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Family member of John Dillinger sues Crown Hill as he seeks to exhume remains

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Family of the late John Dillinger have filed a lawsuit asking a court to order Crown Hill Cemetery to not interfere with the exhumation of the late gangster’s remains.

Michael Thompson, who is listed as Dillinger’s nephew, argues that Crown Hill should allow him and his family to remove the remains, citing a permit approved by the Indiana State Department of Health in July.

Family wants to find out if Dillinger is actually the person buried in the plot with his name on it. The History Channel says it also plans to report on the exhumation during a documentary that’s in the works.

“Thompson has sound reason to believe the individual buried in Crown Hill in Lot 94 Section 44 may have been misidentified as his uncle at the time of death and burial, and therefore seeks to disinter the remains in order to confirm his identity by forensic scientific examinations,” says the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in Marion Superior Court.

Thompson claims Crown Hill changed its mind about exhuming Dillinger once the permit was approved.

In a statement sent to CBS4 on Wednesday, Crown Hill said it objects to the exhumation of Dillinger and claims that not all relatives of the notorious criminal agree with exhuming his body.

“Crown Hill objects to the exhumation of John Dillinger. We have a duty to the families we serve to ensure the safety and integrity of the Cemetery which is threatened by the proposed exhumation. We also have concerns that the complex and commercial nature of this exhumation could cause disruption to the peaceful tranquility of the Cemetery and those who are visiting to remember their loved ones. Additionally, we received notice that not all of Mr. Dillinger’s next of kin agree with the exhumation. We honor the trust placed in us to protect all individuals in our care, and to protect the interests of those who cannot speak for themselves.”

The lawsuit says Thompson hopes to have the remains exhumed on or around Sept. 16, or before the ground becomes frozen in late 2019.

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