Looking for Bobbie Franks

Wolf Lake has been a convenient dumping ground for bodies for quite some time.  Some time ago I went looking for the spot where Bobby Franks’ body was found.  The murderers, who were convinced they had such unusually high IQs that they could get away with the perfect crime, kidnapped and murdered a small boy, and stuffed his body in a culvert on the north side of the lake. They were defended by the notorious evolutionist and criminal lawyer Clarence Darrow, of Inherit the Wind fame, a childhood hero of mine. Other bodies have also appeared here, the spot being isolated and convenient to anyone from Indiana or Illinois who wants be unobserved.  There were several prostitutes’ bodies found on the south end of the lake, and the body of gang leader Jeff Fort’s son found in the lake itself.

On arriving at the lake I found a pair of smashed glasses on the side of the road.  An auspicious sign.  One of Bobby Franks’ murderers dropped his glasses near the body, which led to solving the crime.  People are still dropping their glasses at this lake.  I felt sure I would get closer to discovering the truth today.


This causeway I had seen identified somewhere on the web as leading to the culvert under the railroad where the body was discovered. I had walked out on the causeway and photographed it before, but I can’t seem to find the pictures now. The little bridge looked fairly new and was not concealed at all.

But today the causeway was closed for hunting season. Far be it from me to intrude where folks are firing off bullets.

But you can see that it wouldn’t be too hard to drive out onto this causeway, if it was open. And the body was driven from the Hyde Park neighborhood just north of here, where Obama now has his mansion, and dumped from a car.

I continued to walk around the lake, to see if the road around the north end of the lake was closed for hunting as well.

It was.

But I met another person carrying a camera who was just leaving the area, and who offered the information that there was no hunting on that particular day. A retired police type person who had been a history major. Eureka.

Then I find out a very useful bit of information. the causeway didn’t exist in 1925. If the murderers were to dump the body by the railroad tracks, they could only have used the road on the north side of the lake.

I walked down the road as far as the outhouses (closed for the season), then, since the live-in park ranger happens to know me, and I thought it might be embarrassing to try to explain to him what I was doing there in a closed area, decided not to take the open road all the way to the railroad tracks.

A short path leads upward…

… to a wooded trail that parallels the lake.

Eventually the path comes out into a clearing paved with concrete, the remnants of the Nike missile bunkers from WWII post-WWII.

Finally the trail ends at the railroad tracks, the boundary between Illinois and Indiana. On some maps it looks like there is supposed to be water in this area, but you can see that although the land is low, it’s perfectly dry. Could there once have been a culvert here?

A short walk leads back to the road, now under partial cover of some trees, and a large white railroad crossing sign. The retired police officer said the culvert had been just beyond the bend in the road, where the water flowed into the lake, but no water flows now. In fact, the lake has been reversed, and now the water flows out through Indian Creek to the west. But in those days everything had been different. And there had been a racetrack circling the lake. I walk to the lake and look at the unbroken north shore of the Illinois side of the lake.


Then I follow the road into Indiana, where it divides the lake again (above). A much more interesting shoreline. Could the Chicago police have gotten over-zealous in their desire to nab the criminals, found the body on this shoreline, then moved it over the state line? Doesn’t seem likely, right? So where was the culvert, then?

Here is the Illinois side of the north shore again, this time from the shoreline looking west towards the white railroad crossing sign (above) and again from the road (below):

As I return by the lakeside road, it seems to me like I didn’t really find anything.

Until I saw these guys.



2 Responses to “Looking for Bobbie Franks”

  1. Canehan Says:

    Nike missiles in WWII ? Don’t you mean the Cold War ? Absolutely love the deer – we have then in our nearby forest in France, but they are very shy, correctly, giving the French passion for hunting which mathces that of the US.

  2. Nijma Says:

    Hmm, project started in 1944, first built in 1953, obsolete by 1965 on account of Soviet ICBMs.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_%28rocket%29

    Eeek! They had nukes. Wonder what’s the half-life of my neighborhood C-44 installation.
    http://m-epperson.home.comcast.net/~m-epperson/nike/

    The deer seemed completely unafraid of me and my camera. They let me walk all around them and I got a couple of nice videos of them grazing. I am told they are in mating season right now and the females will form herds for the winter.


Comments are closed.