fifteen year old Barbara Jeanne Grimes and her thirteen year old sister, Patricia Kathleen Grimes, were two of the six children of Joseph and Loretta Grimes in a neighborhood of Chicago. Loretta worked as a clerk for the Parke Davis Co. and Joseph was a union truck driver. the couple had been divorced for about 11 years at this point and Joseph was remarried.
at about 7:30pm on the night of december 28, 1956, the girls left their home with $2.50 between them. their plan was to see the newly released Elvis Presley movie, "Love Me Tender" for the 15th time at the now demolished Brighton Theater. they never came home.
what followed was one of the most labor intensive missing persons cases in Chicago and Cook County History. thousands of man-hours and hundreds of police officers were utilized from Chicago as well as neighboring towns.
reports of sightings of the girls started pouring in from as far away as Nashville, Tennessee and Elvis Presley himself was on the radio pleading with the girls to return home. the police initially were of the opinion that the girls had run away but their mother never wavered from her belief that the girls would never do such a thing and that she feared the worst. their mother could not believe that they would leave home with virtually no money, no change of clothes and leaving all of their christmas presents behind including a treasured A.M. radio.
all hope was lost on january 22, 1957 when a man by the name of Leonard Prescott was driving east along German Church Road on his way to the grocery store when he noticed what he thought were two mannequins on the north side of the road just east of County Line Road. he went back to get his wife and returned to the scene to find what turned out to be the bodies of Patricia and her sister Barbara. they reported their findings to the Willow Springs police department at 1:30pm that day.
the bodies were unclothed with Barbara, the older but smaller girl, lying face down and Patricia lying face up on top of Barbara and perpendicular. there was no obvious cause of death although it appeared as though their faces had been damaged. the damage was later found to be destruction by animals. it was thought that the girls were probably there since the heavy snows of january 9th and 10th and that the recent thaw had revealed them.
following the discovery, a number of suspects were interviewed and cleared. the most publicized suspect was Edward Lee (Bennie) Bedwell who had gone so far as confessing to the murders however it was later shown that "Bennie" was borderline mentally retarded and that his confession had been coerced by the Cook County Sheriff's police. he was later cleared by the Cook County State's Attorney Benjamin Adamowski.
the autopsy later revealed that the girls had died within four hours of going missing because the meals that they had eaten that night at home were still in the girls' stomachs. the official finding by the coroner's jury was that they were murdered and the only cause of death they could come up with was "exposure to the elements". then coroner, walter mccarron was criticized because there were reports that the autopsies had been flubbed.
the case remained unsolved and Loretta Grimes, for many years, volunteered her time at the Bridewell Prison not far from where her girls' bodies were discovered. the authorities told her that they would never give up on the case. Loretta passed away in 1989 at the age of 83 without ever knowing how or why her girls died and who had killed them.
there is a similar crime that took place in Addison, IL where it involves the murder of Bonnie Leigh Scott who was murdered at the age of 15 and whose nude body was found by a group of cub scouts on a nature hike. the man who was responsible for the crime had made a phone call to Loretta Grimes shortly after Scott's body was discovered boasting about killing the Grimes girls and Scott and getting away with both crimes. Mrs. Grimes claimed that the voice of that person was the same as the voice of the person who called her after her girls' bodies were discovered and boasted about undressing them and shared with Loretta personal information about one of the girls that was not previously published. Loretta was quoted as saying "i will never forget that voice."
that person was convicted of the killing and sentenced to 99 years in prison but was released after only roughly 11 years. he later got married and had two children. he was originally going to be questioned by the Chicago police but his attorney had blocked all attempts at an interview.
aside from the phone call to Loretta Grimes there was no other physical evidence on the Grimes Girls' bodies that match the M.O. of the Scott case and would help to explain some of the unexplained and "non lethal" marks on the Grimes bodies.
Lorretta is no longer with us but the Gimes girls have living siblings and many think Chicagoans need some closure if it is at all possible.