The Alice Crimmins Case
Catholic Cop and the Made-Up Mom
At the station house, one detective immediately wanted the case of the missing children. He was Detective Gerard H. Piering, a thirty-something father of six who sported an out-of-style crew cut and yearned to make second-grade detective. He and his more easygoing partner, George Martin, met both parents at the mother's residence.
That residence was a ground-floor apartment in a working-class development of red brick called the Regal Garden Apartments. The Crimminss home was modestly furnished but neatly kept.
When Piering saw Alice Crimmins, the strait-laced Roman Catholic was instantly taken aback: her children were missing yet this mother was neither sobbing nor hysterical. Rather, she was heavily made-up and sharply dressed, looking chic and sensuous in tight toreador pants and a flower-print shirt and high-heeled white shoes. Her short red hair was elaborately teased. By his own recollection, Piering disliked her on sight, thinking, "she looks like a cold bitch to me." He told Martin, You interview the guy. Ill take the bitch.
Missy Crimmins was discovered a few hours later in a vacant lot. She had been strangled to death. Detective Piering was informed that the body of a little girl matching Missys description had been found but did not immediately inform the parents of the daughters death. Rather, he decided to give the mother whom he suspected a sort of test.