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Unsolved Mystery - The Murders Of Barbara And Patricia Grimes

Unravel the chilling enigma surrounding the unsolved mystery of the murders of Barbara and Patricia Grimes. Dive into the perplexing case that continues to baffle investigators, exploring the twists and turns of this haunting tragedy.

Vincent Bloodworth
Vincent Bloodworth
Feb 12, 20242 Shares28 Views
Unsolved Mystery - The Murders Of Barbara And Patricia Grimes

Caution: The content below contains distressing depictions of violence and sexual violence. Reader discretion is advised.

Sixty years ago, Barbara and Patricia Grimes, aged 15 and 12 respectively, joyfully left their home to catch a screening of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender" at the Brighton Theater in Chicago.

After the movie concluded, portraying Elvis's demise in a dramatic shootout, the audience dispersed, yet the Grimes sisters never returned home.

For twenty-five agonizing days, the city was gripped with fear and uncertainty. "If someone is holding them, please let the girls call me," pleaded their mother, Lorretta Grimes, in a January 11, 1957. Then, on January 22, 1957, the naked bodies of Barbara and Patricia were discovered in a field in a nearby suburb, bearing no apparent signs of violent assault.

The revelation sent shockwaves through the community and the predominantly working-class Catholic neighborhood where the sisters resided. Faced with mounting public pressure, law enforcement launched a vigorous investigation, interrogating numerous suspects and even laying charges, only to retract them later due to insufficient evidence amid open feuds among authorities.

Today, this notorious enigma remains a somber footnote in the annals of Chicago's history. Nevertheless, it continues to haunt as an "open murder investigation," as stated by a spokesperson for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's office. "Our detectives diligently pursue any new leads that arise," affirmed deputy press secretary Matthew Walberg.

Love Me Tender

Barbara and Patricia, like many 1950s bobbysoxers, were huge fans of Elvis Presley. They begged their mother to allow them witness the evening performance at the nearby neighborhood theater, even though they had seen Love Me Tender ten times. On December 28, 1956, over the Christmas season, Lorretta granted her approval.

He tells, "There were signs in store windows saying, 'don't talk to strangers.'"

Dominic Pacyga, an emeritus professor of history at Columbia College and a native of Chicago, was seven years old when the sisters vanished. According to Pacyga, who lived close to the Grimes' neighborhood, "it was on everybody's minds."

The daughters of Lorretta Grimes and her ex-husband Joseph were in danger, they insisted. According to Lorretta Grimes, "They are not the type of girls to run away". This story gained media attention and sparked speculation that the girls were traveling to Presley's hometown of Memphis. "If you are good Presley fans, you'll go home and ease your mother's worries," the singer said in a statement.

Traveling from Minnesota, the woman claimed to have met the sisters on January 9, 1957, in a Nashville bus station lavatory.

Tips came in while police searched the city. According to Tamara Shaffer's book Murder Gone Cold, employees at a Chicago five-and-dime store were certain they saw Barbara and Patricia with two sailors on January 3, 1957, listening to Elvis songs.

When neither of them showed up by midnight, Lorretta Grimes contacted the authorities.Barbara, a brightly smiling sophomore in high school, was referred to as the “serious” one, while Patricia, also known as “Petey,” was an energetic seventh-grader.

"I Was Silent and They Ignored"

On January 22, 1957, a passing car near Willow Springs, a southwest suburb, noticed what appeared to be a mannequin off the bridge over Devil's Creek. When authorities arrived, they discovered the girls' bodies splayed out on the icy surface.

The public once more offered advice. This included a cabbie's account of spotting the sisters on December 30, 1956, at a skid row diner with two men, one of whom supposedly had sideburns like Elvis, on Chicago's infamous Madison Street.

The lack of proof of traumatic violence in the anticlimactic resolution added to the mystery and put more strain on the investigators. However, a preliminary examination revealed that the girls' cause of death was exposure to frigid temperatures.

Barbara's face had bruises and scars, and Patricia had multiple small puncture wounds on her chest that were likely caused by an ice pick, Cook County Coroner Walter McCarron's top investigator Harry Glos told reporters.

Joseph Grimes stated, "I tried to tell police my daughters didn't run away, but they didn't listen to me," in aChicago Daily Tribune report published on January 23, 1957.

"If I Hadn't Been Using Alcohol"

Edward "Bennie" Bedwell, a teenage vagrant from Tennessee, was located by police who were following the diner lead. Bedwell, 21, was a former circus performer who had been in the American Air Force for a short time. He was employed as a dishwasher and in a factory when he was taken up for interrogation by detectives.

Lorretta Grimes angrily refused her daughters' plans to have sex with unscrupulous men. She told the Chicago Daily Tribune, "Our girls were raised in a religious environment and came from a good home."

"What I did was not intentional, and I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been drinking," he stated.

However, on January 13, Bedwell and Frank rendered the girls unconscious after they "resisted the men's advances," and then they disposed of the sisters in a ditch.

According to Bedwell, on January 7, he and Frank went to a tavern on Madison Street and met the girls. They stayed in different motels for a week while they were together.

Following a few days in detention, Bedwell signed a confession on January 27, 1957, acknowledging that he and an accomplice by the name of "Frank" had slain Barbara and Patricia.

Stifling the evidence?

Bedwell's story started showing gaps almost immediately. The girls' death on December 28, 1956, was determined by medical professionals, and Bedwell's factory timecard offered an explanation for their disappearance on that night. The defense counsel for Bedwell maintained that the confession was forced.

The following day, at his own press conference, the coroner dismissed Glos, who had carried out further investigation.

Glos-Block claims, "He knew and believed the girls were both raped." She points out that Harry Glos claimed McCarron hid information to protect the sisters' reputations and show respect for Lorretta.

Glos disclosed test findings that showed Barbara had been sexually assaulted and maintained the girls could not have died on December 28.

Glos decided to take matters into his own hands on February 14, 1957. Glos-Block remembers that in his family home, the "tough son of a gun," dressed in a fedora and larger than life, called a news conference.

I believe he was concerned by it always. He didn't like to let him go because he was certain he had the correct guy, Glos' daughter Renee Glos-Block.

On February 5, 1957, Bedwell was freed from jail on bond, much to the dismay of Glos and Cook County Sheriff Joseph Lohman, who held Bedwell accountable.

"Heard anything about my girls?"

Following the Bedwell scandal, a number of suspects surfaced, but none of them proved to be the real deal.

Forgala encountered Lorretta Grimes while out shopping at a department store a few years after the accident. Forgala narrates that Grimes acknowledged her and they exchanged words.

The night the youths vanished, a local guy claimed police he witnessed Barbara conversing with young people in a car as Patricia looked on. Barbara was allegedly informed, "You'll be sorry," by one of the lads, according to a Chicago Tribune article published on February 14, 1957.

Another hypothesis holds that the sisters passed away as a result of an affair with young lads from a nearby gang who picked them up and left them.

Johnson tells in an interview, "Someone still doesn't want this case to be solved." "At least three living people are aware of what transpired that evening,"

Former police officer and lecturer Ray Johnson, who runs the "Chicago History Cop" blog, believes Melquist was involved in the crime but was shielded from punishment due to his connections to the Chicago mob.

After discovering a list of girls at Melquist's flat, including young ladies from the Grimes neighborhood, authorities questioned him about Barbara and Patricia, but that was the extent of their investigation.

One of them was the suburbanite Charles Melquist, who was convicted in 1959 of killing 15-year-old Bonnie Leigh Scott. A few kilometers from the Grimes sisters' place of death, in a forested region, her naked body was discovered in November 1958.

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