Police conduct searches in Upper Valley homicide investigation

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HARTFORD, Vt. (WCAX) New developments Thursday in the homicide investigation of 19-year-old Austin Colson.

Both local and state police, as well as a crime-scene truck, were at a Hartford property for much of the day. There are two homes in that location. Police say they executed several search warrants in the Connecticut River Valley, but they declined to offer additional details.

One of the homes in Hartford belongs to Richard Whitcomb, a suspect in the Colson case. The other belongs to extended family. From the road, police were seen walking back and forth between both homes.

Colson's body was located in a Norwich barn May 23, after he went missing months earlier. He had been shot several times. Richard Whitcomb had access to that barn as a caretaker. Whitcomb also had plans to see Colson the day he went missing. Whitcomb is facing a federal gun charge in a separate case, but has not been charged in connection with the homicide.

Whitcomb's family did not return calls for comment about Thursday's developments.

Colson's family remains understandably frustrated at the pace of the investigation, but at the same time they have said they realize it takes time and they want police to get it right. In a recent Channel 3 interview, Colson's girlfriend said that not a day goes by that she doesn't think about him. Family and friends have held "Justice for Austin" rallies in an effort to keep the teen's case in the public spotlight.

Colson's father, Dana Colson, says that another rally is being planned for November 4th on the green in South Royalton. He says that anyone is encouraged to attend, including politicians who are serious about tougher penalties for violent crimes.