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Brach case opens door to 3 other unsolved slayings

Brach case opens door to 3 other unsolved slayings

CHICAGO - Nearly 40 years ago, police recovered the beaten bodies of three

boys from a ditch. It was a crime that shocked the city, and the killer never

saw justice.

Now, another long-standing mystery - the disappearance and murder of candy

heiress Helen Vorhees Brach nearly 17 years ago - is helping to crack that and

several other mysteries, sources said Wednesday.

"While interviewing people, we did get an offshoot investigation leading us

into several other areas," said Jerry Singer, a spokesman for the Bureau of

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Although Singer and other federal investigators refused to discuss how

specific cases related to the Brach investigation, sources close to the case

said the trail has led to some of Chicago's most notorious unsolved crimes.

The Brach investigation culminated in a 29-count indictment last week

against her former boyfriend Richard Bailey, who is charged with defrauding the

65-year-old candy heiress and later soliciting her murder after she found out

too much.

Prosecutors said Bailey defrauded Brach by selling her "virtually worthless"

show horses for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Twenty-two other people were

indicted for other schemes, some of which included killing horses for insurance

money.

During the investigation into the underbelly of the horse industry,

authorities found witnesses and evidence in the other unsolved cases, sources

said.

A suspect could be arrested soon in the 1955 slayings of Robert Peterson,

14, and brothers John and Anton Schuessler, ages 13 and 11, a source said. The

suspect, now in his 60s, still is involved in the horse industry.

The killings rocked a city unaccustomed to such violence. Residents

contributed rewards totalling $130,000. Mothers kept their children inside

their homes. Police interviewed 43,270 people, but no arrests were made.

Investigators believed Peterson and the Schuessler brothers had sought

shelter in a stable, where they were abused and killed. The suspect is believed

to be a former employee of horse owner Silas Jayne, who would later become an

associate of Bailey's.

Jayne is linked with at least one other unsolved murder: The 1965 car bomb

explosion that killed rider Cheryl Lynn Rude.

Rude was killed as she tried to start up a Cadillac owned by Silas Jayne's

brother, George. Charges against Silas Jayne were dropped after a key witness

backed out of the case.

Silas Jayne, who died of leukemia in 1987, was eventually convicted in

connection with his brother's death in 1971.

The Brach investigation has uncovered leads in other cases as well,

according to sources quoted by a Chicago newspaper. They include:

-- The 1956 slayings of sisters Barbara and Patricia Grimes, who were last

seen on their way to an Elvis Presley movie. Their bodies were found on a

desolate county road near the Cook-DuPage county lines.

-- The 1966 disappearances of Ann Miller, Patricia Blough and Renee Bruhl

from Indiana Dunes State Park.

-- And the 1968 ambush of Cook County Sheriff's Police Officer Ralph Probst,

who was shot through his kitchen window in suburban Hometown.

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