When Will the Truth Be Unearthed?

By: LAURA GIBBS
By: LAURA GIBBS

You may remember the double murder cold case that left 18-year-old Mary Jane Reed and 28-year-old Stanley Skridla dead in the summer of 1948.

Mary Jane Reed's brother Warren and former Oregon Mayor Mike Arians, who's also become emotionally attached to this double murder, have been granted by a judge to exhume Mary Jane Reed's body, but this past May a motion to intervene was filed by Ogle County Sheriff Mel Messer and the coroner.

Warren says, "Why would they want to get involved now?"

This motion to intervene is an attempt to have the exhumation process controlled by Ogle County. Ogle County state's attorney Deb Ellis says, "Someone must testify where evidence is at every moment. How can we do that if the coroner and sheriff are not involved?"

But Warren and Mike want their own team of forensic pathologists and archeologists to examine DNA evidence. It all comes down to trust. Through Mike's years of investigating he believes that a former Ogle County employee killed Mary Jane. That employee has since died.

Mike and Warren worry that if the county exhumes the body the evidence used in a trial would be tainted. Warren is not allowed to be present during the exhumation. The Ogle County state's attorney says in any homicide investigation they do not release open information to the family.

Who will lead the exhumation process is still yet to be determined. In the latest court appearance Warren and Mike decided to let their attorney Melanie Madsen go. Melanie also stated in court that she had a conflict with Mike and Warren. That conflict has not been stated publicly.

Mike Arians said, "We were advised by cold case experts to seek someone outside with more expertise in the field."

So now the two have until the end of July to come up with legal representation, just one more hurdle to cross to find the truth as to who killed Mary Jane Reed.


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