New leads in the search for a slain Israeli tourist in Louisiana

Federal authorities have new leads in the search for the remains of an Israeli tourist who disappeared in 2003 after he picked up an escaped prisoner who was hitchhiking in Texas. Jonathan Lee Vernier, 36, was convicted Thursday on federal charges of carjacking with intent to cause death or serious bodily harm in the death of Ran Mesika, 22. Vernier admitted in testimony this past week to disposing of the body in Louisiana between Lake Charles and Crowley. Vernier had escaped from a Colorado prison and was hitchhiking along Interstate 10 in Texas when Mesika stopped to give him a ride in April 2003. US Attorney Donald Washington said Friday that investigators are following up on leads that arose during the trial and hope to work with Vernier to locate Mesika's remains.