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Ledyard - Darlene Hamlin's eyes swelled with tears as she walked up Shewville Road Wednesday. She paused, her niece holding her hand, and they began again to walk to the grassy field where her son's body was found eight years ago.
She went to the site because officers from several law enforcement agencies were going to go over the area again in the hope they could find a clue or evidence that would lead them to the killer of Anthony Hamlin.
"I pray to God that they find some type of evidence or DNA that will help find the individuals who did this," said Darlene Hamlin. "You're not going to get away with this. You will face me and my family for what you did."
Forty-year-old Anthony Hamlin, a member of the Eastern Pequot Tribe and a father of five from Groton, was last seen in the area of Union Station in New London on the night of Jan. 27, 2006. He had accepted a job as a surveyor's assistant in Hampton, Va., and told family members he was planning to catch a southbound train at 11 p.m.
His naked body was discovered face down in a former horse pasture near 448 Shewville Road about 8:30 a.m. the next day. The medical examiner later ruled that Hamlin died from blunt trauma to the head.
His mother said Wednesday was the second time that she had visited the site. The first time was just last year when, in the tradition of the Eastern Pequots, she blessed and prayed over the land.
"I want my son back," said Hamlin as she cried. "I didn't get a chance to say goodbye. I couldn't see him one last time because his head (and) body was so badly battered."
Hamlin was accompanied by her niece, Kalia Griffin, and Anthony's aunts Darien Sebastian-Hamlin and Davida Hamlin. "His last moments were here," said Sebastian-Hamlin. "I miss him so much. Someone has to come forward."
Davida Hamlin said she hoped this week's search will bring much needed evidence to warrant an arrest. "I don't know what they are looking for, but I hope they find it," she said. "I don't know how anyone can do what they did to him."
Before the 20 detectives from the Eastern District Major Crime Squad, New London Cold Case Squad, FBI and state Department of Correction started their search of the vast open field, they held a quick briefing at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the day's plan of action.
Some were handed yellow flag markers; others picked up leaf blowers, metal detectors, rakes and trimmers.
They walked in a guided pattern through the field and even disappeared into the woods, where the noise of the leaf blower and trimmer could be heard in the distance.
One detective could be seen placing a yellow flag in the ground.
Jack Edwards, chief inspector of the state's division of Criminal Justice, said there wasn't any particular tip that led to the new search. He said the team wanted to go over the area with a "fresh set of eyes."
"You don't know what you may find until you actually search," Edwards said. "Someone may know something or remember just a little information that may lead to the discovery of a witness or a suspect. We keep our tips confidential."
The regional cold case task force has more than 20 unsolved homicides dating back to 1978 to work with, but it is concentrating on five cases.
In addition to the Hamlin homicide, the task force is focusing on the December 2012 shooting death of Kyle Seidel in Waterford; the homicide of Westerly fisherman Christopher Schmeller, who was found Oct. 8, 2002, on a sloped embankment off Parkway South in Waterford; the March 1995 stabbing death of William Spicer in Groton; and the March 1984 strangulation of Desiree Michaud in Groton.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Connecticut Cold Case Hotline at (866) 623-8058, Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad at (860) 896-3230, or the New London State's Attorney's office at (860) 443-2835.