Garnet Ginn, a 33-year-old Portland High School home economics teacher, was loved by students and faculty alike. She was close to completing her master’s degree and had her future looked bright. She had everything to live for.
But on Tuesday, February 28, 1950, Ginn failed to show up for her classes. Phone calls to her were unanswered, prompting the school superintendent to go to Ginn’s house to see what was the matter. Finding no one home, he peeked in her garage and called the police.
Wedged into a 14-inch space next to her car, she was perched on her left knee and suspended upright by a narrow strap—one end tied to the car door’s handle, the other looped around her neck. The coroner declared Ginn’s death a suicide, but her family knew better.
Days after Ginn was buried, her parents had her body exhumed for an autopsy performed by the Indiana State Police. The ISP’s pathologist determined she indeed had been murdered. Unfortunately, police could never name a suspect, leaving the case unsolved.
However, thanks to renewed interest in the case in 2019, the Portland Police finally identified Ginn’s likely killer. But with no evidence to substantiate their suspicions, the case remains open.
On a blistering hot day in July 2020, I visited Garnet Ginn’s grave in the IOOF Cemetery outside of Akron, Indiana. She was joined by her mother, Gail, in 1966, and her father, William, in 1982. Rest in peace, Garnet.•