The Murder of the Boy: Archived Images from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Call it morbid fascination, but I’ve been poring through a a trove of material that my wife Lynne dug up years ago when she worked at the University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees Library.  When I was eight years old, my best friend Cremer was murdered by Mariann Colby, the mother of my other best friend Dane. Needless to say, it kicked off a very messed up period in my life. Lynne, who is quite a researcher, delved into this topic this about 25 years ago when we were dating. As she had access to tons of library resources she requested microfilm from the Plain Dealer Archives (not sure which institution stores them). Of course, back in those days one printed Microfiche onto thermal paper, so all of the pages were  much like a paper based negative.

So, I fired up the scanner a few weeks back and started to process the images. I started off with a Cremer’s picture which appears to be a either a standard “portrait” done by a photo studio or perhaps an photo touched up by the newspaper’s photo department.  The picture of Mariann looks like it was taken outside of the courtroom, her expression quite disturbing. I do remember being disturbed by the fact that my name wasn’t in the paper. It wasn’t until later, after Mariann’s arrest, I realized how close I came to being with Cremer on the day he was murdered.

I’ve added to the mix photos of other murdered children that were part of a companion article on Child Killers. Didn’t get the entire article, so I had to look up the names of the children to get more information. I was surprised to find out that Beverly Jarosz’s murder is still unsolved.

Once again, kudos to Lynne for digging up this information. There doesn’t seem to be much of any information about Cremer Young on the web. In this day & age information like this is quite incendiary; I’m certain that Nancy Grace would’ve hounded Mrs. Colby to no end.

66 thoughts on “The Murder of the Boy: Archived Images from the Cleveland Plain Dealer”

  1. This is a fascinating bunch of recollections. I grew up about 7 or 8 houses down, on the other side of the street from the Colby’s blue house. My family was away on vacation when the murder took place, and I remember how terrified I felt as a ten-year-old when hearing the news a few days later. Knowing the people involved, having walked past both houses every day to school, and having the police come to interview my mother about it made it all so creepy to us kids. There was definitely a feeling of loss of innocence among us in the neighborhood.

    The mental picture I had of the gun hidden in hamburger in the freezer has honestly haunted me ever since, and I have never ever touched a gun because of it. So it is simply amazing to me to hear all the shared perspectives of this personally formative event. I will look for any books that have or will come out about it.

    And I love seeing all the names referenced above. Steve Daniel was the younger brother of my best friend, Ginnie. It was Steve Frolking who was sitting on top of the mail box at the corner of Warrington and Onaway Roads and got hit by the car. He was in my class at Onaway, and that scared us all too.

  2. I remember Ginny very well… she was dyslexic and they spent a lot of time trying to correct her vision. Dr. Daniels was my dentist, and Mrs. Daniels, sadly, committed suicide. Shortly after the murder my family moved to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I lost contact with Steve after that move. When I was in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania I sent him a letter written on the back of a Vanilla fudge concert poster. That was when I spent a year in a therapeutic institution. It has been great seeing this thread pick up and add new participants. The added participants have given this story a Rashomon quality.

  3. Boris, we’re talking about 2 different people. Ginnie Daniel was very intelligent, her father Tom was a cardiologist and worked at the Cleveland Clinic. His wife, Jan was still living as of about a year ago.

  4. How many Steve Daniels were there in Cleveland Heights? The Steve Daniels I knew, his father was a dentist. Also, while I mentioned Steve’s sister as being dyslexic I did not mean to imply that she was intellectually challenged. For example, Richard Branson is a notable dyslexic; think he’s done pretty good for himself.

    Anyway, Dr. Daniels was my dentist, FWIW.

  5. Gotta be different Daniels. The Onaway ones lived a few doors away from us on Chadbourne (between Southington and S Woodland) and our families were quite close. Steve was a classmate and close friend, older sister is Ginny and younger sibs Laura and Bruce. Their folks Jan and Tom are both still very much alive and well.

  6. As Historian for the Garfield Heights Historical Society I would like to invite those of you with an interest in this tragic event to stop by our museum at 5405 Turney Rd In Garfield Hts. We have on file 30 pages of articles taken from the Cleveland Press and Plain dealer detailing this case as it unraveled-microfilm copies from the downtown Library-I would be delighted to share this info with you. Our hours are Saturdays from one to four P/M.Call me at 216-926-3582. Or the Museum at 216-475-3050. Admission is free. Looking forward to meeting you and sharing some rare information!
    Steve Sanducci: Historian, Garfield Heights Historical Society.

  7. Steve, will take you up on this in the near future. Thank you for chiming in!

  8. I was just a wee bairn back when Cremer was killed. I lived in Akron ohio. I do however remember years later it being talked about by the adults because two 9yr old girls in Akron were killed in 1971. Lorie Crowe and Laurna Ritz. My older sister was friends with her sister Elizabeth. She was over at our house on many occasions. We were on restricted movements for a short time after that. Innocence lost but not forgotten.

  9. David’s (aka Booie’s) kid here – crazy seeing you discuss and confirm so much of what I’ve heard of this terrible story. I had also heard that my dad was playing with Cremer that day. I only learned about it as an adult after asking more questions about my own name…

    Jordan Sollitto – sounds like you may have been my dad’s roomie, would love to hear any stories you might have!

  10. While tabacs book provides interesting histories of some of the key players in this tale he leaves out a few key points, such as : John Young telling reporters that Cremmer would not have understood someone pointing a gun at him and would not understand the results of a gunshot would-at a time when the majority of television shows were westerns. Were all of the children from this neighborhood leading such sheltered lives? Tabac fails to explain why Colby was never arrested or prosecuted for assaulting her neighbors children, knocking them off of bicycles or slapping them for refusing to play with her son. In normal neighborhoods this behavior would have never been tolerated. Instead, tabac focuses on psychobabble from the blog of some woman who claims to live in the Colby house, an opinion that takes pity on this murderer for her tragic past and miscarriages. That same nonsense can be found on this blog. Perhaps if the youngs had not lived in a neighborhood of odd-balls little “cremmie” might still be alive.Parents attempting to hide the news of the murder from their children, providing us with the original “snowflakes”

  11. Given the many and varied circumstances surrounding this event, I too am often confounded by the outcome of the events surrounding Cremer’s death. Times were different then. We didn’t have 24 hour news channels desperate for stories to air. No Nancy Grace, Chris Hansen or Geraldo Rivera to relentlessly opine about events. No internet and social media! BTW, since i was a close friend of Cremer’s, I can state that we often teamed up with Dane Colby on several occasions. Interestingly enough, I did not witness any of the assaults attributed to Mariann during any of my visits to the Colby household. Any such stories about her were relayed to me much later. As far as “hiding” news of the murder from me, my parents were forthright in informing me and my sisters (who were six years old at the time) about Cremer’s murder. I was at the Young’s house when the police came to bring Mr. & Mrs. Young to the morgue. The only thing I didn’t understand at the time was that when reporters came to the house to interview us, they were refused entry. My parents did not want my name in the newspaper, since they were concerned about me becoming another victim.

  12. I was a year younger than Cremer and lived down a few houses and across the street on Warrington Road. After it happened, the TV news cameras drove up and down the street looking for kids to interview. They interviewed me and my brother. I remember being terrified, and wondering how anyone could want to hurt a child, let alone Cremer.

  13. Tad, I believe I lived next to you. I am one of the Jordan family. My childhood address was 3126 Huntington Rd. I remember you and Cremer playing together well. I pushed your twin sisters in their double stroller around the block for your mother. I still have wonderful memories of your mom; she was like a big sister to me.

    I babysat for the Youngs several times. I remember that Beth was not there, I believe she had an overnight at a friend’s house. The baby was already in bed. So that left the two boys who were still full of energy at bedtime. Being rather inexperienced at babysitting, I gave them too many snacks and too much romping around the house, until I was the one who was tired. I’ll never forget Cremer with his laughing blue eyes and sun kissed cheeks. He certainly had my number, but I was only 16. Such a darling imp! All of you were. I was thunderstruck when I heard of his death, and have carried it with me ever since as one of those things that give form to who a person becomes in the long run.

    If it helps. I’ll tell you what my mother told me at the time. Her thoughts on Mrs. Colby was that she treated Dane like a baby for a long time, that she held him back, like keeping him in a stroller till he was 4 or 5. My mother thought she was very jealous of the Youngs, that Cremer was everything Dane wasn’t, that the Young’s whole live was better.

    I have thought of Cremer from time to time. It still stirs me deeply. To tell the truth, I’ve worried about Dane and how he could grow up with such a rough start, and I’ve been concerned about you, Tad, losing a best friend so violently at such
    tender age. I wish you every good thing. Thank you for putting this together.

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