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Search Fails to Find Millionaire’s Body; Reward Offered

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Dogs searching a wooded area Saturday were unable to find the body of a millionaire missing for a week from her bloodied home.

And the family of missing Jacqueline Levitz offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to any arrests in the case, which is now being treated as a homicide.

Levitz, 62, was last seen Nov. 18, buying wallpaper for the house she bought after moving from Palm Beach, Fla., last month. On Monday, a relative found the door to her house open. There was blood on a bedroom carpet, and police found her mattress soaked with blood.

“Whoever had this lady is long gone,” Warren County Sheriff Paul Barrett said after calling in the dogs from a four-hour search. “I don’t think her body is anywhere near here.”

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Barrett said the reward was posted by the Levitz family after a Friday helicopter search of the area around Levitz’s home, on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, turned up nothing.

Barrett and Vicksburg Police Chief Robert Dowe Jr. said investigators were retracing her steps over the past several weeks. Dowe said police officers will resume questioning construction workers and contractors who were hired to remodel Levitz’s new house.

“We’re just continuing to go through the very meticulous process of investigating every construction worker who was on the site. It’s a very detailed process,” said sheriff’s investigator Martin Pace.

In addition to Saturday’s search with dogs in the wooded area near the house, Barrett and Dowe said foot patrols would search an area near the river today.

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Friday’s air search included areas 20 miles south of Vicksburg and across the mile-wide Mississippi into neighboring Louisiana.

The blood found in the house was being analyzed at the state crime lab, Barrett said. The lab was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Levitz is the widow of Ralph Levitz, who built Levitz Furniture into a chain with stores in more than 20 states. He died in March and left his wife the bulk of his fortune, estimated in excess of $15 million.


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