Born April 27th, 1945 in Rockford, IL. Attended Rockford Public Schools and graduated in 1963 from East High School. 1963 to 1967 served in the US Navy as a TMSN Torpedoman aboard the SS346, USS Corporal, a Balio GuppyIII Class Diesel Submarine. Honorably discharged from the Navy in the spring of 1967.
In the summer of 1967, 22 year old Mayborne applied and was accepted as a Deputy Sheriff with the Winnebago County, IL Sheriff’s Department. He soon established himself as an outstanding young officer receiving several commendations for excellence, service and valor. He helped establish the County’s Water Rescue & Recovery Dive Team along with the Department’s Bomb Squad. He even had to purchase his own diving equipment early on due to lack of funding for these new units. Perfect example of his commitment to duty and service to the community. But this was typical of Mike, dedicated servant to the public and a loyal officer to his department.
In September 1967 he married his High School sweetheart Terry Lynn Anderson. They soon started a family with the birth of Kimberly in 1970 and then Jennifer in 1972. They settled into a small two-story home on Bennett Street in Loves Park, IL. Some would say, the typical, young American family.
In 1973 Mike was selected to become the youngest Sheriff’s Deputy to make Detective in Winnebago County history. He was just 27 years old. The one’s who knew him well, were not surprised. He loved his job and his work in the County. His fellow officers knew his career was bright and he could one day become Sheriff.
A perfect example of Mike’s commitment to his community can be defined in just one story. During his off-duty hours, he conducted swimming classes for troubled youth at the Durand Boys Farm. There are many more examples like this one of Mike’s sacrifice for others.
People like Mike are rare and we are gifted with these special souls maybe once in a lifetime. But he was the real deal. Take it from one who he helped greatly. Mike had no concern for himself but only helping others. Everyone he came in contact with felt he was special. He honored all of us with his friendship and guidance. I truly believe my life was touched by a real American Hero and one of God’s brilliant creations.
March 15, 1974
This early spring day was overcast and chilly. The day started like most with Mike heading out the door for work and Terry home with the girls. He is dressed like many plain clothes Detectives of the time in dress slacks, turtle neck shirt and sport jacket. His department issued Colt 357 firearm in a holster on his belt with his handcuffs dangling through his belt in the back. He carries his Detectives badge in his breast pocket of his sport coat.
He jumps into his department unmarked Chevy Impala patrol car and heads into Rockford and his office. There he meets up with partner Detective Burgess and they receive their daily assignments. Both are dispatched to investigate a homicide in South Beloit and collect evidence.
Early afternoon while heading back into the Rockford area on Highway 251 they receive an “All Points Bulletin” over their police radio. “All units be on the lookout for a late model, Dodge and two armed bank robbery suspects”. The Poplar Grove State Bank had just been robbed at gun point by two men and they have taken the Bank President hostage. Suspect vehicle was last seen headed west into Winnebago County.
Mike and his partner decide to go into Loves Park thinking the suspects may be heading back into the Rockford area. As they enter Loves Park they notice a car fitting the description of the suspect vehicle. It is parked near a bar that’s a known hangout for local criminals. They radio in the information, call for backup and decide to investigate.
Both Detectives plan to cover the exits of the establishment until backup arrives. Detective Burgess covering the front entrance and Detective Mayborne the rear. Little did either officer know, one suspect Theodore Bacino is not in the bar but holdup next door in a small barbershop. He is holding the barber and customers hostage at gun point. Other police units begin to arrive at the scene and the level of police activity begin to spook Bacino.
Bacino decides to make a break for it out the rear of the barbershop. He attempts to take the barber with him with his gun at the mans head. But the barber makes a break for safety out the front of the business. With gun in hand, Bacino bolts out the back of the shop and heads for the nearby neighborhood. He needs to pass through a small, narrow alley between two metal buildings and away from officers arriving at the front. The problem for Bacino is, Detective Mayborne is blocking his only escape.
Mike warns Bacino to drop his weapon. Bacino fires one round hitting Mayborne in the chest through his badge. Detective Mayborne, seriously wounded, drops to his knees and fires one round hitting Bacino in the abdomen. Bacino stunned but continues towards Mayborne. Now standing over the wounded Detective, Mayborne’s left hand out stretched in an attempt to halt Bacino. Bacino fires a second .38 caliber round into the Detective’s hand and a third final round into Mayborne’s head killing the Detective instantly. Bacino aware other officers are approaching, falls to the ground along side Mayborne.
Theodore Bacino’s account is very different then eyewitness accounts and evidence. He tries to explain his act of murder by saying it was an accident. He claims, Mike and him wrestled and during the struggle and his gun happened to discharge. He claims Detective Mayborne was not dressed like a Police Officer yet he says in his own words, “he knew Mike was Law Enforcement”. In a final sickening account, murderer Bacino claims Detective Mayborne’s kindness got him killed. “He was too kind” and didn’t shoot first.
Eyewitness testimony in court detailed the final shot fired that afternoon. While Detective Mayborne is wounded and on his knees, Bacino fires a final round into the officers head while standing over the downed Mayborne. The shot was in a downward direction and in execution style ending the officers life. Evidence in court also discredit Bacino’s story that the two men wrestled.
In seconds other officers arrive and secure the scene. They cuff suspect Bacino while Mike lay bleeding and possibly dead. Efforts to save Mike Mayborne’s life fail as he is rushed to the hospital along with the wounded Bacino. As doctors work on the suspect’s gunshot wound, in the adjoining room, 27 year old Detective Mike Mayborne is pronounced dead.
Terry is home with her two girls as marked police cars pull into her driveway. She sees the cars but doesn’t see Mike. Thoughts quickly pass through her mind and turn into concern. She opens the front door and seeing the officer’s in tears, she knows. They only tell her, Mike has been shot and they need to take her to the hospital. They have orders not to tell her Mike is gone. But passion and concern overcome these fine young men. For they too have families and carry the same fear that they also may not return home safe someday. They tell her to prepare for the worst and to be strong.
Terry arrives at Rockford Memorial Hospital and in clear view of suspect Bacino in the room next to Mike’s. As she weeps, she says her final goodbye to her husband.
Bacino survives his wound and is charged with first-degree murder, Federal bank robbery and kidnapping. He remains in the hospital delaying his release to jail by re-injuring his wound several times. His trial is set for the fall of 1974.
Bacino had a history of crime prior to 1974. In the 1960’s he had been released from prison on parole after serving several years for armed robbery and kidnapping. He robbed his own neighbor and held this person at gunpoint for several hours before giving up to police.
Bacino decided to rob this small bank at gunpoint to pay off old gambling debits. He took the Bank President hostage for protection (his words). When asked, protection from who? He always responds, “from the police of course”. Mr. Bacino expected a confrontation with police and was prepared to use his .38 handgun, we now painfully know. In a clear act of greed and crime, this crook took the life of a decorated serviceman, family man, outstanding Law Enforcement Officer and true American Hero. This career criminal devastated families, a police department and weakened an entire community.
A Community Mourns
A few painful days after the March 15th incident the Family, the Sheriff’s Department and the Community honored Officer Mayborne and he was laid to rest. The memorial service unbelievably moving
and somber. Mike’s family still in shock and his fellow officers weep at the loss of their friend.
Over 100 Police agencies attended the funeral. 300 vehicle funeral procession, hundreds of police officers, Government officials and hundreds of regular citizens pay their respects to Fallen Officer Michael Mayborne in a respectful ceremony.
One of the darkest days in our family’s history and also in the history of our great community. Mike had so much to live for and achieve, after all, he was just 28 years old. His whole life was ahead of him with many ambitions left uncompleted.
The family will never know the years of warm memories missed, lost forever on the that fateful March day. All because of the act of one man, many dreams and hopes dashed forever.
Our family received wonderful support from the Sheriff’s Department, the Police Union, the media and the local community. There was a celebrity basketball game, special community events and countless letters of sympathy. In a incredible unselfish act and guided by her powerful faith, Terry sends and small amount of money to Theodore Bacino’s family. For they too are victims of Mr. Bacino’s criminal act.
Mike received the highest honor given to a Police Officer, “The Medal of Valor”.
For months the support unending and greatly appreciated. But eventually life moves on and the event fades from minds and into history. But Mike’s young family is now without a leader, a Husband, a Daddy. Their pain and suffering continues without end. Terry must now lead her two little girls, Kimberly-4, and Jennifer-2 through these dark times and into a brighter future. All the while, watching as Mr. Bacino, who murdered their loving father and husband, receives 75-124 years for his death and the chance for parole in 7 years.
Story, Diagram & Commentary by: Ken Anderson
Mike Mayborne, WCSO Detective, EOW 3.15.74 by gunfire. The family of Detective Mayborne fights parole of his killer each and every year.
To Help Visit: www.mikemayborne.com
Trained US Army Redstone Arsenal for Bomb Detection, Recovery & Disposal