October 1, 2019 — Adrian Dekker has passed

Adrian Dekker led a long, good, and full life. He has died at age 96. And even in these last years he has remained steadfast in wanting to know who killed his sister, Mina, in 1938. At the time Adrian was 14 years old.

It has been my great honor to work with Adrian over the last 15 years through interviews, research, posting long-form interviews. I had not seen him much in the last two years, but before that I would on occasion stop in to see him and we’d talk. He loved his late wife, his daughters, and both his sisters, one taken far too soon. But he deeply wanted to know what had happened in that third floor office/storeroom in the Judd Building at 64 Ionia Street on the balmy Saturday, March 5. As far as he was concerned, Calvin DeBlaey was the perpetrator. He was almost certain. But he wasn’t positive. He thought DeBlaey had as good as confessed to then-Chief of Police, Frank J. O’Malley. Oh, the case made headlines. Adrian remembered people at the funeral coming up to Mina’s casket trying to catch a glimpse of her savaged head. Three small pieces of her skull had been dislodged in the beating with a weapon that might have been a hammer (never found). Those pieces went into evidence where I believe they remain.

The investigation has dragged on for years and decades. John Robinson, who later lead the equivalent of the major case squad, would welcome new recruits to the force with a chance to look over the file and take a whack at solving it. He believed that new eyes might see something everybody else had missed.

One of the conversations Adrian and I had dealt with the death penalty. I thought, given the circumstances, that he might be for it. He asked me my stand and I told him that I could not countenance it. Oh, sure, I thought plenty deserved it, but it went against everything I believed. To my surprise, he agreed. He was a man of peace.

It’s also my belief that while we have been looking through a glass darkly, he now knows, face to face.

Requiescat in pace old friend.

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