The WAC Murder: Who killed Corporal Maoma Ridings?

A hotel housekeeper found the young woman’s beaten and slashed body in her room at the Claypool Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.

Photo credit: The Indianapolis Star, October 6, 2013

The Murder

Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The Investigation

Detective Fae Davis and Lieutenant Noel Jones of the Indianapolis Police Department arrived at the crime scene.

The Woman in Black

Davis questioned two bellboys named Alfred Bayne and Robert Wolfington, who said they had taken refreshments to Maoma Ridings’ room. Bayne recalled seeing a “black-haired woman” in the room during the evening.

The Investigation Continued

Army authorities originally wanted to join the investigation. A couple of days later, they turned it over to Indianapolis after determining the crime was a case for city officials.

Victim Placed Phone Calls to Three Men

Chief of Detectives Jesse McMurty checked registration and service records of two downtown Indy hotels — the Claypool and the Hotel Severin.

A Possible Suspect Briefly Emerges

In October 1944, police revealed they might have found the “woman in black.”

Photo credit: The Indianapolis Star, October 26, 1944

Another Suspect and Similar Murder

Photo credit: The Indianapolis Star, November 21, 1947

The Dresser Drawer Murder

Photo credit: The Indianapolis Star, July 19, 1954


No one has ever been charged in Maoma Ridings’ murder.


“Denies Killing WAC Corporal.” Vidette-Messenger of Porter County. October 25, 1944. Accessed March 24, 2020.

I have owned a true-crime blog since 2010, where I give insight on various cases. Follow my blog at

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