Barbara Grimes (15) and Patricia Grimes (13) went to an Elvis Presley movie, “Love Me Tender” on Friday, December 28, 1956, at the Brighton Theater at 4223 Archer Ave in the Brighton Park neighborhood and never came home. On January 22, 1957, their nude bodies were discovered by Leonard Prescott as he was driving eastbound on German Church Road from County Line Road in unincorporated Burr Ridge.
The girls lived with their divorced mother, Loretta Grimes, two brothers, Joey and Jimmy, and two older sisters, Theresa and Shirley. They lived at 3634 S. Damen Avenue in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhood. Barbara was a sophomore at Thomas Kelly High School and Patricia “Petey”, was a 7th grader at St. Maurice Catholic School.
Edward “Bennie” Bedwell was the only person ever arrested for the crime but was released when the Coroner’s inquest showed that Bedwell’s confession was fabricated and very possibly coerced by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Bedwell was held for three days in a motel room before he signed a typewritten confession. Bedwell could not read or write.
Bedwell was released due to autopsy results negating most of Bedwell’s confession.
Since Bedwell’s release, no person has ever been charged with the murders.
I was not even born when these murders occurred but knew of the case when I was a criminal investigator in DuPage County. When I left law enforcement I was looking at the Grimes murders for a chapter of a book I was writing and came across information that I thought might help. After meeting with representatives of the Chicago Cold Case Unit and the Cook County States Attorney’s Cold Case Unit the person of interest died before they could get a search warrant for DNA.
I stayed involved because this particular person of interest, in my opinion, did not act alone.
I decided to start a Facebook group to help share information about the case and it has since grown to over 1,700 members. I met the surviving family, friends, neighbors, classmates, pallbearers, law enforcement, former law enforcement, and amateur sleuths. All are interested in finding out what happened to those young girls.
People started contacting me and the group and started sharing information. New witnesses came forward and we shared what we were given permission to share with the authorities.
As we dug deeper and deeper and as more people started coming forward the case became more complicated than we had anticipated. High-level politicians were implicated in shutting down investigations, police officers who were leads on the case were sent to federal prison for working with the mob, suspects were related to law enforcement and other suspects showed up with high-level mob attorneys.
In one case I was threatened by “good guys” to drop what I was doing and we are talking about 58 years after the fact. That should make anyone’s blood turn cold.
It became painfully obvious, to everyone who cared, that there would be no chance of bringing closure to this case without help from the public. For obvious reasons, we couldn’t publish names of living suspects but there is some new information that came out of the Facebook group that I wanted to share in the hopes that it sparks some memories.
A witness who actually talked to the girls after the show.
We were recently contacted by a woman whose name I have not been given permission to use. She said that she knew the girls through her cousin who only lived a few doors away from the girls and her cousin introduced them and had actually donated a bed and clothing to the family.
On that December night in 1956, this witness was 19 years old and was about to be married. She lived upstairs above a bar that existed, according to her, at 39th and Damen. She knew the owner of the bar and the owner had a 15-year-old daughter.
The owner had recently purchased a pink convertible Cadillac for his 15-year-old daughter but did not trust her driving it at night and asked the witness to drive her to the Elvis Presley movie at the Brighton Theater.
The witness worked at a bank in downtown Chicago and had to be up early but reluctantly agreed to drive the girl.
As luck would have it they managed to find a parking spot directly in front of the theater and made it for the last showing of the movie that night.
As the movie let out at around 11:15 pm, she remembered how crowded and busy the area was around the theater. Parking was at a premium and there was no parking lot specifically for the theater. There were cars cruising around looking for dates, parents cruising to try to pick up kids, people lining up at bus stops and others walking home.
She remembered how lucky she felt about their parking spot and when they walked out they passed by Barbara and Patricia who were talking to two boys right outside the entrance. This information is critical to developing a timeline since nobody to this point could pinpoint the time when the girls left the theater. A friend, Dorothy Weinert, testified at the coroner’s inquest that she had left before the show was over and was told by the girls that they were staying to the end.
Both boys looked to be older high school students. One had dark slicked-back hair and was wearing a school letterman sweater which was blue and gold. She didn’t remember the school name. The other boy had lighter hair and, in her words, was not quite as good looking. He was not wearing a letterman sweater.
The boys followed them to the Cadillac to get a closer look and asked if they could go for a ride. The 15-year-old girl was all for that idea but the witness was not and told them that they weren’t taking passengers. The boys went back to talking to the Grimes sisters.
At that point, the witness and her 15-year-old charge got into the car and pulled up close to the Grimes girls who were only about 10 to 15 feet away. The witness didn’t know if the boys were bothering the girls or if they were friends. She did see a third girl standing next to the girls but didn’t think she was a sister. This is important because it corroborates the story of a woman who came forward to us that she had entered a vehicle with the Grimes Girls after the show.
The witness stopped in front of the girls and asked them if they needed a ride home. One of them, she believed Barbara, said, “No, the boys are going to take us home.”
She then drove away and took her 15-year-old friend and her pink Cadillac Home.
This latest information fits within the time frame of a pair of boys stating that they observed the girls at 35th St. and Seeley Ave. at 11:30 pm that night “playing hide and seek”. (roughly two blocks north of the Grimes’ house)
Is it a coincidence that the two boys who were seen by the new witness also match the physical description of the two boys who claimed to have seen the girls at 35th St. and Seeley Ave. 15 minutes later? Is it also a coincidence that these same two boys were driving a 1955 Blue/Green Buick Hardtop Special which was seen by multiple witnesses trying to pick the girls up after the show?
Maybe it is also a coincidence that at this same intersection (35th St. and Seeley Ave.) and at this same time (11:30 pm) four close friends of these two boys were also seen running around in this intersection and admitted to forcing two girls into their car and having sexual relations with one of them the same night and admitted the same to police after they were arrested at around 2:00 am for fighting. All were released.
Could it also be a coincidence that one of the four friends also admitted to his girlfriend that he had driven the Grimes girls out to German Church Road that night and stated that he forced the nude girls out of the car at knifepoint with the intent of picking them up later but couldn’t find them when he returned to pick them up? He then stated that he threw out their clothes and when questioned by police and released, told his girlfriend, “I just told the cops what they wanted to hear”.
I’m sure it is also a coincidence that, at the time, one of the two boys was the son of a Cook County Sheriff’s Department sergeant.
An attempt to frame Harry Glos, the Cook County Coroner’s investigator.
It is no big secret to those who have followed this case that Harry Glos, the Cook County Coroner’s investigator, was fired from his job in early February of 1957 (roughly three weeks after the girls were found dead) for allegedly revealing autopsy information to the public.
One thing that we only recently were made aware of was the fact that some person or group was working pretty hard to discredit Glos after he was hired by the Cook County Sheriff, Joseph D. Lohmann, as an unpaid special investigator.
Recently, we had been made aware of a document that shows that on May 12, 1957, at 4:00 am the owner of the D&L restaurant, Minnie Duros, had reported that a man came stumbling in drunk and told her that she was lying about the Grimes Case. According to Duros, the man said he was no longer working on the case and that his name was Harry Glos. Duros reported this to the Sheriff’s department.
Glos was made aware of the allegations and met with Duros at the Sheriff’s department. Mrs. Duros took one look at the real Harry Glos and made a written statement that the real Mr. Glos was not the man claiming to have been Mr. Glos and causing a disturbance on May 12, 1957.
Who was trying to frame Harry Glos and trying to discredit him after he was already fired as an investigator and why?
So many years have passed and the more information that comes forward the more questions there are. Currently, one of the only hopes for the Grimes family to receive closure is help from the public. We are confident that there are at least three individuals who are still alive who have first-hand knowledge of what happened to Barbara and Patricia that cold December night.
That is why we are starting a Go Fund Me campaign to fund a reward for information that can lead to the closure of this case. It is only my opinion that one person who was, more than likely, involved in the murder and who died in 2010 had infiltrated a local group of boys who knew the girls. This person had been convicted of a similar murder that occurred in September of 1958 and was never questioned in the Grimes case due to the fact that he had an attorney who later married mob boss, Sam Giancana’s daughter and was the personal attorney to the masochistic mobster Sam DiStefano.
It was also pretty coincidental that Chicago P.D. Narcotics Detective Sheldon Teller, who became one of the lead investigators in the Grimes case, was twice charged and once convicted of coordinating narcotics sales for Giancana.
People talk and there is little to no chance that these individuals did not share their stories of that night with someone. Our goal for the reward is $10,000 but we are hoping that every dollar raised will increase the pressure and help to loosen the lips of those with information.
If, for some reason, the reward is not awarded it will be used to fund a scholarship in the name of the girls for college-bound graduates of Thomas Kelly High School where Barbara was a sophomore.
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