A Cold Case

Suddenly, a New York cop remembered a long-ago murder.

  1. On November 15, 1944, and Army deserter named Frank Gilbert Koehler was arrested for burglary in New York City. Frankie, as he liked to be called, had no criminal record. He had walked off his post at Fort Dix, New Jersey after suffering unsustainable financial reversals in a crap game, and when it was discovered that he was fifteen years old, and had lied about his age in order to enlist, he was sent to Childrens Court, declared a juvenile delinquent, and returned to military control. Six months later, Koehler, AWOL again, and for good, shot and killed a sixteen-year-old boy in an abandoned building on West Twenty-fourth Street. The next day, he surrendered to a policeman on a street corner, and was taken to a station house, where he confessed. In court, he pleaded guilty, and the judge sent him upstate to serve five years at the Elmira Reformatory. He was released on May 17, 1950, and remained a free man for eight months and nine days, until he was found by police, hiding between the...

The complete text of “A Cold Case” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on www.newyorker.com.

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