In the summer of 2011, I began work on a book about a murder mystery in my immediate family. It’s a strange story that no one in the family talked about for nearly seventy years…
Back in 2001, my Grandpa Chuck and his sister Barbara decided to investigate rumors they’d been hearing about their father. An aunt got wind of what they were up to and revealed that she had saved boxes of newspapers from the time. They began to read the yellowed, mouse-bitten sheets and discovered some familiar names.
In 1931, long before Chuck and Barbara were born, my Great-Grandfather Loren (their father) had been involved in one of the greatest unsolved murder mysteries in Ohio’s history.
Chuck and Barbara’s Uncle Earl (who they never knew) and his friend Thelma had been murdered on Memorial Day weekend. They left from a dance on Saturday night and were never seen again. The next morning, Earl’s car was found by the old rock quarry, a pit filled in with 70+ feet of water. The surrounding area was searched, but no bodies were found. A county-wide hunt for Earl and Thelma began. This included slowly pumping millions of gallons of water out of the quarry.
Two weeks after their disappearance, and after days of non-stop pumping of water out of the quarry, Thelma’s body was uncovered. She had been tied around the waist with rope and weighted down with rocks. A week later, Earl was found also tied and weighted in the same manner.
In the weeks that elapsed between the discovery of the car and the eventual discovery of the bodies in the quarry, a human drama was being played out in the communities of Lima and Elida, Ohio. Two bright and upstanding young people had been taken from them. The mourning would never end.
Though the communities cried out for justice, the sheriff had virtually no physical evidence and no real leads to go on. The case quickly went cold.
And it remained so, until about a year later when the papers suddenly announced that a confession had been given in the Quarry Murders case: Loren Truesdale, brother of Earl (and later father to Chuck and Barbara), had confessed to the crime.
So he went on trial for his life. Due to some interesting circumstances, Loren would actually go through two trials, the first one being declared a mistrial.
In the end, Loren was acquitted of his brother’s murder and the case officially went cold. No one has ever solved the Quarry Murders.
Blog Posts about the Quarry Murders
A Big Announcement (12 May 2011)
Beginnings (17 June 2011)
Research Begins… and a 35-cent baked potato (28 June 2011)
How Are You Going to Write That? (10 July 2011)
Do you suffer from “juvenile delinquency”? (18 July 2011)
Odd Ones Out (20 July 2011)
Writing a la Monty Python (30 July 2011)
My Tour of Lima, Ohio: Introduction (10 August 2011)
My Tour of Lima, Ohio: Allen County Courthouse (10 August 2011)
My Tour of Lima, Ohio: The Stone Quarry (12 August 2011)
My Tour of Lima, Ohio: Earl Truesdale’s Gravesite (14 August 2011)
McCullough’s Lake Park (18 August 2011)