Tip in 1998 murder leads investigators to Burke County site

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August 15, 2007

It's a story that was made into a program on national TV.

In August 1998, William "Al" Hamilton, the manager of downtown dance club the Discotheque, disappeared after leaving work. Later that morning, firefighters put out a fire at his home. Evidence later showed Hamilton had been killed there, but his body couldn't be found.

Two months later, a grand jury indicted Rodney Richardson for murder and arson. He was the ex-husband of Hamilton's girlfriend.

A jury convicted Richardson the next year, and he's now serving two life sentences plus 50 years in state prison.

All these years the question remained: where was Al Hamilton's body?

That brings us to today. A tip led investigators to a bridge along Highway 88 in Burke County, near Keysville, not far from the country store.

The GBI and the Richmond and Burke County Sheriff's Offices have been organizing their resources and searching the area today. A bulldozer was digging through the dirt under the bridge this morning.

While investigators on the scene would only say they were searching for evidence in relation to a 1998 case, two sources close to the investigation confirm it is the Hamilton case.

So far they haven't found anything. They have stopped the search for now and plan to interview people in Richmond and Burke County to hopefully find more information before returning to resume their search.

Murder Case Timeline
Aug. 1998-Al Hamilton Disappears
                 Home set on Fire
Oct. 1998-Rodney Richardson Indicted
Oct. 1999-Richardson Convicted
No Body Found

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