Erasing the Past

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We've told you the gruesome details of a double murder that took place 56 years ago. Since then the investigation has resurfaced and is now working its way through the court system.

Back in April, Ogle County Judge Stephen Pemberton granted the exhumation of Mary Jane Reed. Reed was 17 years old when she and 28-year-old Stanley Skridla were murdered. At that time the question remained who would exhume the body, Ogle County or forensic specialists hired by the Reed family?

On June 29, Judge Pemberton stated in court records that the petitioner, Ogle County, is allowed to intervene. The Reed family's lawyer at that time stated she had no objection, but now the family has a new lawyer, Jeffrey Hammerlund, who wants to strike her response from the record. He says that was not in the best interest of the family.

Hammerlund says, "I want to remove the answer and instead file a petition to dismiss the petition to intervene since it wasn't filed in a timely fashion."

Ogle County State's Attorney Deborah Ellis tells 23 News, "The importance of our judicial system is paramount. People need to depend on the order of the court."

Both sides’ arguments are now being review by Judge Pemberton to decide if the past will be erased from the record, but the past is still being dug up by the Reed family's lead investigator and former Oregon Mayor Mike Arians.

Arians is trying to find Mary Jane's killer. Through his years of research he has uncovered some overwhelming evidence that Mary Jane's head is not buried with her.

Arians tells 23 News, "We have a photograph and eyewitness who was there during her autopsy to bring me to that conclusion."

In the future Mike says he has more to reveal about the incidents that took place in the summer of 1948. A decision is expected to be made by October 29. Then the two sides will know how to proceed.