Unsolved: Thomas Wayne Grant

Thomas Wayne Grant

Thomas Wayne Grant at his graduation from Boston University School of Law. Courtesy of the Grant Family.

Having a loved one taken from you in a violent way and never knowing why is shattering. That is what Thomas Wayne Grant’ sisters Jane and Pam are going through. There is nothing online and nobody was held accountable.

Jane and Pam remember that their brother worked part-time in the Legal Aid Society’s juvenile division and volunteered for the Jimmy Carter campaign. They fear that Thomas’ murder will be forgotten.

It is indeed difficult to find information online about this case. As of writing, Thomas is not included in any cold case database or index from either the Ohio Attorney General or any of the bigger newspaper databases. There is no honourable mention for passed alumni at his alma mater or at the Ohio Bar Association. Nothing. So yes, this post is incomplete, raises more questions than it answers, and needs more work. However, I want to get this story out now. I want it online to remind people that Thomas’ case is unsolved. His is the Case of the Month for July 2018.

The Case

Attorney Thomas Wayne Grant (March 21, 1947 – Nov 16, 1976) was found murdered on November 16, 1976, in Cleveland (Ohio). He was found in the bathroom of his apartment in Park Centre where he lived since three years. Thomas worked in the estate and tax section of the law firm Squires, Sanders & Dempsey. After several changes, the law firm is now Squire Patton Boggs.

The Crime Scene

Thomas was found face down in just a few inches of water from his partly filled bathtub. I wonder if someone tried to drown him, was unsuccessful, and then killed Thomas in another way. We need to know the order in which his injuries came and for that, we need an autopsy report.

Thomas was found dangling over the rim of the bathtub with his knees on the bathroom floor. He had dripping head wounds. He was wearing a shirt and jeans. I wonder whether his ankles were tied.

Dep. Coroner Charles S. Hirsch said someone knocked Thomas unconscious with a large wooden gavel. He was hit in the face and the head at least five times. His skull was fractured. Then he was strangled. The garrote was most likely the electrical cord that was found hanging loosely around his neck.

Were Thomas knees at a 45 degree angle close to the tub? Somehow it sounds like he died in another way and was then positioned over the rim of the bathtub. Were there any scuff marks on the floor directly underneath his knees and around his feet?

Thomas W.. Grant

Thomas W.. Grant

Did Thomas have any trauma on his neck? Was his skin underneath the wire broken? If the cord was not used he could have been strangled by pressing his neck against a hard surface such as the bathtub rim. Anyway, this cord as well as the gavel should be examined for touch DNA. I hope they have been preserved.

The apartment showed no signs of struggle or forced entry. This most likely means that Thomas opened the door to his killer.

Thomas was dead several hours before he was found. I wish we knew exactly how many hours as it would help to set up a timeline of his last hours alive. We do know that he visited two bars on Monday night into the early Tuesday hours.

The Evidence

According to the family, authorities found a full set of hand prints on the bathroom door. However, at that time police didn’t find a match in their databases. It could not hurt to run that set of prints again.

An unknown finger print e.g. not belonging to Thomas, was found on his sports car. I do not know whether this one print matches any of the ones found on the bathroom door. This print too must be run through databases again.

The roommate

Thomas was found in the afternoon around 4pm by his former roommate Donald A. Cook (22). Was Cook eliminated as a suspect? Not accusing but trying to get more details. According to the papers, Cook moved out two months earlier. How did he get in the building when he found Thomas dead? Did he keep his keys? Was Thomas looking for new roommates? Could this have set him up for burglary?

Unsuspecting Grant

The papers mentioned that Thomas was “known to tell people where he lived.” He also appeared to have frequent casual encounters at home. If this is true, his lifestyle could have opened up many avenues to look for suspects. The entire casual dating scene of the area should be explored concentrating on those two bars he visited. However, remember the possibility he was just looking for another roommate.

I also read that he “frequently flashed cash.” Not sure if this means showing off wealth on his part or that he was known to pay with cash as opposed to credit cards. I would need more context before you can say he was ‘showing off his wealth’. Considering he had a roommate to share the costs of the rent, his wealth seems relative to me.

The apartment is a crucial element as it was part of a twin tower building. It had a security system with guards on duty 24/7 in both tower lobbies. Any cameras that can shed a light on how Cook got into the building? Did the elevators have cameras?

Unescorted guests were only admitted after either the receptionist or the guard checked by intercom with residents. Who was on duty when Thomas died? Is there a sign-in sheet for guests? If so, did Cook sign in? Did Thomas let know the desk he was expecting guests?

The towers had a private 4-level parking garage with a few public spaces. However, I do not think that the public area had an entrance to the twin towers. I think it opened into a mall.

Motive

As far as I know, there is no known motive for this murder. Thomas’ wallet was found near his body. It was empty so that hints at robbery. He did still have a $5 bill in his clothes. The wallet and his clothes need to be examined with the M-Vac.

Possible areas to look for a motive: was Thomas at work involved with a high-profile case? Did he have any enemies? Was he ever threatened or expressed that he was being followed? Did he have a partner? Any recent break-ups? Did Cook have any enemies? Was there ever a break-in of the apartment? I wish I had more information.

Rest in peace, Thomas Wayne Grant.

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In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis and often more information can be found online and in newspaper archives. The goal of these posts is just to get the cases back in the spotlights, to get people talking again, and if anything to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are cold does not mean that we can forget about them.

If you have any thoughts about Thomas Wayne Grant’s case I urge you to post them on your own social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. Every time we mention Thomas’ name online we enhance his digital footprint.

We must make sure that Thomas Wayne Grant keeps his web presence if we ever wish to find answers in his case. You can help by linking to or sharing this post. If you do, the post will show up in new news feeds, reach new people and networks with new connections. And who knows, we may reach someone who can help advance the case. And that is the goal.

Thank you for remembering Thomas Wayne Grant with us.

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Resources

The Plain Dealer from Nov 17, 18, and 19 of 1976 (clippings courtesy of the Grant Family).

About Alice

Human rights defender and cold case blogger.