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Jack Reed, Detective in Dianne Masters Case Who Uncovered Corruption in Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Dies at 82

His investigation into the death of Dianne Masters led to conspiracy convictions against two colleagues and inspired a book and the TV crime drama, “Deadly Matrimony,” starring Brian Dennehy.

Detective Jack Reed could solve cases that others couldn’t.

At the Cook County sheriff’s office in the 1980s, he led an investigation into the murder of Dianne Masters.

The case had been cold for four years when he began working on it in 1986. His investigation uncovered a network of corrupt fellow officers and led to conspiracy charges against Masters’ husband, Alan, and two others.

The celebrated case inspired a TV movie, “Deadly Matrimony” and a series of crime dramas, “Jack Reed,” in the 1990s that starred Brian Dennehy as Reed.

Mr. Reed also inspired the 1993 book, “Shattered Hopes: A True Crime Story of Marriage, Murder, Corruption and Cover-up in the Suburbs” by Barbara Schaaf.

For Mr. Reed’s former partner at the sheriff’s office, it was clear why he cracked the case: He made sources comfortable to speak.

“He had this ability to get people to confide and talk,” said Paul Sabin, now an attorney in the north suburbs. “He was the best partner I ever had. He just exuded so much credibility and integrity.”

Jack Reed
Jack Reed

Mr. Reed died July 22, surrounded by family at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital after a resurgence of cancer, his family said. He was 82.

In the Masters case, Mr. Reed and Sabin spent two years gathering evidence and reporting to the FBI, not the sheriff’s office, about their progress.

The investigation into the 1982 murder, rebooted after a separate federal investigation uncovered new evidence, found that Masters’ killing was covered up by sheriff’s Lt. James Keating, Willow Springs Police Chief Michael Corbitt and Dianne Masters’ husband, Alan.

The three were convicted in 1989 of federal conspiracy charges in Dianne Master’s death.

During the investigation, co-workers criticized Mr. Reed.

His son, John Michael Reed, remembers when his father’s supervisor came to their front door to intimidate him.

Although he was a child and didn’t know the details of the encounter at the time, he remembers how it showed his father separating work from home life.

“I never knew about that — even at home. … It’s mind-boggling a supervisor would try to intimidate him off the case,” said Reed, now a sergeant at the Naperville Police Department.

Mr. Reed helped secure convictions in the Masters case by getting several women to talk who did not feel comfortable speaking in the first investigation. The women had overheard their partners talking about the murder.

“It was the men bragging about it,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 1990. “We were bumbling with no sense of direction until then. They gave us an outline of what had happened.”

Jack Reed’s high school yearbook entry.
Jack Reed’s high school yearbook entry.

That testimony helped expose a culture of silence in the sheriff’s department. Alan Masters, an attorney in the south suburbs, had deep connections within the department that helped him cover up the murder, prosecutors had said. Alan Masters had litigated 50 no-fee divorces for 50 sheriff’s officers and done work for police officers in several suburbs.

Born John Jerome Reed on July 30, 1940, at Loretto Hospital to James and Honora (O’Shea) Reed, he attended St. Jude Seminary School and later served in the Marine Corps from 1961-67, most of it in Okinawa, his son said.

Mr. Reed had studied to be a priest before dedicating himself to law enforcement, his son said.

He met the love of his life, Arlene, in 1966 when he was her driving instructor and asked her out. They married the next year.

Mr. Reed was a detective, and later a lieutenant, in the sheriff’s office from 1966 to 1998. In retirement, he sometimes consulted with detectives on their cases, his son said.

Mr. Reed was devoted to his career.

“It wasn’t work for him. It was who he was. It was his vocation,” his son said.

But he was also loyal to his family and was a leader of his son’s Boy Scout troop.

Mr. Reed is survived by his wife, son and daughter, Nicole T. Reed; grandchildren Sarah Bier, Madeline Bier, Sophia Reed, Roland Reed; and brother James “Jim” Reed.

Visitation is 3-8 p.m. Monday and 9:30-10:15 a.m. Tuesday at Robert J. Sheehy & Sons Funeral Home, 9000 W. 151st St., Orland Park.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Michael Church, 14327 Highland Ave., Orland Park.

Source : chicago.suntimes.com