Dillinger exhumation explained in Health Department documents

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Recently released documents have shed some light on the reason behind the exhumation of notorious bank robber John Dillinger.

According to the Department of Health, Dillinger’s family members signed affidavits requesting the exhumation, saying they had reason to doubt that the man shot at the Biograph Theater in Chicago in 1934 may not have been Dillinger.

“Evidence includes the non-match of his eye color, the ear shape and protrusion from the head, the fingerprints not matching, the existence of a heart condition, and the apparent non-match of anterior teeth,” according to the court documents.

American gangster John Dillinger (1903 - 1934) with a group of friends. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Dillinger’s family wants to know if Dillinger lived past July 22, 1934, and, if he wasn’t killed on that date, they want to know who’s buried in his grave at Crown Hill.

The process will involve removing the body and taking it to a forensic laboratory for analysis. A bone or bones may be removed for DNA testing and the remains will be photographed and videotaped during the examination.

“There should be plenty of material left for to do DNA analysis to compare to the family, and determine if it is in fact Dillinger," said Doug Kouns a former FBI agent who runs his owned private investigation firmed called Veracity IIR, “There should be plenty of hair, bones, nails, skin, it will all be dried up."

Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation hit back at the reason behind Dillinger’s exhumation, dismissing speculation that a stand-in was killed instead of Dillinger as “a conspiracy theory.”

On Twitter, the FBI’s Chicago Office said a wealth of information supports Dillinger’s demise in 1934, including three sets of fingerprints that provided positive matches.

“85 years ago technology wasn't as good as it is now, but finger print science wasn’t new science. It’s still very accurate," Kouns defended.

The FBI also posted photos of Dillinger’s Colt .380 and his death mask, saying it’s a “common myth” that a stand-in died instead of Dillinger.

“People generally love a good conspiracy theory, perhaps this will put that to rest," Kouns said.

Dillinger’s exhumation has been confirmed as part of an upcoming History Channel documentary.  Documents indicate it’s set to take place on September 16, although a spokesman for the History Channel said the date is flexible.

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