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Cold Case Spotlight

Chicago Grimes Sisters’ Murders Hit 59 Years Without Answers

Monday will mark 59 years since Chicago sisters Barbara and Patricia Grimes were last seen alive.

It was just days after Christmas, December 28, 1956, when the two slipped away from the Grimes family home to see the Elvis Presley movie “Love Me Tender.” Their older sister and younger brother were to meet them at the bus stop not far away from their house after the film. But the girls never showed up.

It’s been said that what followed was one of the most labor intensive missing person cases in Cook County, Illinois history, with hundreds of police officers utilized in the search and even a plea from Elvis Presley himself asking the girls to come home.

Then on January 22nd, two frozen, naked bodies were discovered in the snow alongside a rural country road. The bodies were identified as those of Barbara, 15, and Patricia, 13. An autopsy revealed the girls most likely died within hours of their disappearance.

Police later questioned and charged a local drifter with the girls' murders after he told them he and another man beat the girls to death then dumped their bodies. The man later recanted the statements, stating he only confessed so the cops would let him go, according to ChicagoNow.com. He was never formally charged in connection with the murders.

Several others were brought in and questioned in the case in the months and years that followed, but no subsequent arrests or charges have stuck.

Although almost six decades have passed, a renewed interest in the Grimes sisters’ murders is growing, thanks in part to retired West Chicago Police Officer Ray Johnson.

Johnson, who has written several articles about the case for ChicagoNow.com, has been digging into the case since 2009 while he was researching a book about Chicago’s history.

“I thought nobody should give up on this case,” Johnson told the Chicago Tribune in 2013. Each year around the anniversary of the girls’ disappearances, Johnson publishes a new article on the case included the most recent post Saturday night.

The Facebook group “Help Solve Chicago’s Grimes Sisters’ Murder,” started by Johnson, has more than 800 members, all interested in sharing stories, tips and theories behind the infamous case.

If you have any information regarding the Grimes sisters' murders, please contact the Cook County Sheriff's Police Cold Case Unit at (708) 865-4549.