IA IA - Rose Marie Grandanette, 33, Windsor Heightss, 14 September 1958

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Snick1946, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    I am keeping a promise to myself by posting this story. I grew up in Des Moines and was just a few years old when this happened. My family talked about it for years after. The Town and Country market was on a corner three blocks from our home, I used to go in there to buy pop and baseball cards. The county Sheriff mentioned, Wilbur Hildreth, was a friend of my dad's. So far as I know it has not been posted on this forum, apologies if it has. Anyway here's the link:

    http://iowacoldcases.org/rose_grandanette.html

    I remember opinion being split. Almost no one believed the robbery story. Most felt it was either a hit by local crime figures trying to muscle in on the business or a hit to eliminate the wife. I tend to think the former, everyone sort of clammed up afterward. Any comments welcome.
     
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  3. GetSmart

    GetSmart New Member

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    In early February 1977, tragedy struck the family again when Rose’s and Bernie’s 25-year-old son Joseph Grandanette died of smoke inhalation and suffocation in a fire which started in a basement workroom at his father’s 3124 Beaver Avenue home. Bernie Grandanette’s second wife Ila died in 2002 and he passed away in Des Moines on Valentine’s Day of 2006.


    This is some kind of something ... I find the above coupled with the past history in the grocery robberies and stuff just plain weird. This case would be good one to sleuth. They were really a prominent family..
    Roslynne Marie and Victoria Annwere the other 2 children I wonder what became of them?
     
  4. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    By 1977 I was no longer living in the area so until now I didn't know about the son's mysterious death. Could he have been poking around in dangerous areas about his mom's murder?
    Hildreth allegedly made a comment that this crime was 'a (ethnic slur) thing.' So I think he bought into it being mob related. Not long after the killings the store was demolished and a 'Henry's' drive in was built there. I didn't knowm until reading this article that the Grandanettes had a local interest in that chain. Growing up there I never heard much about organized crime in DM. There was one family reputed to be running what little there was but the whole thing was pretty small potatos.
    Incidently if a moderator feels this thread belongs elsewhere feel free to move it, I couldn't find an exact fit for it.
     
  5. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    Did some Googling; as of about 2004 there looks to have been a Joseph Grandanette who was a member of the Iowa legislature. I wonder if he is a grandson?
     
  6. Cubby

    Cubby fly the W!

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    Was the 77 fire ruled accidental or arson? It may or may not have anything to do with the crime against Rose.

    I wonder why the husband and his brother? denied a possible connection to be muscled by 'organized crime' in the grocery business. Perhaps too afraid as the children would be orphans if they lost another parent? I'd bet someone knows... if it was organized crime some of that info stays within certain circles but stories get passed down. It would be interesting to know the answers since Italian organized crime isn't what it used to be today.

    jmo
     
  7. Fukiyama

    Fukiyama Member

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    From the article:

    Westernmost Des Moines... Heh.
     
  8. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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  9. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    Thanks for the link on the Mafia in Iowa, this is a lot more than I ever knew about. I had heard of Lew Farrell but assumed he had limited reach and was a small city hood. Apparently he was well connected; one other source I found indicated he may have escaped from the raid on the big meeting in upstate NY in 1957- he was a big player.
    You have to wonder if Rose's husband ran afoul of him somehow. Maybe refusing to buy wholesale from his liquor company or otherwise play ball with the boys as expected. Then Mr G was fearful for his kids if he talked. Before I ran across the Iowa cold cases article I had vaguely felt this may have been a disguised hit on Rose for insurance money or to free things up so he could remarry. He did, but not immediately.
    The timing was interesting. I think it was just a month before that Farrell testified before the Congressional committee. Things may have been getting hot back home and maybe he felt Mr G was going to spill something. Killing his wife as a warning might give them leverage over him by threatening the kids. If so, it worked.
    I don't remember much about Mr G or his brother but am sure I must have seen them in the store. For its time it was a good sized place, not a little mom and pop operation.
     
  10. GetSmart

    GetSmart New Member

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    "Maybe refusing to buy wholesale from his liquor company or otherwise play ball with the boys as expected. Then Mr G was fearful for his kids if he talked."

    It smells like mob ...sounds like mob...

    Thanks for article..I never would have put the mob and Iowa in the same sentence together
    Farrell testifying is a big dot to me.
    I am going to do some reading tonight...

    GOOD CATCH SNICK
    "Joseph Grandanette who was a member of the Iowa legislature. I wonder if he is a grandson?"
     
  11. joejs89

    joejs89 New Member

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    Did the Mob normally go after the wives of those they wished to muscle? I lived in Des Moines and remember Wilbur Hildreth, the Polk County Sheriff. The paper published the same picture of him in every story; him in his ten gallon cowboy hat. If I'm not mistaken he died in office.
     

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