In February 1970, a double homicide occurred in Columbus just off the campus of The Ohio State University. The murders took the lives of two promising young French scholars.
"Mary & Bill: An Ohio Cold Case" is a new podcast from Ideastream Public Media in partnership with The Ohio Newsroom that examines the case, why it's never been solved and why after more than 50 years, there's new hope of resolution.
The details of the murders are the stuff of nightmares. Mary Petry was studying at the College of Mount Saint Joseph, in Cincinnati, when one Friday afternoon she caught a ride to Columbus to visit her boyfriend Bill Sproat. Bill was a graduate student at Ohio State.
The day after Mary arrived, Bill's roommate returned home to find both Mary and Bill stabbed, strangled and bludgeoned to death. Wire hangers, a bowling ball and a kitchen knife were among the murder weapons. There was no apparent motivation and no signs of struggle. Within six months of the crime, Columbus police were telling newspapers they had no strong leads and little hope the case would ever be solved.
Flash forward a half century, when Ideastream producer Justin Glanville decided to look into the murders himself. Justin's parents knew Bill Sproat, and Justin's dad was one of the first people to arrive at the scene of the crime, where he was picked up by police.
On Wednesday's "Sound of Ideas" we will bring you an excerpt from the first episode of the podcast. We also hear from Justin Glanville, the podcast's producer and host as well as Mary Petry's surviving twin sister, Martha, and her hopes for the case that is now more than 50 years old.
If you have any information to share about the case, go to our website where you can also find full episodes, photos and primary documents in the case. Episodes are also available wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes drop every Wednesday through September 6th.
-Justin Glanville, Senior Producer, Community Storytelling
-Martha Petry, Sister of Victim