Tag Archives: Oakley Breeden

Mass Murder in Dearborn County, Ind.

Genealogy is the hunt for the unknown. And when you search and seek answers to questions long quieted, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. We all have skeletons.

For years I’ve heard stories of my Uncle Oakley’s daughter being murdered. My mom and Aunt Jean used to tell me that it was so famous, there even was a song made about it.  But that’s all they could tell me. Apparently, no one ever wanted to talk about it so after my cousin’s father and grandparents passed on, there was no one who knew the actual story. So, being the Nancy Drew type, I’ve been searching for the answers…. and boy have I found some!

The story is true. I’m still working on putting my findings together but what is an indisputable fact is that about supper time on May 16, 1941, Johnson W. Agrue, his wife Nina, their two sons, William and Leo Agrue and their 12-year-old granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth BREEDEN, were all found shot to death at point blank range. Five lives taken in less than 30 minutes… with dinner still on the stove.

There are lots of twists and turns in this story. Blurred relationships and scandals. As I’ve said, we all have skeletons. The hunt for the answers and consequently trial, made Dearborn history. It made Indiana history.

Stay tune for more….


William Edward Breeden obit

Dearborn County Register, 3 Aug 1961.

Services for William Breeden, 81, were held at the Ulrich & Sibbett Funeral Home, Dillsboro Friday at 1:30 pm. Burial was in the old cemetery at the top of Harrison Hill. Mrs. Breeden is buried there. Mr. Breeden a native of Kentucky, passed away at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Robert Banes of Clay Township. Other survivors are Mrs. Orris Rudisell, Cambridge City; Mrs. Melvin Guard, Harrison; Mrs Edward Nobak, Ocean City CA; and five sons: Loren and Thomas, Harrison; James, Cleves OH and Oakley and Charles, Cambridge City.”

He was buried at the top of Harrison Hill which is also called North Dearborn Road. This is known as the Harrison Hill Cemetery.


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