Sat. Apr 4th, 2020

The controversial exhumation of John Dillinger could enlarge his legend 90 years after his death

The legend of John Dillinger was enlarged over the years. The famous bank robber, qualified as a public enemy number 1 in the 1930s, tried to avoid the security forces and used all the weapons he had in his hand. There was talk that he removed his fingerprints with acid, that he dyed his hair, smoothed his eyebrows and even that he underwent an operation of cosmetic surgery so as not to be recognized. All these actions caused speculation to break out and that one might even doubt that the body buried in his tomb of the Crown Hill cemetery in Indianapolis is not him, but that of a person who looked a lot like him. The FBI always maintained that the man he killed was Dillinger.

The doubt may be resolved before September 16, when the exhumation of the body occurs. Last July, the Indiana State Department of Health granted Dillinger's nephew, Michael C. Thompson of Monrovia, a permit to carry it out. The nephew based his request on the need to know if his relative was finally buried in Crown Hill: "I think it is essential to know if Dillinger lived beyond July 22, 1934. If he was not killed on that date, I am interested in discovering what happened to him, where he lived, if he had children and if those children or grandchildren live today. "

The History Channel then confirmed that the exhumation would be part of one of its documentary projects. However, a few days after the deadline ends, the documentary channel announced that it would no longer participate in the project, without giving explanations, which adds even more mystery to the story.

Dillinger's nephew's plans to exhume the body provoked a strong debate in the family, as well as among historians and followers. In the midst of all this, the FBI made an unusual statement on the case to indicate that "There is a great deal of evidence to support that the body buried in Crown Hill is that of the bank robber.

In addition to the family's reluctance, Crown Hill issued a statement on August 14, in which he objected to the exhumation because his obligation is to protect the integrity of the cemetery: "We are also concerned that the complex and commercial nature of this exhumation may cause the interruption of the peaceful tranquility of the cemetery and those who visit to remember their loved ones. "

Born in Indianapolis on June 22, 1903, John Herbert Dillinger Jr. lost his mother when he was only three years old. The young man quickly became the leader of a neighborhood gang, who intimidated the children of the school and began their criminal activity with the theft of coal from the Pennsylvania Railroad. He dropped out of school during his teenage years and worked in a store in Indianapolis, but he spent his free time robbing stores. Dillinger's father, seeing that his son was going the wrong way, decided to move to a rural area in Indiana. But it was too late. From the first day he began to get into trouble.

At 19, he stole a car and managed to escape from the authorities. To avoid being tried, he decided to enlist in the Navy but his lack of discipline and problems with the authority led him to defect within a few months, when his ship was docked in Boston. When he returned to Indiana, with 20 years, he changed his job as much as a girlfriend, until he met Beryl Hovious, 16, who married on April 12, 1924. A few days after the link Dillinger and a friend waited the owner of a city food store and they assaulted him. The victim tried to defend herself and pulled out a weapon, but the criminals managed to flee.

His father, who was part of the local religious community, convention to plead guilty, confess and ask for mercy. But the judge did not have it and put him behind bars between 10 to 20 years, while his partner in the crime, Edgar Singleton, was sentenced from 2 to 14 years. Nine and a half years later, Dillinger returned to the street where only his father was waiting for him. His wife divorced him while he was in prison. But Dillinger did not know how to live otherwise and planned blows on a larger scale. Resentful with society and with justice, he focused on banks. He had time in jail to learn from the best and now that he was free he wanted to put it into practice. Nor did it help that the Great Depression had ended the few jobs it could access.

Just one month after returning home, he gathered a group of men who had recommended him in prison and they stole $ 10,000 from the New Carlisle National Bank in Ohio. They camped at the bank overnight, tied two employees and forced a third employee to open their safe.

Instead of being content with the loot, Dillinger and his gang noticed another bank, this time Bluffton. However, this bank had been robbed before and only took $ 2,000. On September 22, just a couple of weeks after robbing more than $ 21,000 of an Indianapolis bank, Dillinger was arrested by police in Dayton, Ohio. He was captured at the pension where his girlfriend, Mary Longnaker, lived with “four guns, $ 2,600 in cash, rifle and shotgun cartridges and detailed notes of the fastest ways to escape of cities with saddlebags full.

But he had everything planned. And a group of friends helped him escape from jail. When changing from one state to another and with the death of a sheriff behind him, the FBI decided to intervene in the matter.

After the gang robbed at least four more banks in different midwestern states, the FBI coordinated with local law enforcement to catch outlaws. In March 1934, Dillinger had moved with his girlfriend to an apartment in Minnesota. The nosy landlady was interested in the couple, and on March 30 she denounced them to the FBI. Two agents appeared in the house but Dillinger received them with a machine gun. The agents managed to hurt him in the leg but managed to flee.

After recovering Dillinger and his band headed back to Ohio. On the way they ran into a couple of police officers, but they also managed to flee the FBI. The Federal Agency tried to reach him by stopping his girlfriend but failed. Dillinger tried to launch several plans to release her but failed and moved to Chicago and changed his name to Jimmy Lawrence.

At this stage, the FBI already had a working group dedicated to Dillinger and called it "Public Enemy No. 1". They even managed to find their abandoned car in the city. The FBI knew he was in the city, but for several months they found no clue about him.

At the end of May, The gangster paid a plastic surgeon $ 5,000 to change his appearance. He removed moles and scars, filled the cleft of his chin and burned his fingerprints. That served to dodge the agents a couple of times. But once again, his taste for women condemned him. He began dating a runaway teenager and prostitute, Polly Hamilton. After a few months of relationship, Hamilton betrayed him. On the night of July 22, while Dillinger and Hamilton were watching a show, the FBI surrounded the theater. Upon his departure, they were waiting for him. As he fled to make time and look for his gun, three agents followed him and shot him six times, of which four hit the target. Three were superficial, but the fourth entered through the back of his neck and left through his right eye.

He was buried in a modest grave at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indiana, where the tombstone has had to be changed four times because his followers were stealing pieces every time they visited him.

Dillinger's fame grew and many saw in him a kind of Robin Hood, who robbed the banks that caused the Great Depression.

. (tagsToTranslate) paco rodriguez

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