Ray Johnson

The mysterious grave marker of August Boness

The Mysterious Grave Marker of August Boness

I originally published this story as a three-part blog on Chicago Now which no longer exists.  It has given me the opportunity to combine them into one cohesive story with additions and corrections from the original. For decades the residents of Justice, Illinois, and curiosity seekers from elsewhere wondered about the grave marker that was …

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Page 2 of Nathan Leopold's passport

Nathan Leopold Almost Made it to Europe before being Arrested for the Murder of Bobby Franks

It is funny how a twist of fate can affect everything. Nathan Leopold Jr.’s birthdate is coming up on November 19th (2 days) and most crime history buffs are aware that he was arrested and charged along with his partner in crime Richard Loeb with the murder of Loeb’s cousin, Bobby Franks. They committed this …

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Grimes Sisters Barbara and Patricia

The Joy Ride that May Still Hold Clues to 1956 Grimes Murders

I was born in Chicago ten years after this murder took place.   My mother was about the girls’ ages when they were murdered, and she lived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood that bordered the McKinley Park neighborhood where the girls lived.  I remember how protective my mother was with us, but I didn’t …

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Charles Melquist listens to verdict in Scott murder

Could Charles Melquist be Responsible for the 1956 Murders of The Grimes Sisters

Many people have never heard the name, Charles Leroy Melquist. It seems to be a name lost to history, but could it hold the key to solving the oldest current cold case in Chicago history? I had become seriously interested in the murders of Barbara and Patricia Grimes after I had left my career in …

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Chicago Tribune Photo of Child Killers Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold

Charles Ford Heath – The Forgotten Victim of Child Killers Leopold and Loeb

Charles Ford Heath is a name that few remember when discussing the “Crime of the Century”  On May 21, 1924, 14 year old Bobby Franks did not come home from the Harvard School for Boys in Chicago’s elite Kenwood Neighborhood. Nathan Leopold, 19 and Richard Loeb, 18 were extremely intelligent sons of wealthy Chicagoans and …

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Otto Funk The Chicago Library Thief

Otto Funk The 19th Century’s Great Chicago Library Thief

As a book lover myself I was drawn to the story of Otto Funk, the most prolific book thief in Chicago history.  As most great stories, I had come across this one by sheer happenstance as I was researching an unrelated story concerning the Chicago Public Library.  It contains all the elements of a great …

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James E. Dukes Executed

The Last Death By Electric Chair in Chicago

On February 18th, sometime before the Pandemic, I was pondering what to write about and discovered that Italian Physicist Alessandro Volta was born February 18, 1745.  Volta is credited with inventing the first chemical battery and separating and identifying the odorless gas, methane.  You can probably deduce by his name that the term to describe …

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