Location: German Church Road, just east of County Line Road, Burr Ridge, Illinois 60527
victims are seemingly chosen for their fair hair coloring, blue eyes and very
young age. According to some, it
would seem that someone perhaps used the girl’s deaths in order to enhance
their own psychic powers by stealing the psychic energy of the old Indian trail,
and Patricia Grimes, 15 and 13 years of age, respectively had left home about
7:30 p.m. December 26, 1956 for the Brighton Theater at
Barbara, 15, was five feet tall and weighed around 100
pounds. She had brown eyes and hair,
a fair complexion and was last seen wearing a gray tweed shirt, a yellow blouse,
a gray three-quarter-length coat, gray babushka, white bobby socks and black
13, was five feet three inches and weighed 108 pounds.
She also had brown eyes with dark brown hair and a fair complexion.
She wore blue jeans, a yellow sweater, white babushka, white bobby socks
and black ballerina slippers.
The days dragged on with several leads and eyewitnesses all which lead
to dead-ends. The girls only had
$2.15 between them and a happy home life. There
was no reason for them to run away from home.
Almost two weeks had now past and the police were exhausting their leads.
They began to circulate flyers about the girls hoping that someone had
seen them to bring this disappearance to a happy ending.
that was not to be. On January 23,
1957, nearly a month after the disappearances, a passing motorist, Leonard
drove home and told his wife who insisted they go back to the scene to make sure
of what he saw. They both made the
grisly discovery of the Grimes sisters, unceremoniously thrown into a ditch.
They immediately called the
were some suspects including a Walter Krantz who had made an anonymous phone
call days earlier saying that he had seen two nude bodies in
there was Edward “Bennie” Bedwell who was a skid row derelict and admitted
that he had made a tour of skid row with some girls but denied that they were
the Grimes sisters. Other witnesses
did however place Bedwell and another man with both of the sisters on
Bedwell was a native of
first meeting of the girls was on January 7th in Harold’s Club on
another bar stop they allegedly paired off in separate rooms at the Crest Hotel.
Bedwell claimed to have sleep with Patricia.
Throughout the next several days they spent time at bars and various
Sunday, January 13th, the four went to a bar on
same apparently happened to Barbara in the front seat.
They then decided to get rid of the sisters.
They undressed the two and dumped their bodies along
police then launched a search for the mysterious stranger, Frank.
After a description was circulated, a newspaper reporter found him in the
police thought they had the case all wrapped up.
However, later toxicology reports from Walter Camp indicated that the
sisters had died within four to six hours after having finished dinner at 7:30
PM on December 28th!
Bedwell took the stand he testified that he had been forced to sign the
confession under duress. He was
released on $20,000 bail fronted by a downstate bondsman.
On March 4, 1957, State’s Attorney Adamowski announced that charges
against Bennie Bedwell had been dismissed! Deputies
began their investigation again with renewed vigor.
few days later sheriff’s deputies found an abandoned shack about a half-mile
the case is still considered unsolved but not unsolvable.
Some 39 years after the murders of the Schuessler-Peterson, a suspect was
arrested and convicted of the crimes. The
The bodies were discovered on the Werner property.
A mailbox with the name Werner was still visible for some time, although
they moved away from the property in 1957. Mrs.
Werner became so distraught that she had to be institutionalized for a period.
Local legends soon corrupted about the Grimes girls’ house, a place
where time stood still in 1957, including an old car in the garage and a
calendar on the wall from 1957. Vandals
have hit the house a number of times over the years and electronic devices were
installed to warn the
In 2007 the first book of its kind was written by local
author Tamara Shaffer entitled Murder Gone Cold. It was published by the
Ghost Research Society Press some fifty years after the discovery of the bodies
in 1957. It was our hope that someone, still alive today, would come forward
with some information about this gruesome crime, give police a lead so that they
could finally catch the killer(s) and give the family some peace and closure.
real ghost has been seen on
several occasions a car was visible as well as the ghostly sounds and a local
resident called the
1982, Jim and Debbie Serpico, a suburban couple, and a group of their friends
parked their cars at a nearby church lot and took a Halloween walking tour of
the grounds before the house burned, just for fun. Stepping over the barricade,
they headed up the driveway toward the house, with only the moon lighting their
way. Just as they were debating whether to go inside, they heard a car
approach—a dark car with no headlights—that sped past them and disappeared
behind the house. Not sure if someone had reported them to police, as locals
often did when people visited the grounds, the group opted for a hasty exit.
They reached the road only to find the barricade still in place and a policeman
parked nearby, who assured them he had seen no car. This is only one of many
similar episodes associated with Devil’s Creek and the surrounding property
over the years.
The Ghost Research Society investigated German Church Road
on August 8, 1992. Team
members included: Howard Heim, Bill & Rochelle Zaszczurynski, Thomas Baker,
Teresa Spano, Fran and Lisa Pizano and Dale Kaczmarek
Equipment setup: There was no equipment setup as this early investigation, our group did not have the kind of equipment that we do have today. Cassette tape recorders and 35mm cameras were used.
Experiments performed: We explored the area and the foundation of the old Werner house. This was long before the current housing project, Bridal Path was built. The stone foundation and cellar was all that was left of this building, as it had been torched many years ago by arsonists. There were some interesting occult-type symbols spray-painted on the foundation and research did not indicate any known symbol or translation. The group also walked around the actual site where the bodies had been dumped near Devil's Creek.
Personal experiences: No one from the group experienced anything out of the ordinary. In fact, it was a peaceful location on a bright summer day. Looking at the area that afternoon, one would never guess that a very gruesome crime had been committed some thirty-five years ago.
Evidence collected: No evidence was collected during this investigation. The group took a number of pictures which came out perfectly normal.
Conclusions: While this area was once a site of a horrendous crime, today it is tranquil and peaceful. Even the reports of phantom cars and sounds have decreased and almost completely stopped in recent years. This might be due to the building of the new sub-division, Bridal Path. In most haunted locations, changes in the environment, structural change or a complete tear-down of a location, often replacing it with something quite different has stirred up the ghost. In this case however the building of Bridal Path has acted like a bandage or healing effect by not dwelling on the past but going forward with the future. This construction and the sheer length of time since the murders may eventually cause a complete cessation of the haunting phenomena witnessed in years gone by. We can all only hope!
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
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