Thursday, December 17, 2009

Family History Tragedy

In 1974 the small town of Delphos, Ohio was hit hard by the murder of two of their own. In the middle of all the commotion was my family.
The day seemed normal to everyone in the area. Everyone in the area was out working on their farm hoping to get crops in before it was too late.
Down the street from my grandparents lived my grandmother’s sister Mildred and her husband Louis. Louis was out visiting the neighbors down the street while she stayed inside talking to her daughter in law Judy who lived next door. Judy’s husband Kenneth was busy at work in the field.
All the peace was soon disturbed when Judy and Mildred soon saw a man pull up into Judy and Kenneth’s house next door and walk inside. As Kenneth saw this he hurried over to his house to see what was up. Worried for her husband Judy soon entered the house herself since she and Mildred noticed that he hadn’t come out yet. As she entered she saw her husband with a gun being held up to his head by the man who she had seen enter the house.
After receiving a call from his wife, Louis came back from the neighbors. He entered the back yard of his son’s house and released the dogs that were held in the back yard. The man with the gun saw his releasing the dogs, and he came running out and shoot Louis in the drive way killing him. The man then came back inside and then shot Kenneth. Judy then ran away. The man continued to chase her shooting her multiple times in the back, but she continued to run away. She made her way to the Bockey house across the street, and the man then tried to run her over with his car instead crashing into the Bockey’s house.
As he searched the house for Judy he found Mildred in hall way trying to get into a locked door up stairs. He asked her where the girl was. Instead of telling him where she was, Mildred acted as if she had no idea where Judy was even though she was right behind the locked door with Mrs. Bockey. The man then tried to shoot Mildred in the head. Out of bullets, the gun did nothing to her.
Outside my dad rode up in a bike that he had just bought hoping to visit his aunt and uncle. As he was riding up the street a sheriff drove up to him, and the cope told him to get out of there. My dad not sure what was going on continued to ride to his aunt’s and uncle’s. He was surprised to find his uncle Louis on the drive way dead. As he saw his uncle the ambulance came up. My dad identified the man on the ground as his uncle to the ambulance. He was also surprised to find that there was another person dead in the house. He knew right away that it was his cousin Kenneth.
Meanwhile, the man with the gun saw the sheriff outside of the house he was in. Thinking quickly he left the girl he was after and climbed out the window open to the back side of the house. He then ran out through the corn field that was in back.
The whole town was on watch for days. Everyone seemed afraid that they might be his next victim. My Grandparents, aunts, and my dad retreated to Van Wert afraid that he might have been hiding in their barn. “Being told that we had to leave our home and pack up and move out scared us all. We had lived in our house for years, and this was scary to all of to even think about what happened and what could happen if they didn’t catch him,” said my grandmother.
A couple of weeks after this incident the man was caught in Wisconsin for another crime. Police then identified the man who killed Louis and Kenneth as the murderer. He had committed other burglaries before the murder of Louis and Kenneth. One of his friends also later reported that he had mentioned that at the next house that he went to he was going to kill someone. He ended up keeping his word by killing Louis and Kenneth putting him in jail
ever since.
“It was my first close experience with death and crime. I was quick to realize that crime like that can happen anywhere, and I was not as safe in that small town as I had thought,” said my dad later on.
“Even today, I still think about this incident every time I walk out to the barn on our farm,” stated my aunt Lois who now lives on my grandparent’s farm. “I always wonder now what could be hiding in the corn stocks that I don’t know is there.”

Journalism Final Family History Paper, by my daughter Jen


  1. I remember when this happened. I was 8 years old and everyone was so scared. I later dated Mrs. Bockey's youngest son and they told me the story of the gunman coming into their home.

  2. What a terrible tragedy and what a horrible man the murderer must have been. So cold-blooded. Thankfully, your father didn't get there any sooner than he did.