Daniel Anthony Mitrione, Sr., Class of 1941

Daniel Anthony Mitrione, Sr., class of 1941, joined the Richmond police force when he came home from World War II after serving four years in the navy.  He was appointed police chief by Mayor Roland Cutter in 1947 and shortly thereafter completed training with the FBI.  Mitrione worked with police departments in Brazil and Uruguay, presumably teaching public safety techniques but in actuality was teaching interrogation tactics as part of Operation Airlift. This was an FBI program designed to combat drug cartel smuggling into the United States.

In July 1970, the Tupamaro guerilla group in Montevideo, Uruguay, captured Mitrione and tortured and killed him. President Nixon sent his son-in-law, David Eisenhower, to Richmond to attend the funeral.  Reports of the funeral attended by Eisenhower were carried in the national news.

Frank Sinatra read a two-paragraph article from his home in California and was touched by the fact that Daniel Mitrione and his widow, Henrietta, were the parents of ten children.  Sinatra arranged for Jerry Lewis and himself to perform a benefit concert for the family, flying his orchestra in from New York City in August 1970.  Andy Cecere, city attorney, managed the preparations as Sinatra invited the entire Richmond fire and police departments to attend the concert.  More than four thousand filled Civic Hall as Sinatra and Lewis used class-rooms as dressing rooms. The RHS marching band greeted all of the guests at the Richmond Municipal Airport.

Over $75,000 was raised to establish a college trust fund for the ten children, which helped all ten graduate from college, according to Wayne Stidham, class of 1934, former bank president.

Son Daniel A. Mitrone, Jr., also became an FBI agent serving on the Drug Task Force created by President George H. W. Bush in 1982.

A movie, State of Siege in 1973, and a novel, Hidden Terrors by A. J. Langguth, in 1978, recalled Mitrione’s story and death. A plaque honoring Daniel A. Mitrione hangs in the   Richmond City Building.

































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