Fugitive Donald Webb spent weeks at Tobey Hospital after 1980 murder

By Douglas McCulloch | Jul 20, 2017
Courtesy of: FBI A photo of Donald and Lillian Webb taken in 1975 and released by the FBI in June along with over a dozen new photographs.

FBI most-wanted fugitive Donald Eugene Webb spent four weeks at Tobey Hospital, using an alias, while on the run following the 1980 murder of a Pennsylvania police chief.

Court documents outline what investigators knew about Webb — wanted for the murder of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania Police Chief Gregory Adams — from the murder itself to how he managed to elude capture for close to two decades until his death in 1999.

His whereabouts remained a mystery until his remains were found last week, buried in the back yard of his wife, Lillian Webb's, Dartmouth home. The home had a secret room in which investigators believe Webb hid.

(Follow the culmination of the investigation on DartmouthVillageSoup.com via the links below this story.)

Webb — described as a career criminal specializing in jewel theft — was in Pennsylvania on December 4, 1980 casing a jewelry store to rob. He was wanted by police at the time for his role in a jewelry store heist, according to investigators.

During a routine traffic stop, the 49-year-old Webb killed Chief Adams. Adams, who was 31 years old, was badly beaten and shot twice at close range. The chief had a wife and two young sons at home.

Investigators honed in on Webb as the suspect after a New Jersey driver’s license bearing one of his known aliases and blood matched in type to his was discovered at the crime scene. When the getaway car, a Mercury Cougar, turned up in a Howard Johnson's parking lot in Warwick, Rhode Island, investigators then believed he returned to this area.

Adams had managed to get a shot off at Webb before succumbing to his injuries. Webb was hit in the leg, and the injury apparently necessitated a hospital stay.

Webb spent four weeks at Tobey Hospital receiving care under the alias of “John” LNU (last name unknown), according to court documents.

Peter Cohenno, spokesperson for Southcoast Health, said it is “highly unlikely” that Tobey Hospital would still have records to verify Webb’s 1980 stay, as records are only required to be kept for 20 years.

In 1980, the hospital did not verify the identities of its patients, and only collected patients’ names and dates of birth, Cohenno said. Now, patients admitted to Tobey must provide their name, date of birth, and a picture ID, and identities are verified.

At the time of Webb’s treatment, hospitals were not required to report people being treated for gunshot wounds, Cohenno said.

Tracking down Webb after he returned proved difficult. He was one of the longest tenured fugitives ever to appear on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list.

The FBI renewed its effort to find Webb and solve the long-running cold case in 2016.

On July 12, the day before Webb’s remains were unearthed, investigators met with Jack Cicilline, an attorney acting on behalf of Lillian Webb.

The lawyer relayed to investigators a detailed account of Webb’s life from the time of the murder to his death in 1999, provided to him by Lillian Webb. Lillian Webb received immunity from prosecution in exchange for providing information.

Cicilline stated that sometime shortly after Webb and Lillian Webb moved into 28 Maplecrest Drive, Webb suffered a stroke after a period of illness, according to court documents. The stroke was severe, and resulted in a complete loss of mobility and left Webb unable to care for himself.

Cicilline detailed a conversation between Webb and Lillian Webb in which Webb told his wife he believed he was dying, and instructed her to begin digging a hole in the back yard to bury his body. Lillian Webb agreed, and dug a grave in the back yard.

Webb later suffered a second stroke and died inside the Dartmouth home. Lillian Webb buried her husband in the grave she dug under Webb’s instruction.

Comments (10)
Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jul 20, 2017 16:50

So glad they caught this thug

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Jul 20, 2017 19:13

That danged Wareham magnet.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 21, 2017 10:57

Wareham draws them in, one way or another...even back then.


Imagine showing up there nowadays with a bullet wound to the leg, no last name, and staying for 4 weeks!  How did a bullet wound made by a police weapon not draw some attention?  How's a person with no last name pay for a month in the hospital?  It was 1980 not 1880.  That just seems odd.


Then again, the Toby has come a long way.

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Jul 21, 2017 11:13

The mandatory gunshot wound law wasn't in effect then. There was no reason for it to be reported, but lets blame Wareham......

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | Jul 21, 2017 11:20

Lots of Fugitives find their way to Wareham . Bigger Question I have was What in Gods Name was that cop doing on Swifts beach last week walking the shore line in full uniform staring at the girls in Bikini's doing absolutely nothing . Mean While the parking lot was full of illegal parking and No Stickers . PS one of the girls you were Staring at and checking out is 16..

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 21, 2017 12:00

Crazy Walter used to have that job on Swift's Beach.


I heard he was there because they couldn't trace the email threat used to bring down our entire school system for a day, so they're looking for clues on the beaches.  Sophomore girls are prime suspects...

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 21, 2017 12:10

Peaches, not really blaming Wareham...more like blaming Toby.  Toby was a rinky dink hospital back then.  Its great now.  My kids were born there, etc so I'm fine with it now. He probably ended up there because he knew he had a better chance of not getting caught at a little small town hospital.  Still though, even without a gunshot law, a person without a name can't have insurance or free care.  How was a month in the hospital paid for?  Did he work out a cash deal or pay them in stolen jewelry?  Its still fishy...

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Jul 21, 2017 21:15

Not all that fishy, WbtS.  It was 1980.


Imagine a time when hospitals existed to provide medical care that people could pay for, not to milk some insurance policy for every nickel possible, and to attach liens to one's estate.  Imagine that operating room supplies--gauze and tape--were worth a comparable fee to what they might cost at a retail drug store, rather than $739, as was billed on my recent hernia surgery.  Imagine that you could walk into a hospital and the first question would be "What is wrong?" instead of "How much money are we going to make?"  Imagine a time when an operation in Massachusetts didn't cost FOUR times the national average.  Well, this is Massachusetts--maybe price-gouging has existed since 1620.


You're obviously too young to recall the time when medical and dental care were services provided by professionals, not corporations.  When decisions regarding care were decided by those professionals, not some insurance company protecting its P&L.  You're likely too young to remember when a dentist would drill and fill a small cavity, and yes, you'd just pay the standard fee, like at the carwash, for services rendered.  In the old days, that was the deal.  Not like today when the best-educated dentists in the nation (Hahahahahahaha!  Oh, pardon me.) turn every $300 cavity (is that a week's wages for a Target cashier?) into an $1100 root canal (please fill out this loan application).


Not fishy at all, WbtS.  Medical care, at one time, used to actually be medical care.  Not highly-organized insurance hustling, like it is today, where a patient is simply a revenue source to be upsold at every opportunity, kinda like McDonalds.


Posted by: Peaches0409 | Jul 22, 2017 08:21

Society you hit the nail square on the head. We wonder why insurance is so expensive.

Posted by: Linda | Jul 22, 2017 14:19

society, you are correct and just recently I heard that south coast is not financially stable.  from a very reliable source in the medical field.  so if that's true, why take down the tobey homestead?

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