The Case of Lynn Richards' Death

In 1931, Lynn Richards, prominent citizen and Head Cashier of the defunct United State Bank of Crystal Lake, was found dead near his car at the side of the road.  Much speculation surrounds the death of Lynn Richards. 

Click here to read a 9-page summary of events, including a full transcription of the Coroner's Inquest. 

After reading the summary, join in our informal survey:


We will post results of this informal survey and also post select comments. 

No names of contributors will be included on this website!  Your vote and comments will remain anonymous!

The Votes So Far (as of 6/16/2012): 15 votes

Accident/Natural Causes:  7

Suicide:    4

Murder:    4

Some comments that have been submitted:

"I think he held his own face to the exhaust pipe, rather than face the consequences of his actions relating to the United State Bank."

"Why was there no autopsy? I submit that the investigation of the death of Lynn Richards was a “sweep it under the rug” investigation done because the man was such an “upstanding community pillar” – as far as anyone knew at the time. Let him go easy into that good night. There is no use in speaking ill of the dead. But it was murder, Watson, foul murder."

"I think it was murder.  I don't see how he could hold his head near enough to the exhaust to kill himself."

"I think it was an accident.  Since he was in poor health in the first place, he probably collapsed while changing the tire.  Maybe he had been drinking which would further impair him and his ability to change the tire.  No way it was suicide.  Murder?  The damage at the bank was done, why kill him?"

"Suicide is my vote.  But I don't think it was planned in advance.  He got a flat, was already worried about the looming investigation at the bank, and took advantage of the situation -- an easy and quick way out without having to explain anything in a note.  I don't think anyone would attempt to change a tire while the car was still running."

"I think he died of a heart attack."

"Accident--stroke.  Then he inhaled some of the fumes."

"It was noted that Richards' health was poor. He spent a long day on the farm walking the crops. His professional life was crumbling. He was most likely exhausted mentally and physically. While attempting to change the tire, he stroked out."

"Mr. Richards was already in (undefined) poor health.  Given a 54-year old man in 1931, add the stressors of fear and guilt, his reported lack of stamina, the heat of the day, and the frustration of a flat tire, plus the external signs of his red face and clenched hands, the one conclusion that fits all the facts is a heart attack."

"I weeds were high and conditions were generally windless, monoxide could still be a factor without other's intervention.  Why the vehicle was running is still a question--but doubtful the nail in the tire was intentional.  Accident."