And shortly thereafter, authorities found a man's skull and yet another body - the remains of a teen-age girl, who had also been buried more than a decade ago.
The grim discovery has solved the disappearance of 21-year-old Barry Dallman.
His family never reported Dallman missing, believing that he had left town with his young girlfriend, authorities said.
The underground graves, which eventually yielded all of the remains of the two victims, led police to arrest the former owner of the house, Ernest Ireland, 51, described by neighbors as a ``weird'' loner. Ireland is charged with Dallman's murder. The identity of the other victim has not been disclosed. Dallman's brother, Brian, of Egg Harbor Township, told the Atlantic City Press, ``I just always wondered what he was doing. We always wondered whether he was going to show up. Since he never bothered to show up, we figured he was out of the area.''
Also found in the makeshift 6-foot by 2-foot grave was Dallman's wallet and a portion of his driver's license, authorities said.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey Blitz said investigators believe Ireland beat Dallman with a baseball bat, then shot him three times following an argument.
The girl was clubbed to death, suffering multiple head injuries, Blitz said.
``We are still digging,'' he said, but added that searchers do not expect to find any more bodies.
Yesterday, forensic scientists were studying dental records to determine whether the remains of the teen-age girl were those of Dallman's 14-year-old girlfriend who has been missing since Jan. 24, 1985.
The girl was reported missing by her foster parents.They last saw her when they dropped her off at Pleasantville High School that day.
Blitz would not comment on reports that Ireland had confessed to the killings.
The bodies in the basement had not been dismembered, authorities said.
The discoveries have rattled neighbors in this small bedroom community just eight miles southwest of Atlantic City.
Ireland, who was unemployed, was described by neighbors as a weird man who rarely spoke.
He had a tattoo of a woman - on her knees, with her hands tied behind her back - on one arm.
``That always made me nervous,'' said a convenience store clerk who often waited on Ireland.
Ireland's family had owned the house where the bodies were found for four generations. The dead-end street is named after the family.
``It's a quiet neighborhood. Everyone knows everyone, with the exception of Ernie,'' said Patrick Trench, 49, who lives nearby.
``He was very quiet. He never spoke. I used to see him walking to the bus, always in the same clothes - black pants, white shirt.''
At Ireland's arraignment Tuesday, Dallman's brother sat behind him, with tears in his eyes, holding a framed picture of his brother.
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