Body of notorious 1930s gangster John Dillinger will be exhumed from two-tonne concrete grave under mysterious circumstances

THE body of notorious 1930s gangster John Dillinger will be exhumed from his two-tonne concrete grave – under mysterious circumstances.

Dillinger – played by Johnny Depp in the 2009 film Public Enemies – was shot dead aged 31 by FBI agents after a string of violent robberies.

AP:Associated Press

Notorious 1930’s gangster John Dillinger was shot dead by the FBI after leading a string of bloody bank heists across the US Midwest[/caption]

Getty – Contributor

Dillinger was buried under two tonnes of concrete at a cemetery in Indianapolis – but his body is set to be exhumed[/caption]

He had twice escaped jail while his gang toured the US Midwest carrying out a series of bloody bank heists in the 1930s that left 10 people dead.

It’s believed the exhumation – scheduled for September – could resolve conspiracy theories that claim the body buried at the Indianapolis cemetery is not his.

One theory suggests Dillinger’s family tricked the FBI into shooting the wrong man.

On July 3 the Indiana State Department of Health approved a permit sought by Dillinger’s relatives, it emerged last night.

His nephew Michael C Thompson requested to have the body exhumed from Crown Hill Cemetery and re-interred there.


But mysteriously, the permit doesn’t give a reason for the request – and Thompson has not commented.

And Crown Hill Cemetery has no information about the plans.

Jeni O’Malley, a spokeswoman for the Indiana health department, said the body will be exhumed and re-interred on September 16.

But digging up Dillinger’s grave might prove a difficult task.

Days after his funeral, the gangster’s father had the casket reburied under a cap of concrete and scrap iron topped by four reinforced-concrete slabs.

Corbis – Getty

Dillinger was once America’s most wanted man after being blamed for the deaths of 10 people in a series of bank heists[/caption]

Getty – Contributor

Dillinger was shot dead after being betrayed by a woman who became known as the ‘Lady in Red’[/caption]

Corbis – Getty

The gangster was gunned down outside the Biograph theatre in Chicago in July 1934[/caption]

Corbis – Getty

Dillinger’s body was buried under two tonnes of concrete – but some of his family have claimed that the FBI were tricked into shooting the wrong man[/caption]


Susan Sutton, a historian with the Indiana Historical Society, said: “I think they’re going to have a hard time getting through that.”

She added that the reason given for the concrete tomb was to protect Dillinger’s grave from grave-robbers.

Sutton said: “The main fear was that someone would come in and dig up the grave and either desecrate the corpse or steal it.

“The Dillingers had actually been offered money to ‘lend out’ his body for exhibits, so they were concerned.”


The Indianapolis-born Dillinger was one of America’s most notorious criminals – who some considered a hero during the Great Depression.

Dillinger was never convicted of murder and he was lauded by some for robbing banks – who had seized many poor Americans’ homes and farms during the period.

Sutton said: “Somebody who had, as maybe people would say now, ‘Stuck it to the banker’ would easily become a folk hero.

“He was also known by some people to be very polite even while he was stealing.

“It’s an odd combination.”

Dillinger was awaiting trial in the slaying of an East Chicago police officer when he escaped from jail in Crown Point, Indiana, in March 1934 with a gun carved out of wood.

While on the run, he underwent plastic surgery to alter his face and was said to have tried to remove his fingerprints with acid.

But he was fatally shot in July 1934 by FBI agents outside a Chicago theatre after he was betrayed by a woman who became known in the papers as the “Lady in Red.”


Johnny Depp played John Dillinger in the 2009 film Public Enemies[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

Dillinger led a notorious gang of robbers – but was hailed by some as a folk hero taking on the greedy banks in Depression-era America[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

John Dillinger, right, posing with the prosecutor of Lake County, Indiana, Robert Estill, and Sherriff Lillian Holley, left, at the Crown Point, Indiana. He escaped from that jail using a gun carved from wood[/caption]


Dillinger underwent plastic surgery to alter his appearance and was said to have burned his fingerprints off with acid[/caption]

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