Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Gagged and Stabbed April 3rd, 1928 #unsolvedmurder #flintsfreakyhistory #flintmurders

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

Gagged and Stabbed April 3rd, 1928

Tuesday April 3, 1928 started at 5am for the Keen Family. Mrs. Keen made breakfast for her husband Joe and their three kids. While they were eating, she made Joe his lunch and sent him off to work.

He left a little after five and would not return until around 6 in the evening.

Mrs. Keen spent the rest of her day cleaning and caring for the children. The couple had a happy marriage according to the two boarders that lived in the house. They both claimed the two never fought and seemed very much in love.

When Joe arrived home that night around six he stumbled into a scene that would haunt him for the rest of his life.

He entered in the kitchen. He found a blood filled sink, a blood soaked towel, and a trail of blood on the floor that led to his wife’s dead body. Mrs. Keen had two stab wounds in her throat and another in front of her ear. She also had a towel gag around her mouth and another towel around her neck.

Joe quickly screamed for help and the two boarders that lived there came running. After seeing what happened, one of them sent a neighbor boy to get the police.

When they arrived, they found Joe and the two boarders standing over Mrs. Keen’s body and the three children playing in the next room.

Murders involving people of color were treated differently during this time. The police arrested Joe and the two boarders and took the children into protective care. Joe stayed in jail for three days while the police investigated his alibi. Joe’s employer verified that he was at work all day and never left. That was not satisfying to the detectives handling the case, so they interviewed his co-workers who all verified that he was there all day and never left. Joe was not released until the coroner verified that Mrs. Keen had been dead long before Joe got home.

Although he was released, he was still under suspicion and was not allowed to get his children back for a couple more weeks. The two boarders were old and deemed unable to have the strength to commit the crime. They were soon released.

With no clues, witnesses, or leads the case was put aside and the murderer was never caught.    

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

No comments:

Post a Comment