Famous Unsolved Crimes Valerie Percy Case Part 1

About a famous unsolved crime involving the murder of Valerie Percy, history of the investigation, clues, and unanswered questions.


Valerie Percy Case (1966)

The Crime: Immersed in the senatorial campaign of 1966, the residents of the Charles H. Percy estate on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago's elegant suburb of Kenilworth gave little thought to the possibility of an illegal intruder. The way he entered the 17-room mansion was later obvious. He sliced through a screen and cut a pane from the French door to the music room. Then he climbed to the second floor and entered the room where one of Percy's daughters, a 21-year-old twin, was sleeping. Did he make a noise that wakened her? That isn't known with absolute certainty to this day. What is known is that he bashed in the left side of her skull and stabbed her in both breasts, in the neck, twice in the stomach, above the left eye, and in the left cheek, temple, and ear.

The girl managed a long moan, that early morning of Sept. 18, which brought Percy's wife running to the room. The intruder shone his flashlight in the woman's eyes, and as she stood blinded by the light and frozen in horror, he fled. Finally Mrs. Percy screamed, and millionaire Percy woke up and rushed to the room. Too late. Honey-blonde Valerie was dying.

The Investigation: The murder took place in a community that was not used to violent crimes. Suburban Kenilworth led Chicago's 175 suburban communities in median family income ($22,800 a year at the time) and years of schooling (15.3), and it had two churches and no saloons. The village's 11-man police force was more used to investigating hubcap thefts than murder. Therefore, they were augmented by technicians from Chicago's famed crime lab, Cook County investigators, and FBI agents. The doctor who pronounced Valerie dead said, "I am convinced there is some sexual motivation." However, there was no evidence that even indicated whether the killer was a man or a woman. By week's end 150 persons had been questioned, but none was counted a prime suspect.

The Clues: Over the next seven years the list of those questioned grew to 14,000, and 1,317 leads were checked out. Nineteen confessions--all false--were obtained. Number 19 came from a 27-year-old man in Miami who, for good measure, admitted eliminating John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King.

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