Chicago Journalists and Crime Solvers Mulroy and Goldstein Part 1

About a pair of rookie journalists Mulroy and Goldstein who scooped all the Chicago papers and solved a kidnapping murder crime in the process.



Dateline: Chicago, Ill., May 21, 1924.

By-line: James W. Mulroy and Alvin H. Goldstein. The murder was put on the front page by these cub reporters only two years out of the University of Chicago, who scooped the other Chicago papers. Then, adding insult to injury, the Woodward and Bernstein of the Roaring Twenties solved the case with dogged, intuitive investigative reporting while the police and veteran reporters plodded after them.

The Big Beat: The rise to fame of Mulroy and Goldstein, and Leopold and Loeb, began on Wednesday, May 21, 1924, when the Chicago Daily News received a tip about a kidnapping "that a Sam Ettelson knew all about." Ettelson was a confidant of the Franks family. Mulroy was sent to check out the tip, and he wheedled out of Ettelson an admission that Bobbie Franks had indeed been kidnapped. The story was not printed for fear of antagonizing the kidnappers.

The next morning Goldstein was sent to investigate a possible homicide victim found in a South Chicago drainpipe. He noticed that the horn-rimmed glasses found near the body were too big for the boy's face. He called Mulroy, who was at the Franks mansion, to see if the body fit the kidnap victim's description. Could be, said Mulroy, but the boy did not wear glasses.

Mulroy and Goldstein cajoled an uncle of Bobbie Franks to the morgue, where he identified the body. At the same time, the kidnappers called the Franks family and told the boy's father to take $10,000 to a drugstore at 1463 East 63rd Street. Flustered, Franks forgot the exact address, but before he could leave the house, another call told him his son had been murdered.

The most intensive manhunt in Chicago's history, spurred on by the newspapers and a large reward, was set up to find the killer or killers. The most improbable leads were followed up. A mystic from Kansas claimed a redheaded woman was involved in the kidnapping, so all redheaded women in the Frankses' neighborhood were questioned.

Meanwhile, Mulroy and Goldstein searched for the drugstore on 63rd Street. They had help. Richard Loeb, a neighbor of the Franks who was aiding the police investigation, chauffeured the reporters around. Loeb, 18, was intelligent-the youngest graduate of the University of Michigan at that time-cocky, and talkative. He told Goldstein. "If I was going to kill any kid, I'd pick just such a fresh little-as that Franks kid."

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