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MO MO - Lydia Judd Bonham, 82, Polk County, 30 June 1985

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Molly's Mom, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Molly's Mom

    Molly's Mom New Member

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    Lydia Judd Bonham was discovered dead in her home on a Sunday morning in June 1985. For 30 years, this case has been shoved aside without a second thought. I came across it while reading "Missing or Murdered in Missouri: Unsolved and Solved Cases" by Barbara Kemm Highton. This case disturbs me to no end. I have questioned the local coroner who was actually working for the sheriff's department at the time and he says the crime scene was fairly disturbed when people trampled into the house after finding Lydia's body.

    After 30 years, Lydia deserves justice. She has no family to take on this cause. No children. Her siblings passed away before she did. Her property was apparently willed to the family that discovered her (interestingly enough). I don't know where I can legally start but I just have this nagging need to do something.

    At the bottom of this list of Polk County, Missouri, Coroner's Inquests you'll see Lydia's inquest. Pages 1-6 of her autopsy report are missing. Only 7 is available.
    http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mopolkgs/fa-coroner1934-85.htm

    Could someone help point me in the right direction?
     
  2. Molly's Mom

    Molly's Mom New Member

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  3. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    Was just reading about this murder in the Missing or Murdered in Missouri book. This case seems it should have been easy to solve, but something went wrong.
    The quote from the Bolivar, MO newspaper article at the link above is odd - the Sheriff back then said he thinks he could solve the murder if he could just figure out the motive? That means he has some kind of evidence to prove who did it and how. He doesn't think he can prove why? That's bizarre, just ridiculous.

    I wonder if they kept the evidence or destroyed it? Really sad and disrespectful to Ms. Bonham that local LE keeps hiding information. Just because she was a widow with no other relatives to push for closure doesn't mean it shouldn't be resolved.

    Anyone want to contact Polk Co, MO LE and ask if they still have the evidence and files from her case?

    ETA: I loved the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, still do. Here's a link to their album cover with Lydia's photo on the front

    MI0002087259.jpg

    http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0002/087/MI0002087259.jpg?partner=allrovi.com
     
  4. Molly's Mom

    Molly's Mom New Member

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    I've tried to get the sheriff's department to respond and they ignore me.

    And, yes, this case should have been easy. I have a couple thoughts on who could have committed this crime. I think it wasn't pursued because Lydia had no family to push the case.
     
  5. Mom24

    Mom24 Well-Known Member

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    I found an article in the Mt. Vernon Register out of Mt. Vernon Illinois July 11, 1952:
    "Chester C Judd left Wednesday for Boliver, MO where he expects to make his home with his daughter, Mrs. Lydia Judd Bonham. He will visit relatives in Belleville and East St. Louis en route. " So at some point her father moved in with her. I'm sure he was long gone by 1985. Looks like she was in a musical group? And she was married, what happened to her husband?
     
  6. Mom24

    Mom24 Well-Known Member

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  7. Mom24

    Mom24 Well-Known Member

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    More information here: https://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=27471105 with a set of pictures, one taken a couple of years before her murder. Someone also posted on that site this:
    Lydia L. Judd Bonham
    Hi, Luanne,

    I was hoping you could tell me about Lydia Bonham. I was 13 when she was killed, but I always called her "Aunt Lydia". I don't exactly know if we were actually related or not; I guess my family was kind of quiet about the circumstances of her death and everything else afterward, but I do remember her on the cover of a 70s album and always wondered what happened to her, who she was, etc. I probably only met her a couple of times, but I guess she left an impression. Please let me know, and thanks for sharing those photos. I remember the one of her and Jackie, but I hadn't seen it since I was 9 or 10.

    Steve Mann
    Stephen_s_mann@hotmail.com
    Added by Steve Mann on Sep 10, 2011 2:53 PM

    They might be someone you could contact for further information.
     
  8. Mom24

    Mom24 Well-Known Member

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  9. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    Maybe if we all sent them an email, it would help. We could also see about getting local news media coverage, too. Springfield, MO news media are familiar with her sad story.

    According to the book I read, it was believed a local young man who had severe mental illness killed her. IIRC, he was related to some local influential family, so the case was allowed to go cold. Supposedly, the young man later died, but perhaps we should look into that.
     
  10. Mom24

    Mom24 Well-Known Member

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    Given that she didn't take her rifle with her to the door, could she have been expecting a visitor? She got off the phone at 10pm, that's kind of late for a visitor. You have to wonder if someone was already there? Someone who was going to help her with the mowing the next day? I know LE felt she knew who came to the door and that she died soon after that phone call, but if you're an older lady who routinely meets people at the gate with a gun, doesn't it make sense that she would have taken the gun with her to a knock on the door after 10pm? Unless that person was already in the house or LE Is wrong about time of death. Maybe she died Saturday morning. She sees someone coming, she goes out on the porch to greet them and then an attack ensues. There were scratches on her arms, she was obviously trying to run away and they grabbed her. Seems unlikely a man wouldn't just throw an 82 year old woman to the ground. The scratches on her arm would seem to indicate that whoever attacked her that morning was about her size, or smaller if she was able to pull away from them. But i agree, calling the local paper might give you some interesting insight. There are things they know, but can't prove and often will leave out of a story.
     
  11. Molly's Mom

    Molly's Mom New Member

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    The county has a new sheriff now. I'm going to attempt to reconnect with him and see if I can make headway with this case. The man who "confessed" to Lydia's murder was never truly believed to have really committed the crime. He did have a mental illness, was from a prominent family, and sadly committed suicide due to his illness.

    I made my way to Lydia's farm over the summer. I've passed many times because the house was still standing and it was so sad. There were some men fixing a fence so I asked if I could go onto the land and take pictures of the house. They allowed me to do so. After spending about 10 minutes at the house, which was in very bad shape, I left but noticed a man in a truck making a mad dash over to the house. He didn't speak to me but just watched as I left. A few weeks later, I drove past and the house was completely razed. It made me furious but also suspicious.
     

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