Equestrian Center Could be Burial Site for Heiress Helen Brach

Chicago candy heiress Helen Voorhees Brach disappeared 45 years ago – and she remains the wealthiest woman in Illinois ever to have disappeared.

Some who have followed the Brach case say there is new ground to cover. A northwest suburban equestrian center that insiders say could have been a prime burial spot for her murderers was bulldozed this week.

As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported Thursday, critics say searching at the old Glen Grove Equestrian Center site is an expensive needle-in-a-haystack effort. Others say it is worth exploring to solve one of Chicago’s most mysterious disappearances.

In 1977, the candy heiress was worth an estimated $24 million.

“The Brach murder is one of the top mysteries of the Chicago area – there’s no question about it,” said retired CBS 2 reporter John Drummond, who covered the case for CBS 2 for decades. “The wealthiest woman to have ever disappeared.”

“Helen was the richest woman to ever disappear — in the world — without a trace,” said David Wallach, who produced a documentary on Brach’s disappearance, “and the rumor was she was buried under Glen Grove Equestrian Center – and now it’s gone.”

Both men believe there is reason for authorities to dig into a piece of land in north suburban Morton Grove. That land until just this week was the home to the Glen Grove Equestrian Center, which back in 1977 had the attention of Brach investigators.

“I understood at one time, I thought the authorities had gone to the scene there and did some digging looking for the body of Mrs. Brock,” Drummond said.

The facility was going up — with fresh concrete — at the exact same time Brach disappeared. 

“Let’s go back a second time and make sure, because there always was rumors that that’s where Mrs. Brock’s body was — in that stable at Harms and Golf Road in Morton Grove,” Drummond said.

Federal prosecutors over the years indicated the so-called horse mafia was connected to her disappearance.

“It was, I think, the dirty secret of the industry – and it’s now come out of the closet,” federal prosecutor Steve Miller said in July 1994 upon the filing of an indictment in the Brach case.

That’s federal prosecutor Steve Miller from years ago.

Tye caught up with Miller on Thursday.

“She could be buried anywhere,” Miller said. “The most likely burial site, if there was one, would be a place with ties to the equestrian community in the greater Chicagoland area.”

Miller says digging up the Morton Grove land — while equestrian-related and close to Brach’s Glenview home — is a stretch. 


“I think it’s a waste of resources unless there’s a concrete lead pointing to a specific geographical location,” Miller said.

Glenview police, who lead the cold case, designate it as “investigable.” But they do not have any new evidence to warrant a new search.

Glenview police are open to new tips in a case Drummond frames this way: “I think since World War II, really since that time, it’s been the biggest disappearance we’ve had here – and it’s still a disappearance.”

Brach was financially and romantically connected to the man who was later convicted of conspiracy in the case. Richard Bailey was a horse salesman.

This is all why authorities believe a so-called horse mafia was connected to all this.  

In 1994, Miller secured a conspiracy conviction against Bailey, but not a murder charge.

Meanwhile, in the end, most of Brach’s fortune went to animal welfare charities.

Even 45 years later, investigators ask anyone with information to call Glenview police.

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