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Missing Baby Cold Case Unthaws

sabrina aisenberg
CBS
An alleged jailhouse confession has unearthed a new lead in the disappearance of a 5-month-old girl in 1997.

The St. Petersburg Times reported Sunday that detectives have recently focused on a man serving prison time on unrelated federal charges.

Sabrina Aisenberg vanished days before Thanksgiving. Her parents, Steve and Marlene, were indicted in 1999 on federal charges that they lied about their daughter's disappearance. Those charges were later dropped when a judge questioned the validity of wiretaps used to collect information on the Aisenbergs.

The newspaper reported that sheriff's investigators are now focusing on Scott Overbeck, a prisoner who has been serving time on unrelated charges. Authorities had a fellow inmate wear a wire to get Overbeck to detail what he knew about the disappearance. Overbeck allegedly told the informant that he was asked to dispose of the infant's body, which was inside a boat he had retrieved from the Aisenberg's home.

According to the informant, Dennis Byron, a former acquaintance of Overbeck who is serving a six-year sentence at a Gainesville, Fla., prison, Overbeck said he was asked to get rid of the baby's body at the request of an investigator working for a law firm that was going to represent the Aisenbergs, the newspaper reported.

Overbeck also told Byron that he chopped up the baby's body and disposed of the remains in crab traps.

"Without some corroboration, there's not going to be enough here to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt," CBS News legal analyst Lisa Bloom said of Byron's information. "This is not enough standing alone."

The newspaper based its reporting on a sworn statement Byron gave investigators.

The sheriff's office is refusing to comment on the newspaper's report. Some of the Aisenbergs' former neighbors said that detectives have recently come around with sheets of mug shots for them to look at.

But the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Sunday that because the case remains open, officials will not discuss any details of the leads that continue to come forward.