Researchers are exhuming World’s Fair serial killer H.H. Holmes’s body to determine if he escaped execution, and other Chicago news

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Dr. Henry Howard Holmes pictured in an undated photo - AP PHOTO/THE TORTURE DOCTOR
  • AP Photo/The Torture Doctor
  • Dr. Henry Howard Holmes pictured in an undated photo

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Monday, May 1, 2017.

  • Investigators exhuming H.H. Holmes body to determine if he was executed or escaped

Prolific serial killer H.H. Holmes, the subject of the book Devil in the White City, targeted women attending the 1893 World's Fair in Hyde Park and killed up to 200 people at his Englewood "murder castle." Holmes was executed in 1896, but researchers are now exhuming his grave to see if he really escaped to South America before the execution, as was rumored at the time. "This was quite a popular story at the time," Philadelphia author Matt Lake told NBC Chicago. "A cynical person might say this was just designed to sell more newspapers, and it did sell newspapers!" Two of his direct descendants petitioned for the exhumation and a DNA test. [NBC Chicago]

  • Eddie Johnson's unmarked SUV was broken into

Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson's unmarked SUV was broken into in Bridgeport, according to police. It didn't appear that anything was taken from the vehicle, but items were in "disarray." It may have been left unlocked by accident, or the locks may not have been working. [Tribune]

  • How Chicago will be the "bellwether" for how Jeff Sessions's Department of Justice handles police reform

Chicago will serve as a "bellwether" to see how Attorney General Jeff Sessions will handle police reform as attorney general, according to the Huffington Post. Sessions has expressed doubts about the Department of Justice's 13-month investigation into CPD and subsequent report under President Barack Obama. Sessions wrote that consent decrees, a legal agreement that would require Chicago to make reforms, could "cost more lives by handcuffing the police instead of the criminals," in an opinion piece for USA Today. Some observers are worried that not pursuing reform will just make gun violence worse in the city. "The Justice Department, sort of being the big brother watching, the enforcer, has been a good thing across the country," Father Michael Pfleger of Saint Sabina told the Huffington Post. "Now Sessions has certainly sent a message that police have no one standing over them ensuring they're acting justify and fairly. . . . That's not what we need right now. Yes, we need strong police, but not an imposing force." "The issues in Chicago are longstanding and deep-rooted," the former head of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta, said. "To think that there could be a crime-fighting strategy that doesn't address police legitimacy and the severe breakdown in police-resident trust in certain neighborhoods in Chicago to me actually seems quite dangerous." [Huffington Post]

  • There's no picture of Richard M. Daley on City Hall's wall of mayors

Former mayor Richard M. Daley, the city's longest-serving mayor, is missing from the wall of mayors in City Hall. His picture has still not been hung on the wall of the fifth-floor mayor's office reception area along with the other former Chicago mayors. There's even a picture of Cook County clerk David Orr, who was mayor for eight days in the 1980s. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office says it's just a logistical issue. "There's been an effort to have a larger ceremony," the mayor's communications director Adam Collins told the Sun-Times. "We wanted to put together an event that would honor his service to the city just the same way that we named Maggie Daley park in honor of Maggie Daley's contributions to the city and hadn't been able to arrange that." [Sun-Times]

  • It's been ten years since a Plainfield woman disappeared, and her family is "losing hope" she'll be found

Plainfield resident Lisa Stebic, 37, was last seen by her estranged husband, Craig Stebic, in her Plainfield home April 30, 2007. Her divorce attorney had sent papers to her home to have Craig Stebic evicted that day, and a neighbor reported her missing the following day. Despite national media attention, Stebic has never been found, and her estranged husband remains the only person of interest in her disappearance, according to law enforcement. "How can you move on? There's no grave that we can visit," Melanie Greenberg, a relative and the Stebic family spokeswoman, told the Tribune. "How do I answer Lisa's grandmother when she's afraid that Lisa's just lying in a ditch somewhere and is not given the proper burial that she should have? I mean, I don't have an answer to that." [Tribune]

  • EDM duo the Chainsmokers crash Huntley High School's prom

Popular EDM duo the Chainsmokers hit the suburbs Saturday night to crash Huntley High School's prom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosemont before they played a show at the nearby Allstate Arena. The duo, Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall, decided to stop by and give the students a free show after a student e-mailed the band's manager a few weeks ago with the idea. "They just kind of came from backstage and just started performing 'Closer.' The kids weren't exactly sure what was going on," the school's principal Scott Rowe said. "About three words in somebody screamed 'That's the Chainsmokers!,' and they just bum-rushed the stage. It says a lot about those guys and how cool they are to their fans." [The Daily Herald]


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