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Exhumation Might Bring Closure To Double Murder Case After 67 Years

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Officials have exhumed the body of a man who was slain along with a teenage girl nearly 70 years ago in the small town of Oregon, Illinois, and a man who has spent 17 years investigating the murders hopes forensic tests will help close the case.

Mike Arians, the former mayor of Oregon – located about 100 miles west of Chicago – said three bullets were removed from the body of Navy veteran Stanley Skridla, and there was evidence his head had been set on fire.

"I don't think he died quick enough for whoever it was that was trying to kill him at the time," Arians said.

Skridla's body was intact, unlike the body of the other victim of the so-called Lovers' Lane Murders in 1948. Mary Jane Reed's body was exhumed 10 years ago. It turned out it had been buried with a head that didn't match.

A reinvestigation by the Ogle County Sheriff found the initial case was mishandled. It has long been rumored a now dead police officer was having an affair with Reed, and killed her. Another theory was two now-dead brothers were responsible.

The case has been something of an obsession for Arians for 17 years.

"It should be a closed case, even though it is 67 years old," he said.


Arians said he has located two guns from the time of the killings.

"I would have to think that we're over the hump after 67 years," he said.

He said he hopes the bullets pulled from Skridla's body will be matched with one of the guns.

"The individuals who own the guns state that they believe that they were used in a crime," he said.

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