Body Of 1930s Gangster John Dillinger To Be Exhumed

Chicago News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The body of notorious 1930s gangster John Dillinger is expected to be exhumed from an Indianapolis cemetery in September more than 85 years after he was killed by FBI agents outside a Chicago theater.

The Indiana State Department of Health approved a permit July 3 sought by Dillinger’s nephew, Michael C. Thompson, to have the body exhumed from Crown Hill Cemetery and reinterred there.

FILE – This file photo shows Indiana Reformatory booking shots of John Dillinger, stored in the state archives, and shows the notorious gangster as a 21-year-old. Records show that Dillinger was admitted into the reformatory on Sept. 16, 1924. The body of the 1930s gangster is set to be exhumed from an Indianapolis cemetery more than 85 years after he was killed by FBI agents. The Indiana State Department of Health approved a permit July 3, 2019, that Dillinger’s nephew, Michael C. Thompson, sought to have the body exhumed from Crown Hill Cemetery and reinterred there.(AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Charlie Nye, File)

The permit doesn’t give a reason for the request, and Thompson couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The Indianapolis-born Dillinger was one of America’s most notorious criminals. He and his gang pulled off a bloody string of bank robberies across the Midwest in the 1930s. The FBI says that Dillinger’s gang killed 10 people, but Dillinger was never convicted of murder.

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Dillinger was awaiting trial in the slaying of an East Chicago police officer when he escaped from jail in Crown Point, Indiana, in March 1934 with a gun carved out of wood. While on the run, he underwent plastic surgery to alter his face and was said to have tried to remove his fingerprints with acid.

Dillinger, who was portrayed by Johnny Depp in the 2009 movie “Public Enemies,” was fatally shot in July 1934 by FBI agents outside the Biograph theater in Chicago after he was betrayed by a woman who became known in the papers as the “Lady in Red.”

Indiana health department spokeswoman Jeni O’Malley said that based on the permit, the agency expects Dillinger’s body will be exhumed and reinterred on Sept. 16 — the date listed on the document.

RELATED: Like Its Namesake, John Dillinger Museum Meets Sudden, Shocking End

“In terms of the way the permit reads that’s what it signals,” she said Tuesday.

Crown Hill Cemetery spokeswoman Crystal King said the cemetery has no information about the plans to exhume Dillinger, whose grave is an attraction at the hilltop graveyard on Indianapolis’ near north side.

(Credit: CBS)

Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday for Jeffery Scalf, whose grandmother was Dillinger’s half-sister, and for Savanah Light, the funeral director whose name is listed on the permit.

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