Milan Police placed the banner with the picture of Crandall and Lily on the vacant lot at 325 W. 4th Ave., where her home once stood. The family, Milan Police Department and Quad-City Crime Stoppers are continuing to raise awareness of Crandall’s cruel murder which remains unsolved years later.
Quad City, Illinois — Harriet Crandall was 96-years-old and although she was getting weaker physically, she showed no signs of slowing down. A recent great-grandma to her granddaughter name Lily, she loved spending time with her and always wanted to hold her but didn’t think she had the strength to do it, so with the help of a pillow for her arm, she was able to hold Lily, James Crandall, the father of Lily and son of Harriet said.. It was definitely a precious moment and James didn’t hesitate to snap a photo.
“She was tickled having her there,” James said of the photo, which was taken in the fall of 2007.
But on the night of August 30, 2008 less than one year after that photo was snapped, Harriet was at her Milan home on 325 W. 4th Ave when a house-fire broke out and sadly, she didn’t make it. At first glance, it was thought to be just an terrible accident but when the autopsy report came in so did the truth. Harriet Crandall was dead prior to the fire. She had been strangled by an unidentified killer and the fire was just a cover-up. But who would want to harm such a defenceless woman?
Earl Higgins was Crandall’s neighbor for 10 years.
“I shot the breeze with her. It’s hard to believe,” he said about her death.
Higgins said he was home when his daughter woke him up about 11:30 p.m. Aug. 30, 2008, after seeing the Crandall house on fire.
Firefighters were called to the scene shortly before 11 p.m. They found Crandall’s body on the floor of her bedroom. She was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:44 p.m.
Harriet Crandall lived in the house for 71 years and raised her two sons there, said James Crandall of Sherrard, Ill., her oldest. She lived there alone since her husband died in 1986.
After her death, James Crandall tried to salvage from the burned debris the furniture his father had built.
“I couldn’t get the smoke smell out of the wood,” he said. “I finally set fire to it and finished it.”
His younger brother, Kenneth Crandall of Alexis, Ill., said coping with his mother’s death after a few years is “getting easier as time goes by. It still hurts.”
John Zelnio, president of Quad-City Crime Stoppers, pointed out that Harriet Crandall’s 100th birthday would have been today.
“Any minute, some good tip could come in,” Zelnio said.
Beckwith said that even though his investigators are currently not working any leads on the case, he’s still confident it can be solved.
“A lot of people saw and heard things,” Beckwith said. “What we need is information that will put us in the path of finding the person responsible.”
If you have any information regarding this unsolved murder please contact: Quad-City Crime Stoppers at (309) 762-9500 and Milan police at (309) 787-8520.
Harriet Crandall, 96, of Milan, passed away Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008, at her home.
Graveside services will be 11 a.m. Thursday at Chippiannock Cemetery, Rock Island. Those wishing to attend may meet at Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, Milan, at 10:30 a.m. Memorials may be made to American Cancer Society.
Harriet was born April 6, 1912, in Beaman, Iowa the daughter of Harry and Bertha Esbolt Hawley. She married Harold Crandall on Dec. 3, 1933, in Rock Island. He preceded her in death on June 11, 1986.
Harriet was a stay-at-home mom. She was a good mother who lived for her family. She enjoyed traveling with her husband.
Survivors include her sons and daughters-in-law, James and Velma Crandall, Sherrard, Kenneth and Ann Crandall, Alexis; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Harriet was preceded in death by her brother, Glen.
There is a $3,000 reward for anyone with any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the indivigual who murdered this woman.