,' the government memo said. 'Basile told Romano that DeVos did all the digging.

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'According to Romano, Basile said that after the casket was uncovered, he broke through the top of the casket and he rummaged through a body bag but was unable to find the ring.'

The court document said Basile allegedly dragged the body to some nearby bushes. He was ordered to draw a map identifying the location of the unearthed body and give it to an unidentified organized crime figure.

Todd's body was discovered two days later after police received a tip from a private detective who claimed to have received the tip from an informant.

Todd, the third husband of Elizabeth Taylor, was killed in a 1958 plane crash. He was 48.

Authorities said no jewlery had been buried with Todd, despite the rumor about the 10-carat ring.

The body was later moved to another location.

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