The Unforgiven: Two local journalists look into deaths of three children 16 years ago


Pantagraph courts reporter Edith Brady-Lunny and Ex-WJBC News Director Steve Vogel teamed together to capture 16-years worth of court cases from the deaths of three young children at Clinton Lake. (Photo courtesy: Blake Haas/WJBC)


By Blake Haas

CLINTON – More than 16 years after three young children drowned in Clinton Lake, two local journalists are retelling the story of that night in a new book.

Pantagraph courts reporter Edith Brady-Lunny and former WJBC News Director Steve Vogel teamed together to release a book titled “The Unforgiven: The Untold Story of One Woman’s Search for Love and Justice.”

Through the eyes of Brady-Lunny and Vogel, the goal of the book was to capture the days after the deaths that sent Maurice LaGrone Jr. to life in prison and Amanda Hamm to 14 months behind bars.

Listen to the podcast interview about the book here.

Speaking with WJBC’s Marc Strauss, Brady-Lunny said she had a first-hand look into the trials of LaGrone Jr. and Hamm.

“I had written hundreds of news stories about the Amanda Hamm and Maurice LaGrone (Jr.) cases,” added Brady-Lunny. “I followed them starting with the night of the drowning, which as Sept. 2, 2003. I followed all the way through two murder trials and went on to follow them all the way up to last year in a Chicago court room.”

Already a writer of a New Your Times best-seller, Vogel added this book is unlike any other.

“With Edith (Brady-Lunny) covering the case in real-time, beginning the night of the drowning, we had a lot of detail to work with,” added Vogel. “It’s in the book. Not only is it rich in detail, but also puts some context (to) a lot of the stuff that was going on.”

The Unforgiven is available for purchase on Amazon.

Blake Haas can be reached at [email protected].


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…