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John Dillinger killed, or was it our neighbor's son?

Updated on September 15, 2012

Back in the 1960s, we had a neighbor, Mrs. Osborne. My dad would do small errands for her because she couldn't get around well. She was an elderly woman who lived alone. She asked dad one time to take a look at some old pictures she had.

Dad looked at the pictures and asked her if she was related to the famous bank robber, John Dillinger? She just smiled and said,"No, that is my son....he has been missing since July of 1934." She told dad that her son had been arrested twice because he looked so much like the infamous criminal.

Her son had also pretended a few times with the ladies to get attention. The last she saw of her son was in June of 1934. He went to Chicago on a business trip and told his mother that he would be gone a few weeks. She claimed that he would always send postcards from the hotels he stayed at. She told dad that her son would always write her...always!

She stated that after July, the postcards never came again. Her son never came home. He disappeared from the face of the earth. She contacted the local police and wrote the FBI. The police pretty much ignored her and the FBI never responded.

Her son was in his mid 30s when he disappeared. He always wore a suit and a nice fedora hat. I wish I could remember more details about the story. I was only six years old when we lived across from Mrs. Osborne. Dad would talk about her many times throughout the years. He always spoke of how much the pictures of her son looked like John Dillinger.

All I can remember of her is a red and gray dress she wore while watering her flowers.

Was it her son that the FBI killed that day? Was she just a victim of timing and her son never returned for an unknown reason? She shared the story with my dad and my dad shared it with me. Brookville Indiana is where we lived at the time. Mrs. Osborne will always be in my memories.

Such a lonesome feeling when I think of her....very lonesome.

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    • profile image

      ralwus 7 years ago

      Cool hub Tom. I though John was from out west some where. Poor Mr.s Osborne. Still a mystery then.

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      ralwus...still a mystery.....one of those strange things of life. Thanks. :)

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 7 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Talk about piqueing the reader's interest! Fascinating story with a bit of a melancholic tone.

    • profile image

      ralwus 7 years ago

      I like mysteries myself. We should investigate this further. I won't be able to sleep now.

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      Dink96...thanks....it is one of those stories that I really wish I had more to write about. I just can't remember much more than what my dad had told me.

      Thanks again.

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      ralwus....there were rumors that the FBI made a deal with Dillinger and sent him to South America. Other rumors said that he had plastic surgery and lived in California. Who knows?

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Ooooh a mystery!!! My first thot is a mother never wants to know the truth. This could be it, but the history of the "names being different" would be good to research. Thanks Tom!

    • lafenty profile image

      lafenty 7 years ago from California

      Interesting story. Guess she never knew for sure what happened to him.

    • profile image

      ralwus 7 years ago

      The woman in the red dress knew. I must leave now as Wee One wants to do her thing on here. See ya later T.

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Wow, a mystery! It would be great to be able to research the name. But wow, wouldn't it be amazing to think it's his mom!

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      Candie....I've done a little research on it....there were just so many rumors at the time. Mrs. Osborne's story is defiantely real tho. Thanks! :)

      lafenty....she hadn't heard from him in 30 years....that's a long time without contact. thanks! :)

      ralwus....yes...she would have known unless the man she was with was lying to her. Thanks...see ya! :)

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      Candie...LOL...her son only looked like Dillinger....she thought they killed her son instead of Dillinger. :)

    • profile image

      Janetta 7 years ago

      whoa...very cool and eerie. I think you start clue hunting. You could be like Nancy Drew! Or wait, I mean the Hardy Boys ;)

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      Janetta...LOL...I prefer Sherlock Holmes. :)

    • fortunerep profile image

      fortunerep 7 years ago from North Carolina

      That just goes to show that you never know who your neighbors are!

      dori

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      fortunrep.....nope.....thanks for dropping by! :)

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

      How exciting. Loved the story. Kinda makes you think. :)

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 7 years ago

      This sounds like a mystery for one of the network news magazines. Maybe they could dig more into it. There must be records of what her son did for a living and what his business would have been in Chicago. Really cool stuff.

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      Paper Moon......Thanks......it does make you think. :)

      Pete....I have tried to do some research on it. Being the 1930s, there isn't much information. There were so many rumors and conspiracy theories back then. I wish I could remember more about her. Thanks! :)

    • profile image

      nazishnasim 7 years ago

      Maybe both of them were her sons; identical twins!

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      nazishnasim.....Her family history may show a similar bloodline? Thanks. :)

    • R. Blue profile image

      R. Blue 7 years ago from Right here

      Dig him up and do DNA test!!! Grab yer shovel Tom.....we're on a mission.

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      R. Blue...LOL...that would definitely do it! I think we should rent a back hoe !Thanks! :)

    • Ginn Navarre profile image

      Ginn Navarre 7 years ago

      Wow, this is my kind of story--I love the open-end. Mystery's or any other kind of stories that have a "happy-ever-after" are nice but I leave them for the fairy-tales, this type of story makes you THINK AND REMEMBER.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Really interesting Tom. Some kind of mystery. I wonder????

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Fascinating. A real life mystery. Thanks for revealing this to us. It is sad but intriguing.

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      Ginn......yes....this is one of those open end mysteries....thanks! :)

      alekhouse......thanks.....I wonder too. :)

      Storytellersrus......thanks......it is sad...her son was gone and no authority would listen.

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

      Maybe the authorities were on a cover up, she must have waited for that postman all her life.

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      Hawkesdream...thanks....You're probably right.....she waited till she died.

    • advisor4qb profile image

      advisor4qb 7 years ago from On New Footing

      There used to be a girl here in town that looked just like me. A doppelganger, maybe?

    • Tom Cornett profile image
      Author

      Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

      LOL......Good thing she wasn't public enemy no. 1. :)

    • profile image

      paul 6 years ago

      john dillinger was the best thing that ever happened to america

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