Michigan: Lydia Thompson Murder Mystery
Russian born Lydia Thompson and her British husband Louis had moved from Europe to the U.S after WWI. After more than 20 years of marriage, however, the Thompsons began to drift apart. Lydia feared that Louis was having an affair. After hiring some detectives to follow her husband, Lydia discovered that Louis had been seeing a secretary named Helen Budnik. Despite Lydia’s attempt to repair her marriage, Louis eventually moved out of the house and decided that he would divorce her. On October 13, 1945, Lydia Thompson’s headless body was discovered in a marsh near Pontiac, Michigan by some mushroom pickers. She had been tortured and stabbed with a meat cleaver.
Although investigators immediately suspected Louis and his mistress, both passed a lie detector test and had strong alibis around the time of Lydia’s murder. After more than one year of investigating weak leads, the authorities decided to arrest and charge Louis and his mistress after all. While there was little evidence to convict Louis and Helen, an apparent breakthrough came when a woman came forward and said that her boyfriend had confessed to Lydia’s murder. According to the story, Louis had paid the man $10,000 to kill his wife. In reality, however, the man was married and had concocted the confession to frighten away his girlfriend. Louis and Helen were released and the murder remains a mystery.