The murder of Anthony Spilotro would go unsolved for more than two decades.
The reputed Las Vegas enforcer for the Chicago mob had been visiting family in Oak Park, Illinois, between court appearances in Las Vegas when he went missing. He was last seen on June 14, 1986, driving away from the home of his brother Michael Spilotro, who was in the vehicle with him.
On June 16, Ann Spilotro, Michael’s wife and Tony’s sister-in-law, reported the brothers missing. The following morning, a U.S. Magistrate signed an arrest warrant for Tony when he missed a court deadline to return to Las Vegas.
Oak Park Police stated on June 19, five days after the brothers were last seen, “We’re getting an awful lot of crank calls. The last thing we heard was that they had moved into an apartment here in Oak Park and that somebody saw them doing their laundry.”
That tip, along with many others, would not lead authorities any closer to the Spilotro brothers. On June 20, the Review-Journal reported that authorities were working with two principal theories: The brothers were in hiding, or they had been killed.
Spilotro’s underworld reign, and his supposed dream of becoming the Chicago mob boss, ended in a shallow grave at a lonely Indiana cornfield.
The latter theory proved correct when a farmer in rural Indiana, about 60 miles outside of Chicago, discovered a patch of loose dirt on his property. It turned out to be a shallow grave housing the badly beaten bodies of Michael and Tony Spilotro. Dr. John Pless, the forensic pathologist who examined the bodies, determined they had been in the grave for several days and that blunt force injuries, probably from hands or feet, caused the deaths.
Following the discovery, Review-Journal reporter Phil LaVelle wrote, “Spilotro’s underworld reign, and his supposed dream of becoming the Chicago mob boss, ended in a shallow grave at a lonely Indiana cornfield.”
The murders of the Spilotro brothers would remain unsolved until a government investigation, Operation Family Secrets, led to convictions over two decades later.
‘Mobbed Up — Part 10: Family Secrets’
On Part 10 of “Mobbed Up,” ex-Chicago mob associate Frank Calabrese Jr., who testified in the 2007 Family Secrets trial, shares his story, including his family’s involvement in the Spilotro murders.
The episode also reveals the outcome of the FBI’s “Strawman” probe, a far-reaching mob investigation sparked by an electronic surveillance operation in Kansas City, Missouri.
Where and how to listen
Search for “Mobbed Up” on your preferred mobile podcasting app and tap “subscribe” or “follow,” or click here to listen to the series on the Review-Journal website.