Most ‘cold cases’ remain just that, cold. The files sit in some unknown location and gather dust. As each year passes, the information in the files becomes less and less important. New crimes are the ones than get the attention. Very occasionally though, something that is decades old hits the forefront once again.

There are a plethora of TV programs about crime, and some of them even delve into the idea of solving these ‘cold cases’. The plot often involves re-examining old evidence and finding a new twist. While these shows are undoubtedly popular, they really do not reflect the real world.

Through some convoluted process I heard about the 1981 double homicide in Lakemoor, Illinois. A bar owner and his bar maid were found dead from gun shots. There seemed little reason for this action, and indeed the police in the area seemed to quickly bury the case.

What brought this story back from the dusty files was a book. A book that was a biography, the names had been changed, the location had been changed. Yet to one reader, Holly Hager, the story was one that she understood. The book in question was written by Dennis Griffin and Frank Cullotta, it details Frank Cullotta’s life as a member of Chicago’s underworld, and also his subsequent life in the witness protection system. Cullotta is well worth a read.

One page, caught sleuth Holly Hager’s attention, I believe it was page 130. Holly was well aware of the crime, her parents were good friends with the the Scharff family. In fact for a short period of time her father was considered a suspect.

There are more twists and turns in this case than an Alpine Switchback.

I managed to get Paul Scharff, Holly Hager, and author Dennis Griffin to join me on the radio. Feeling slightly out numbered I dragged my good friend Mondo from into the fray.

To say the least it was a lively discussion. You can listen to the show here.

Simon Barrett

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