Eleanor Jarman (born 1904; date of death unknown) was an American runaway, fugitive from justice, and robber who was jailed, escaped from jail in 1940, was placed on the FBI ten most wanted fugitives list, and remains missing.
Early life and crime career
Jarman was born to Julius and Amelia Berendt, the youngest of eight children, in Sioux City, Iowa. She married and had two children with a man called Leroy Jarman. When Jarman left the family, she moved to Chicago, Illinois and worked in odd jobs until she met George Dale. Dale supported her, although Jarman later claimed that she did not know Dale did it by robbery.
On August 4, 1933, Dale, Jarman and Leo Minneci tried to rob a clothing store in Chicago's far West Side. In a struggle with the shop owner, Gustav Hoeh, Jarman clawed at him, but then Dale shot him.
When the robbers drove away, several witnesses noted the license plate. That led police to Minneci, who blamed the other two, who were soon arrested. Dale blamed Minneci for the robbery. Jarman said that she did not know which one did it. She claimed she was in the back room looking for clothes.
However, witnesses described how Jarman and Dale had entered the store and claimed she had threatened the clerk. Press made her a major player in all of Dale's crimes, dubbed her “the Blond Tigress” and compared her to Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde).
George Dale was sentenced to die in the electric chair. As his last wish, he wrote a love letter to Jarman. Minneci and Jarman were sentenced to jail, Jarman for 199 years, one of the longest criminal sentences ever imposed at the time. Her children were sent to live with her older sister and her husband, Hattie and Joe Stocker, in Sioux City, Iowa.
A model prisoner
For the next seven years, Jarman was a model prisoner. In 1940, according to her family, she heard that her son was about to run away, and concerned about her children, escaped the prison on August 8, 1940. She apparently went to Sioux City, Iowa, confirmed that her children were all right and then went underground. She was put into the FBI's Most Wanted list, but was never found.
The 1975 meeting
Over the next thirty-five years, Jarman maintained surreptitious contact with her family through classified ads. In 1975, she arranged a secret meeting with her brother and sister-in-law, Otto and Dorothy Berendt, and her son, Leroy, who was in his fifties at the time. During this meeting, which the family disclosed decades later, Leroy tried to persuade Jarman to give herself up. She refused, though she said she was not worried about capture, believing the authorities had long since stopped looking for her. Communications with her family through newspaper ads tapered off in the mid-1990s. Attempts by relatives to have her officially pardoned failed. Although she remains officially a fugitive, it is likely that she is dead and that her death was recorded under whatever alias she was using. As of 2016, if she were still alive, she would be 112 years old.
- Gribben, Mark (2006-07-28). "Eleanor Jarman Please Phone Home". The Malefactor's Register. Retrieved 2008-12-29.