Bone found in desert could be clue to solving cold case

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- He was a handsome, athletic young man. He played baseball in high school. He had just started college and one night he left his job at a Scottsdale gas station and simply vanished.

His parents began getting ransom demands almost immediately. Fifty-seven thousand dollars was the first demand. A meeting was arranged for a Scottsdale parking lot. The boy's distraught father showed up. The kidnappers never did.

The young man's name was Douglas Mueller. He was 19 years old. The year was 1977.

Needless to say, the last three and a half decades have been brutal for Doug's surviving family members. To torment the family further there was talk of a drug deal gone bad and there were at least two more ransom demands made over the years as the case bounced back and forth between the FBI and Scottsdale police.

Flash forward over an entire generation, into an entirely new century, and suddenly a significant break in this very cold case.

What happened? Well, it all started when a hiker found a single bone lying in a desert wash. Enter a veteran detective with the Scottsdale Police Department named Hugh Lockerby, a man who doesn't like unfinished business, and suddenly a sizable piece of the puzzle has fallen into place.

It was Shakespeare who said, "Murder, though it have no tongue, will speak." And now thanks to a bone in the desert, a 34-year-old murder is crying out to a dogged and determined detective. Case solved? Far from it. But suddenly this case ain't so cold anymore.