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John Dillinger's Remains Will Soon Be Exhumed

Nephew gets the OK to disinter dead bank robber
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2019 1:00 PM CDT
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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.   (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Charlie Nye, File)

(Newser) – After John Dillinger was gunned down by FBI agents upon leaving a Chicago theater in 1934, thousands waited in line to see his body in a Chicago morgue; nearly 10,000 more did the same upon his body's return to Mooresville, Indiana. Now, what's left of that body will be viewed once more, though by a crowd much, much smaller. The Indianapolis Star reports Dillinger's nephew, Michael C. Thompson, filed a request with the state's Department of Health to exhume the body that was approved earlier this month. The dates on when this will happen are murky, but the body must be returned to the Crown Hill Cemetery by Sept. 16. The permit does not specify the purpose of the disinterment, reports the AP.

WTHR reports the exhumation will be managed by Light Memorial and Funeral Chapel of Monrovia; they had no comment. That exhumation could be quite the effort: The Star reports Dillinger's family had his coffin topped with 5,000 pounds of concrete to ward off grave robbers. A 2009 Star article notes that there have been some who dispute it's Dillinger who is in that coffin: His family did ID the body, but he had recently had plastic surgery; some thought Dillinger was taller than the dead man; and a barber claimed the real Dillinger had thicker hair than the deceased. (Read more John Dillinger stories.)

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