Christopher Herbert Coombs
27 Years Old

December 23, 1953 to January 3, 1981

Christopher Herbert "Chris" Coombs, of Wheaton, Illinois, was a big man, 6' 1 ½" and 187 pounds. He was young, strong, and healthy. He was exceptionally good looking and had warm brown eyes and a friendly smile that just made you feel better. Happy memories are tainted now by a life cut short, but remembering the sound of his booming laugh can still coax a smile. The youngest of five children, Chris held a special place in the heart of each member of our family.

Chris was a good husband, father, son and brother. He worked hard as a professional truck driver and spent many hours criss-crossing the roads of Illinois. He had just bought his young son his first baseball glove for Christmas.

Chris was happiest in a flannel shirt with family and friends and maybe some fresh-caught fish after an outing with his father and two brothers. A gentle man, he was a wonderful listener and people were drawn to him as to a sheltering tree. In short, Chris was a good man, the kind of man the Good Lord would brag about. There won't be another like him and this earthly loss is Heaven's gain.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Christopher Herbert Coombs, 27, of Wheaton, Illinois, was found dead by a passerby on the morning of January 4, 1981. He had been killed the night before by blows to the head and left in a ditch by the side of the road. The temperature was 13 degrees below zero with a wind chill of minus 42 degrees, and his body was frozen. Chris had been struck so severely that his skull was fractured from one side to the other. Blood had turned the snow crimson, and where he lay dying, the warmth of his breath and body had melted a patch of snow where tufts of grass showed brown and withered.

Two and one-half years passed before arrests were made of two young men who murdered Chris, who was a stranger to them. The boys were high school seniors at the time of the murder. Their trial lasted three weeks. One was set free and served no time. The other served nine years and nine months and is now free as well. They testified in court that they killed Chris because he had (in their opinion) run a stop sign. Then they went home and ate sandwiches.

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Chris Coombs