The Corner of Jennings and Illona
At 5:07 am on Friday, August 9th, 1963 patrolman Jack Leach was traveling northwest down Japonica Drive in one of the two patrol cars owned by the Greenhills Police department. As he turned left at the corner of Jennings Road and Illona Drive his headlights swept across Alphonse Udry’s side yard and he saw what he described as a “peculiar-looking mound.” He stopped his car, grabbed his flashlight, walked through the dew-covered lawn and found the body of 15 year-old Patricia Ann Rebholz.
Leach had been with the department for four years but had never encountered anything even remotely like this before. His first instinct was to radio for backup and within minutes—13 minutes to be exact—patrolman Randolph Morgan arrived. Morgan began circling the body taking photographs. Patty was lying on her side next to the wire fence at the property line—her moccasins doubled over her heels, her disheveled skirt pulled up around her waist and her handbag still dangling from her shoulder. Her hair, face and blouse were covered in blood. The grass beneath her was saturated with it. Next to her head was a two-foot section of fence post which Leach noted was covered in dark stains, hair and “particles of what I believe to be flesh.”
As Morgan’s flashbulbs lit up the pre-dawn darkness, police from neighboring departments arrived and fanned out into the yard, securing the crime scene. Dr. Roemer, the local physician, was summoned and confirmed what the assembled officers already knew—Patty was dead. Later, while the volunteer life squad was loading her body onto a stretcher, someone— it’s unclear exactly who—alerted 15 year-old Michael Wehrung, Patty’s boyfriend of four months who lived just across the street. Only half-awake, Michael looked out his front door which had a direct view of the activity in the yard, turned to his sister Cheryl and asked “Is she dead?” He then went back to sleep on the sectional sofa in his living room.
Why the police had taken all night to find Patty was one of the first of many questions about the case. Why Michael responded the way he did that morning was another. Its now been more than a half century since Patty’s murder and for her friends and classmates—indeed, for the entire community of Greenhills—there are still more questions than answers.