Real Name: Michael W. O'Mara
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Date: May 30, 1988
Details: Forty-eight-year-old Captain Michael O'Mara of the Cook County Sheriff's Police had worked in law enforcement for decades. He was the only officer there that had been trained at the FBI Academy. During the 1960s, he helped capture many members of the Chicago mafia. By 1988, he was working a desk job at the police department, planning for retirement. Shortly after 9pm on May 30, 1988, a patrolman found an unmarked police car abandoned at the courthouse's service station with the gas nozzle in the tank. In a nearby field, he found Michael shot in the forehead and lying on a rock. His wallet and briefcase had not been touched.
The police and the coroner quickly labeled it a suicide because all of the items found at and around the scene were Michael's, including a flashlight and the gun that killed him. Also, there were no signs of a struggle or evidence that anyone else was at the scene. However, his family and friends believe that he was murdered.
The last person to see Michael on the night he died was his wife, Barbara, and she claims he was in good spirits. He left in the evening to put gas in his squad car, and then to get yogurt for his family. Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a medical examiner hired by Barbara, believes that he was murdered. Dr. DiMaio could find no reason that he would want to kill himself; he had no personal or financial problems and no suicidal tendencies. He also had no evidence of mental illness. He notes that when people commit suicide, they normally put the gun firmly against their head when they shoot themselves. However, in Michael's case, the gun was between two and four inches away from his head when he was shot.
Michael's family suspects that while he was filling his car with gas, he heard something in the field. He grabbed his gun, then went into the field and encountered a man, or several men, who took his gun and shot him. His family believes his death was a cover-up by police and that his execution was carried out by hit originating from the Mafia. Others believe that he may have been killed by someone within the police force.
Despite the evidence, authorities still believe that Michael committed suicide. They note that the witnesses who heard the shot did not hear a struggle or anyone calling for help. They also note that the physical evidence at the scene does not support murder. They suspect that he may have tried to make his death look like a murder.
Michael's family and friends are certain, however, that he was murdered.
Suspects: None known, although the Mafia has been speculated to be involved in his death.
Extra Notes: This case aired on the January 13, 1995 episode.
- Michael O'Mara on Unsolved.com
- Pieces In Puzzle Of Sheriff Officer`s Death Refuse To Fit
- Suicide Or Murder: Cop's Death Pits Police Vs. Family
- In the Line of Duty
- Michael O'Mara Obituary