Dillinger’s Relatives Think They Buried the Wrong Person

John Dillinger's mugshot. (FBI)

Why John Dillinger’s Relatives Want to Exhume His Body

by Brigit Katz Smithsonian.com

After the notorious bank robber John Dillinger was shot to death by federal agents in 1934, thousands of spectators converged at his funeral, some of them swiping flowers and dirt from the grave as souvenirs. Worried that the situation might escalate to grave robbing, Dillinger’s family went to great lengths to ensure that his body remained firmly in the ground, encasing his remains under layers of concrete and iron.

So it came as a surprise when reports surfaced earlier this week that the Indiana State Department of Health had issued a permit to Dillinger’s living relatives, allowing them to exhume the criminal’s body. Though the reasons for the planned exhumation were not immediately clear, Vanessa Romo of NPR now reports that Dillinger’s niece and nephew have indicated that they suspect the body interred under Dillinger’s headstone may not belong to their outlaw uncle.

Separate affidavits signed by Mike Thompson and his sister, Carol Thompson, cite multiple pieces of “evidence” fueling their suspicions that it was not Dillinger who was gunned down outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater on July 22, 1934.

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