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John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

And then they vanished into thin air……………………………….

And then they vanished into thin air……………………………….

The strange case of Chicago’s Edward and Stephanie Andrews




On the evening of May 15, 1970, Edward and Stephanie Andrews, a couple in their early sixties drove the wrong way down Chicago magnificent Michigan Avenue and disappeared forever. In almost a half a decade later, no sign of the Andrews or their 69 Oldsmobile has ever found.

The couple arrived at the Sheraton-Chicago Hotel, then at 505 N. Michigan Ave., shortly after 5:30 p.m. for a cocktail party sponsored by the Woman's Association of Allied Beverage Industries. All the gusts agreed that the Andrews seemed to be in good spirits.  But then guests noticed that a few hours later, Edward appeared to become ill. He complained of hunger.


 

They left the party at 9:30 p.m. and took the elevator to its underground parking garage witness testified to that much.  The parking manager told police Edward Andrews was "staggering" and that Stephanie was crying and asking him not to drive home. He seemed to have trouble getting into his black and yellow 1969 Oldsmobile sports coupe. As he drove out he accidentally hit the garage door before pulling out on the street the wrong way down Michigan Avenue.

The police theorized that a disoriented Edward attempted a U-turn but instead plunged into the Chicago River at a point where there were no guard rails and drove into the Chicago River. However, an extensive search of the water turned up nothing. Ten years later, in 1980, a full clean-up of the river produced twelve vehicles, but none of them were the Andrews’ Oldsmobile.

Fourteen years after that the case came to the attention of the police again in 1994 when an informant, a 36-year-old man from north suburban Knollwood told police that he had suffered from amnesia and memories of the killings only recently returned. He said that the Andrewes’ had been murdered that night by gang members, who placed the couple’s bodies in their car and submerged it in a pond near the village Green Oaks, some forty miles north from they were last seen. The informant was 13 years old at the time and was at the lake when the car was buried there.

"About every third sentence he told us was true," said Cpl. Curt Corsi of the Lake County Sheriff's Office. "We verified some of what he said through police reports."

Divers searched the pond and recovered two pieces of metal that resembled pieces of the underside of a car and also found a large object several feet deep in the muck, but could not determine what it was.  "It's the right size, but there is no way to get equipment in there to find out what it is," Corsi said. “We don't want to pull something up, unless we know it's the car"

He added that during the 1970s, the pond was privately owned and used for water skiing. The location, about 5 to 10 feet offshore, was marked with a yellow buoy but because the bottom of the pond is deep with mud and muck, police speculated whether it would have been possible for a car to sink low enough to escape detection and determined it wasn't probable.

It was not until the following Monday that the Andrews were reported missing when co-workers became concerned because they failed to arrive at work. Police officers thoroughly searched the Andrewes’ Arlington Heights home at 738 S. Vail Ave. but nothing was out of sorts. Everything that was supposed to be in the house, was in the house. All of their stocks, bonds, and credit cards were untouched since the day they disappeared. Neighbors described them as a happy, outgoing couple, always willing to help.

A background check showed nothing abnormal. Edward Andrews was a semi-retired manager and bookkeeper for Miller-Peerless Manufacturing Co. of Chicago, and Stephanie was a credit investigator for Local Loan Co. The Andrews drank sparingly and witnesses do recall them having drinks on the night they disappeared. They never gambled. They weren’t rich but they were comfortable in a middle class way. They had apparent ties to any criminal elements. They had been married about seven years. It was the second marriage for Stephanie, whose first husband had died. Edward Andrews had been married five times before. A search of their backgrounds and family revealed nothing to indicate someone would want to harm them.

In the meantime, a dozen policemen searched the edges of the river and located a place on a bridge on Lower Wacker Drive where there were scrapes on a concrete pillar and skid marks on the road but no sign of a car going down into the river. Another team of detectives interviewed most of the 250 guests who attended the party.

Police dragged the river for 11 days after they found the car scrapes and tire marks. A grappling hook caught something and the next day, divers swam 15 to 20 feet down to the bottom of the river to investigate but it was random river junk. Stephanie Andrews' brother, John Rynak, had stepped in to help. He provided sonar equipment to help with the search. In November 1971, police returned to the river for another search with more sophisticated sonar equipment and metal-detection devices. Each of those searches revealed nothing.




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