I was 7 1/2 at the time of Judith Mae Andersen’s murder, and living on the South Side of Chicago. I remember the adults being very upset, this murder following the murders of the Grimes sisters and the Schuessler/Peterson boys.
In the early ’90s, while working as an RN in a Chicago suburban hospital, I had a patient named Ralph Andersen. When he saw my name tag, JUDY, it must have opened a floodgate of emotions, for he was Judith Mae’s father. He talked about the night she disappeared, and how he identified her by the severed head. He had insisted on identifying her so that his wife would be spared.
He spoke of his daughter in a loving way. I seem to remember the way he talked about her, that she was a spirited girl, and when warned by her parents to stay out of the alley, she would dismiss the parental fears.
The most chilling thing he told me was that he knew who the murderer was, but couldn’t prove it, and never divulged that name. He would periodically cry while telling me this gruesome story. I felt so angry for him and wished I could have helped him in some way. It was clear that this tragedy had torn this family in two.
–Thanks so much for sharing. This is one of the most tragic stories I know from the 1950s.