The FBI’s First Major Case: The Story of the Osage Murders

America of the 1920s was witnessing modernization and prosperity, but also dark and tragic events. One of these events was the serial murders that took place in Oklahoma and went down in history as the “Osage Murders”.

These murders oil-rich Osage Indians resulted in their deaths, one by one, and brought to light the deep wounds of the American justice system.

So, what lay behind these terrible events and how? quest for justice happened?

Oil-rich Osage Indians

settled in Oklahoma in the late 19th century Osage Indians, became rich suddenly with the discovery of oil in its lands in this region. This unexpected fortune made the Osage people the wealthiest individuals in American society.

By the 1910s, revenues from oil reserves on Osage lands were worth about $100 million today. $400 million it was worth. However, this wealth would soon turn into a great tragedy. Because of the oil reserves beneath their lands, the Osage became the target of evildoers.

In the early 1920s, mysterious deaths began to increase among Osage Indians.

mollie burkhart family

Originally William Hale of Texaswas considered one of the most prominent citizens of the region and “King of the Osage Hills” He was a wealthy farmer, he declared. He encouraged his obedient nephew, Ernest Burkhart, to marry Mollie Kyle.

After 1917, the murders started. First, Mollie Burkhart’s family was killed one by one; her sister Anna Brown, her mother Lizzie Q and then her cousin Henry Roan. These deaths initially Although attempts were made to attribute it to natural causes Over time, it became clear that there was a systematic murder campaign. The only survivor of the family was Mollie Kyle (Burkhart).

The Osage people lived under death threats, and at any moment it was unknown who the next victim would be. in 1921 about 24 Osage Indians He died under suspicious circumstances.

The main motivation behind the Osage Murders was the great wealth to be gained from oil wealth.

Mollie Kyle (Burkhart)

This wealth became a major attraction for white Americans. The people behind the murders Seizing the wealth of the Osage Indians He had made a series of complex plans for These plans aimed to kill Osage individuals and ensure that their fortunes passed to the white Americans they designated as their heirs.

In 1921, the federal government established a government agency to control the financial affairs of the Osage Indians. guardian system founded. This system greatly limited the Osage’s ability to manage their wealth and designated white Americans as controlling their financial decisions.

The tutelage system is behind the murders malicious people It also made their job easier. The vassals controlled the Osage’s property and money, making them economically dependent. Many trustees made plans to inherit the Osage’s wealth if they were killed.

The Osage Murders began to be investigated by the newly established Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

William Hale (second from left) and John Ramsey (third from left) flanked by two US marshals in 1926

FBI agent Tom White and his team conducted an extensive investigation to unravel the dark conspiracies behind the murders. This investigation revealed a chain of murders organized by white Americans who wanted to seize the wealth of the Osages.

William Hale

Many people, especially William Hale, were tried and punished for these atrocities committed against the Osage people, but they were responsible for only some of the murders, not all of them. Names left from their confessions its mystery is still preserved.

Hale and Ernest Burkhart were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1929, but He was paroled after 18 years.

They tried to prevent the Reign of Terror.

Osage murder

US Congress in 1925; Non-Osage title rights to tribal members of Osage blood prohibiting inheritance accepted the law. However, more than 20 murders committed over the years are remembered as one of the darkest pages in American history.

In 2017, New Yorker writer David Grann said, “Killers of The Flower Moon” He published his book and reached a wide audience. It was then brought to the big screen by Hollywood.

Osage Murders, It not only tells the tragedy of an era, but also emphasizes how important the search for justice is today. Although it is debatable to what extent justice has been served…

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