The grave of John Dillinger is set to be exhumed at the end of this year. Dillinger’s nephew has obtained a permit from the Indiana Department of Health to open the notorious gangster’s grave in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana. Crown Hill Cemetery has opposed opening the grave.
Dillinger led the Dillinger Gang, which was accused of carrying out a string of bank robberies. He was described as “Public Enemy No.1” in the 1930s and a $10,000 bounty was placed on his head. He reportedly was shot by FBI agents outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater on July 22, 1934.
Dillinger’s nephew Michael Thompson believes the grave holds the remains of a person who is not his uncle. He claims that there is evidence that the person interred in the grave does not match Dillinger’s eye color, fingerprints, anterior teeth, ears, and head shape. Thompson wrote in the documents: “It is my belief and opinion that, if the FBI killed the wrong man outside the Biograph Theater, it is also important to identify the man in the grave at Crown Hill Cemetery.”
Dillinger’s niece, Carol Thompson, also submitted documents casting doubt on the official story. In her affidavit, she says that she’s seen evidence that the man shot by the FBI was someone other than her uncle. The FBI disputes their claims, saying that there is “a wealth of information” available on their website supporting their story of Dillinger’s demise.
The permit from the Indiana State Department of Health allows Thompson to disinter the grave underneath Dillinger’s headstone on December 31, 2019, with reinterment of the remains to follow on the same day. There are plans to analyze the body to determine if it truly belongs to Dillinger. The cemetery opposed the exhumation, saying that it might “cause disruption to the peaceful tranquility of the Cemetery.”