Local Cold Case

By: Alan Jones
By: Alan Jones

There are still questions being asked in a double murder cold case that occurred in Oregon, in Ogle County. The victims are a 17-year-old girl and a 28-year-old former sailor. The time this all took place, the summer of 1948.

Mary Jane Reed was a 17-year-old telephone operator in Oregon that late June 56 years ago. Twenty-eight-year old Stanley Skridla worked as a lineman for the phone company in Rockford. They had talked on the phone often, had met once before and the two were on their first date.

Apparently there was some hint of trouble because Mary Jane called Stanley to warn him about something she heard and to stay away, but he came to Oregon from Rockford anyway.

Former Oregon Mayor and murder investigator, Mike Arians, says, “The following day they found Stanley's car across the street from the Stenhouse and his body in a ditch off of county farm road. Mary Jane's body was discovered three or four days later.”

Both had been shot numerous times, but the questions remain. Who shot Mary Jane and Stanley and why? Arians believes it centers around jealous men in town who didn't like some stranger dating one of their own, but he also has other questions.

Arians says, “I don't believe that a shot to the back of the was the cause of death. I think it was done to imitate a gangland slaying.”

Arians says the investigation was as good as any in 1948. Ogle County Police simply didn't have access to a lot of technology, but police in 2004 do, so Mike Arians and Mary Jane Reed's brother, Warren, want her body to be exhumed.

Arians became interested in Mary Jane Reed's case as Mayor and created the Mary Jane Reed foundation. That foundation is dedicated to solving the crime and aiding battered women. Ogle County Judge Stephen Pemberton is expected to rule on the exhumation request on Tuesday, April 6, 2004.


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