The Trail Went Cold – Episode 209 – Ralph Probst & Michael O’Mara

April 10, 1967. Hometown, Illinois. Ralph Probst, a 30-year old officer with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, spends the night at home watching television with his wife before he heads into the kitchen. Moments later, Ralph is fatally shot in back of the head after an unknown assailant fires a bullet through the kitchen window. Investigators look into the possibility that Ralph’s murder may have been orchestrated by a notorious mobster or that he was killed because he was secretly working on a big case involving a vice ring, but no arrests are ever made for the crime.

May 30, 1988. Markham, Illinois. After leaving his home to run some errands, Michael O’Mara, a 48-year old veteran captain with Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, stops at a private service area to get some gas. Shortly thereafter, his unmarked police car is discovered at the pump with the nozzle in the fuel tank and Michael’s body is on a nearby grassy area with a gunshot wound to his head. Since Michael’s service revolver is lying to him and a bullet is missing from the chamber, his death is officially ruled to be a suicide. However, Michael’s family is not convinced that he took his own life and uncover some suspicious discrepancies to make them believe he was ambushed and murdered by an unknown party.

On this week’s episode of “The Trail Went Cold”, we explore two separate cold cases involving the suspicious deaths of highly respected law enforcement officers from Cook County. Special thanks to listener Claire Simpson for narrating the opening of this episode.

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Additional Reading:

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“The Trail Went Cold” is going to be appearing on podcast row at  “Crimecon 2021: Austin” at the Fairmont Hotel in Austin, Texas on June  2-4, 2021, as well as “Crimecon UK” at the Leonardo Royal Hotel &  Spa in London on June 12-13, 2021. To get a 10 % discount on the  purchase of tickets to either event, please use our specialized promo  code, “COLD21”, by visiting or

“The Trail Went Cold” is now doing a weekly livestream show on  GetVokl every Thursday from 7:00-8:00 PM ET as part of their “True  Crime Thursday” line-up. For more information, please visit their website.

The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.