Relative of John Dillinger’s wife digs into past of notorious gangster

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Family members of John Dillinger said on Friday they still cannot comment on the exhumation. Others close to this history though are anxious to learn what they will find.

A permit was approved by the State Department of Health to exhume the body of John Dillinger. Documents say the family questions whether he is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.

“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.

It became Tony Stewart's passion to research the history of John Dillinger and a way to understand a little more about his own family member. He says his great aunt, Beryl Hovious, was Dillinger's first and only wife.

Hovious and Dillinger were married for a few years until they divorced when he was put in jail.

"She would not talk about Dillinger at all because back in those days it was a disgrace to talk about being married to an outlaw," Stewart said.

Stewart believes the man buried in Indianapolis is Dillinger. After looking at his exact copy of Dillinger's death mask, he said the markings match the gangster's scars from plastic surgery.

Mike Thompson is Dillinger's nephew who applied for the permit to have the body exhumed.

The director of a documentary called "Wanted: John Dillinger" said the idea was discussed last year during filming.

"They did seem to lean more that it was him at the time. So that has gotten me excited because they are saying there is new evidence and I am excited to see what that it," said Scott Umsteadt, the director.

He felt honored relatives helped tell the story of "Public Enemy No. 1"

"I wanted to portray him as a human being and as someone who made a bad decision" he said.

Now the family is back in the spotlight with a plan breathing new life into Dillinger's infamy.

Digging up his grave is going to be a difficult process. The area underneath Dillinger's headstone is cement. Historians said there were concerned someone may steal the body.

Even though the State Department of Health approved the permit, the History Channel said they are still waiting for authorization to perform the exhumation.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.