INVESTIGATIVE CASE OVERVIEW
FACTS AND EVIDENCE GLEANED DURING THE
11 YEAR INDEPENDANT INQUIRY INTO
THE 1948 DEATHS OF
“MARY JANE REED” AND “STANLEY SKRIDLA”
Mary Jane Reed
That on Friday June 25, 1948 Mary Jane Reed, 17, of Oregon Illinois, failed to return from a date she had the night before.
That her body was found four days later (Tuesday, June 29 at 9:00 am) in the west-side ditch of Devil’s Backbone road ¼ mile west of Oregon and south
of Pines Rd. approximately 100 feet. (In 1948 Devil’s Backbone Rd. was known as “Silica Road”).
That her companion on the night she disappeared, Stan Skridla, 28, Rockford, was found murdered at 6:20 am on June 25, 1948 on the south-side ditch of County Farm Road, approximately 300 yards east of Il. Rt. 2.
That County Farm road is presently and was in 1948, 1/8 mile directly south of the Stenhouse, Oregon, Il.
The Stenhouse restaurant & tavern
That the Stenhouse was a popular restaurant/tavern patronized by local officials and area residents in 1948, where poker and craps games took place in a hidden basement room.
Stanley Skridla’s cause of death
That it was reported, Stanley Skridla had been shot five times, once in the chest and four times in the groin/genital area.
That his car was found the following day, just off of the north west intersection of Pine’s road and Rt. 2, directly across the street from the Stenhouse restaurant and tavern.
The railroad tracks
That the Burlington Northern railroad tracks in 1948 and currently, run East & West aproximately 200 yards south of the Stenhouse.
That the same railroad tracks run 50 feet north of the discovered location of Mary Jane Reed’s body.
That the same railroad tracks run approximately 300 yards north of the discovered location of Stanley Skridla’s body.
Witness statements in 1948 - 2010
That witnesses stated the last time the couple was seen alive, was at the Stenhouse restaurant and tavern shortly after midnight on June 24, 1948.
That witnesses have stated, while the official closing time for the Stenhouse to pour alcohol was 12 o’clock midnight, it was customary and legal for the establishment to continue serving mixes to patrons for alcohol that said patrons carried into the premise after 12 midnight.
County Farm Rd.
That in 1948 County Farm road was also commonly known by the local people as “Lovers Lane” and was visited as such by local young couples.
Railroad switch box service road
That 200 yards due south of the Stenhouse a R.R. switch box and light was serviced by a lane that ran south 200 yards and intersected County Farm road 200 feet west of the location of Skridla’s body.
Witness statements 1948 – 2010
RE: Alexander’s Log Cabin Inn
That witnesses stated prior to arriving at the Stenhouse Mary Jane Reed and Stanley Skridla patronized Alexander’s Log Cabin Inn (A small bar just east of the Rock River, approximately 6 blocks and on the north side of rt. 64.) around 10:30 pm.
That an eye witness who was present at the Log Cabin Inn that night stated, an out of uniform Ogle County Deputy Sheriff who was commonly known to be having an on-again-off-again affair with Mary Jane Reed at the time, was present and standing at the end of the patron’s side of the bar as Reed and Skridla arrived.
That it is documented the deputy sheriff that the witness identified, as being at the Log Cabin that night, slapped Mary Jane Reed around the evening before in front of her home because she refused to go to the “Club House” with him.
2005 criminal profiler opinion
That in 2005 a criminal profiler who had studied the circumstances and known facts surrounding the Reed-Skridla murders, stated that he believed the person who murdered the couple likely had extensive familiarity with the local Burlington Central rail road tracks.
That the profiler further stated the offender likely had knowledge of the 1948 train frequency schedules. (The Burlington Central Railroad over the years has been renamed the Burlington Northern Railroad.)
That it has been documented via a public records search that the Ogle County Deputy Sheriff identified by the witness at Alexander’s Log Cabin Inn on Thursday June 24 did in fact receive his first social security card prior to 1951 and it was issued to him while working for the Burlington Central rail road.
That it has been documented and stated by witnesses that the deputy sheriff identified at the Alexander’s Inn on the evening of June 24, 1948, at that time owned a cabin on the Rock River ¼ mile south of County Farm Rd. aka Lovers lane off Il. Rt 2 and approximately ½ mile south of the Burlington Northern rail road tracks.
That the said cabin, was small and commonly referred to as the “Club House.”
That the deputy used the cabin as a retreat for him to fish, smoke cigars and play cards with a select few.
That an existing document states the deputy wanted to keep the location of his cabin a secret.
Interviews with 3 former Ogle County Sheriffs
That during this 11year investigation a former Ogle County Sheriff stated to two witnesses, that it was known to him that the deputy the witness identified back in 1948 at the Alexander’s Log Cabin was in fact the offender who killed Mary Jane Reed and Stanley Skridla.
That this former sheriff during this 11 year investigation stated that it was known by him that the deputy the witness identified in 1948 at Alexander’s Log Cabin in 1948 was asked by a superior where his revolver was the morning after the murders, to which he replied, he had sold it at a tavern the night before.
That the former sheriff during this 11 year investigation further stated, that it was known by him that in 1948 Mary Jane Reed and the Ogle County deputy identified at Alexander’s tavern were involved in a sexual relationship.
That this former Ogle County sheriff told this investigation, that while it was widespread and common knowledge that the above captioned 1948 deputy committed these crimes, this investigation should keep that information hush because there were still too many people alive it could hurt.
That a second meeting was held with this Ogle County sheriff at a later date whereby an F.O.I. was presented to him allowing this investigation to view the 1948 Ogle County sheriff’s case file on the murders.
That at this second meeting the same sheriff entered the room where the parties were seated and threw the voluminous case file at the victim’s advocate, in an intimidating manner, while stating, “if you keep fucking around with this you are going to end up getting us all sued!”
That the voluminous case file struck the advocate in the chest and stomach area of his body, as its contents flew about the room and the table before him.
2ND former Ogle County Sheriff
That during this 11year investigation a 2nd former Ogle County Sheriff stated, that our inquiry should find a specific Chicago Newspaper article, from 1948, for answers about the 1948 Ogle County Sheriff’s investigation into this double homicide.
That said article was found in the Thursday July 1, 1948 Chicago Tribune edition, and states as follows: “Sheriff Joseph Maas, who has little to say about the case throughout the six days of *DESULTORY investigation, said today, in response to questions, that he ‘knew nothing about the diary.’ Which aroused considerable comment, that he would make no move to get it, that no one was then under arrest and he indicated little hope any one soon would be.”
That the definition of *DESULTORY is as follows:
(1)Marked by lack of order or planning, disconnected. (2)Occurring haphazardly, at random. (3)Lacking in consistency or visible order. (4)Random or digressing.
3rd former Ogle County Sheriff
That during this 11 year investigation a 3rd former Ogle County sheriff was interviewed on more than three occasions by this investigation.
That on each occasion this former Ogle County sheriff produced a large accordion organizer full of pertinent documents relative to this 1948 crime that he had taken from the Ogle County sheriff’s office when he had left office over 10 years prior.
That after being allowed to view most of these documents this investigation determined that said documents were originals and were not contained within the current Ogle County sheriff’s file.
That when this investigation queried the 3rd sheriff as to were these documents were kept since his leaving office, he stated, “In my home and the trunk of my car.”
It was recently learned that this 3rd former OC sheriff was/is related by marriage to the captioned 1948 suspect deputy sheriff. This would give cause to believe, this may have been the reason he emptied the sheriff's office evidence file on this case upon leaving office. Making it next to impossible for any newly elected sheriffs to investigate the case.
A former Ogle County States Attorney
That during this 11 year investigation a former Ogle County States Attorney stated to the Reed’s family councilor, that when he was States Attorney the deputy that was identified back in 1948, at Alexander’s tavern was not only still alive, but was also his prime suspect in the murders of Mary Jane Reed and Stanley Skridla. In an interesting note, it is known that this OCSA held office during the same period that the above captioned 3rd OC sheriff held office.
An Ogle County Captain
That during this 11 year investigation an Ogle County Sheriff’s Department Captain and crime investigator wrote in his inquiry report into the 1948 double homicide, that the 1948 investigation performed by Ogle County officials, in 1948, pertaining to the deaths of Mary Jane Reed and Stanley Skridla was “Corrupt.”
The 2004 Court Order
That in 2004 pertinent to this 11year investigation an order was granted to the Reed family by an Ogle County judge to exhume the body of Mary Jane Reed.
That an additional order was to be issued outlining who would be liable to pay for said exhuming at a later date.
That any further hearings outlining said order, as to who paid the costs of the exhuming, were never held.
The 1948 medical examiner’s assistant
That an elderly man was present in said courtroom, (the day the Ogle County judge signed the order to exhume), who as a young intern assisted the doctor with the autopsy of Mary Jane Reed in 1948.
That after the judge signed the order to exhume the body of Mary Jane Reed, the elderly man stood and then fell to the courtroom floor.
That when the elderly man was assisted to his feet, he was visibly upset and asked if he was alright. He stated, “All this is going to do is upset the Reed family, they are not going to like what they find.”
The 1948 Coroner
That upon the discovery of Mary Jane Reed’s body along side Devil’s Backbone Rd. in 1948 the Ogle County Coroner, who was on site, stated to the press, on two occasions that the cause of her death was a single gunshot wound to the upper left chest. (There was no mention of decapitation.)
2005 concurring x-rays
That the X-rays taken of Mary Jane Reed’s body after it was exhumed and during an August 2005 post mortem examination reveal images of fracture like or trauma like intrusions on three of the ribs in the upper left chest area.
That the 2005 X-rays of Mary Jane Reed were not given to Mary Jane’s brother by Ogle County authorities after the exhuming as ordered by the court in a 2005 ruling by Judge Stephen Pemberton.
That Warren Reed was finally forced to file a petition against the Ogle County authorities in 2008 to obtain said X-rays.
Stanley Skridla’s body
That a Fred Echardt, who first discovered Skridla’s body, gave sworn testimony at a 1948 inquest that Skridla’s “face was all black.”
That in 2003 an interview with the wife of an eyewitness, who had seen Skridla the night before he was killed, (and who was asked to identify Skridla’s body on the morning of June 25, 1948,) was conducted. Said witness’s wife stated that her husband told her that Skridla’s head “was all black.”
Death certificates 1948
That in 1948 death certificates required hand written signatures of the Coroner, Deputy Coroner and Clerk.
That the 1948 death certificates of Mary Jane Reed and Stanley Skridla do not contain hand written signatures of the Coroner, Deputy Coroner or Clerk.
That the 1948 death certificates of Mary Jane Reed and Stanley Skridla were not signed in person by any Ogle County authorities.
That the 1948 death certificate of Mary Jane Reed states cause of death, “A single gunshot to the back of the head.”
That Fred Horner the 1948 Coroner stated to the press that the cause of Mary Jane Reed’s death was a gunshot wound to the upper left chest (Which the 2005 X-rays appear to support).
That Coroner Fred Horner did not sign the 1948 death certificate which stated she was killed by a single gunshot to the back of the head.
That it is feasible that the type written name of Coroner Fred Horner on Reed’s 1948 death certificate was forged, due to the fact that he refused to sign a document that read contrary to his original professional finding, (of a single gunshot to the chest).
That the death certificates of both Mary Jane Reed and Stanley Skridla were filled out in their entirety with a mechanical typewriter of the period.
That the typewritten name on both death certificates mechanically signed as being the clerk who filled out the death certificates, belonged to the wife of the Ogle County deputy that was identified as being at Alexander’s Log Cabin by the witness on 6/24/1948.
That the death certificate of Stanley Skridla stated in typewritten print after describing his cause of death,
“He was shot while with Mary Jane Reed on a lonely road parked in his car.”
That there should have been no way a clerk who filled out the death certificate of Stanley Skirdla could have positively known for certain that Mary Jane Reed was parked with Stanley Skridla that night on a lonely country road.
That a profiler stated, “It is highly unusual for a clerk to provide that type of unrelated personal commentary on a death certificate that is not pertinent to the actual cause of a victim’s death, unless that individual had personal knowledge or feelings toward the victim/s.
That the death certificate of Stanley Skridla further stated in typewritten print authored by the clerk, “A 32 caliber revolver was used.”
That it was reported a 32 cal. Semi automatic pistol was used in the killings, not a 32 cal. Revolver.
That this reveals the clerk who authored the death certificates could very well have had personal knowledge of the type of gun used in the slaying.
2004 motion to intervene
That during this 11 year independent investigation within weeks after the Ogle County judge signed the order to exhume Mary Jane Reed, the Ogle County Sheriff’s office filed a motion to intervene and take authority over release of any facts gleaned via the exhuming and examination of the female victim’s body.
That the Ogle County States Attorney at that time, stated that any facts discovered via the exhuming would not be released to the public, or to the Reed family.
That after involvement with the F.B.I. and after a year of litigation the Reed family received a signed order from the same judge who originally granted the exhuming, stating that the Reed family and their council was to be not only present at the exhuming, but also privy to all of the facts and documentation gleaned from said exhuming and post mortem examination of the female victim.
Illinois State Police anthropologist
That the ISP forensic anthropologist on site stated to the Reed family, minutes after his 2005 post mortem examination that the female victim was not killed by a single gunshot to the back of the head.
That the Ogle County sheriff’s captain present at the exhuming urged the Reed family in the presence of the ISP forensic anthropologist to re-inter the female victim’s body in its entirety as quickly as possible.
That the I.S.P forensic anthropologist in the presence of the Ogle County captain urged the Reed family not to re-inter the female victim’s body without further examination of the exhumed skull, first seven vertebrae and left femur bone.
That the Reed family authorized the county to re-inter the female victim’s body, except for the exhumed skull, first seven vertebrae and left femur.
That the I.S.P. forensic anthropologist stated to the Reed family that an extensive examination would be made by the I.S.P. crime lab to the remaining skull, first seven vertebrae and left femur over the next few months.
That when the Reed family opted to agree with the I.S.P forensic examiner to further examine the bones, the Ogle County captain present became quite upset and began cursing.
That the I.S.P. forensic examiner stated to the Reed family that the skull exhumed was not shot in the back of the head.
Statements to the media made by the sheriff
That the acting Ogle County Sheriff at the time held a press conference the following day after the exhuming, where he made statements to the press and t.v. media, that nothing of any value was discovered from the exhuming.
That said Sheriff further stated to the press and television media that, “Everything discovered was just as it was reported back in 1948. The female victim was shot in the back of the head.”
That said Sheriff knew, or should have known, the statements he made to the press and television media were false at the time he made them.
Mary Jane Reed’s remains
That when Mary Jane Reed’s remains, (Skull, vertebrae and femur etc.) were returned by the Ogle County sheriff’s office from the ISP lab, the Ogle County deputy coroner called Warren Reed, (The female victim’s brother) to ask him where he wanted the remains cremated.
That Warren Reed stated he did not want his sister’s remains cremated, that he had arranged to have them buried in an infants coffin at the head of her grave.
That the Ogle County deputy coroner became upset with Warren Reed and stated to him, “There is no way I am releasing your sister’s remains to you.”
Legal Action Filed
That once again Warren Reed was forced to file legal actions against the Ogle County coroner in order to obtain his sister’s remains.
After several months of costly litigation the Ogle County judge ordered that Mary Jane Reed’s remains were to be returned to her brother Warren.
Sheriff refuses to release CD
That the Ogle County Sheriff was ordered pursuant to the Ogle County judge’s first order in 2005, to release the video CD of the exhuming and post mortem examination of Mary Jane Reed to her brother, Warren Reed.
That the Ogle County Sheriff refused to release said CD video to Warren Reed.
That once again Warren Reed was forced to file costly legal actions against the Ogle County Sheriff’s office to obtain the video CD of his sister’s exhuming and post mortem examination.
That the Ogle County Sheriff’s office released the said video CD to Warren Reed several months after the litigation was filed.
That after reviewing the video CD it was determined the last 13 minutes of the audio recording on the disc went silent, while the video picture continued.
That just prior to the on site video recording of the female victim’s body, the ISP camera man stated to everyone in the room, “You might want to watch what you say while I film this, because I cannot turn off the audio recording portion, on this camera.”
That immediately prior to the video’s audio going silent, conversation can be heard whereby the ISP anthropologist states to the Ogle County Captain as follows: “I’ve never seen this before… I can’t release this to you without the families consent…”
That a conversation took place between the ISP anthropologist and the Ogle County Captain that was intentionally or negligently erased/dubbed out in the copying process that Warren Reed should have been privy to.
That when questioned at an earlier date, the Ogle County Captain stated that his wife was in charge of making copies of the video CD for Warren Reed.
Board certified anthropology reports
That after receiving his sister’s remains Warren Reed chose to have them examined by multiple board certified anthropologists.
That after examination, all of the board certified anthropologists concurred that the skull and C-1 vertebrae removed from the coffin of Mary Jane Reed, did not in fact belong to Mary Jane Reed.
That said anthropologists concurred the skull and vertebrae they examined belonged to a petite woman in her mid 20’s.
That Mary Jane Reed was 17 years of age at her death and was a larger type female with big bone traits.
Former F.B.I. criminal profiler
That a former F.B.I. criminal profiler after reviewing the case materials stated, “The only individuals that could have jointly or individually committed this crime would have to have been the 1948 investigating officer, the county coroner or the county medical examiner.”
That it is documented, the Ogle County deputy sheriff identified in Alexander’s Log Cabin by a witness on the night of the murders, was also in fact the 1948 lead investigator in the Reed-Skridla murder investigation.
That clearly the 1948 medical examiner’s assistant, (The elderly man in the 2005 courtroom), from statements he made when the exhuming order was granted, had undeniable knowledge that the Reed family would be upset by the findings gleaned from the female victim’s post mortem examination.
That the Ogle County states attorney in 2004 said, no findings gleaned from the upcoming post mortem examination of the female victim would be made public or given to her family.
That multiple witnesses stated the 1948 Ogle County medical examiner, and the 1948 Ogle County deputy captioned throughout this document, were frequently seen together in local drinking establishments during that period.
The 1948 photograph
That a popular “Calendar Girl” or “Pin Up” type photo, of the female victim was taken circa 1948.
That said photo was taken at a farm location owned by a popular state and then local judge.
That the deputy sheriff captioned throughout this document trained racehorses in his youth, along with other family members for themselves, and the judge’s family at this location.
That said photo strongly suggests an “Elbow to elbow” relationship between the captioned Ogle County deputy and his extended family.
Female victim was related by marriage
That it is known, that the female victim was related by marriage to the captioned Ogle County deputy.
The 2008 first deputy sheriff
That finally in 2008 this investigation made an appointment with the Ogle County sheriff’s office to once again view the 1948 case file.
That this said appointment, was arranged by the Ogle County states attorney at that time and the Ogle County first deputy.
That when the female victim’s brother and his advocate entered the office where the first deputy was seated, the first deputy stated to the advocate, “When are you ever going to give this up?”