In this photo, Marie Comforti is photographed after being captured, along with Jean Delaney Crompton and Helen Gillis, at the Little Bohemia Lodge in Northern Wisconsin, April 23, 1934.
The girlfriend of Homer Van Meter, “Mickey” was an elementary school graduate who had not attended high school. In 1933, young women often went out to work, and a higher education like high school was often out of the question. Marie took a job in a Chicago "Five and Dime," which offered lipsticks and small trinkets to neighborhood women and girls shopping with pennies. It was the height of the Depression in America, and nobody had much money. Only the gangsters had money, and parolees like
She posed as his wife, using names like “Mrs. Hank Adams,” “Mrs. Wayne Heuttner” and “Mrs. Henry Ober.” It was an era when a woman traveling with a man was forced by society’s mores to pose as a married woman. She was pert and pretty, snippy and not especially liked by the other gang members. Marie was one of the three women captured on April 22, 1934 at the Little Bohemia Lodge, and was interrogated for days until she agreed to give information. She then returned to Van Meter, but the trust between the two had
disappeared by then. She blamed him for abandoning her, and he suspected she had talked to the FBI.
After Van Meter was killed, exactly one month after John Dillinger on August 24, 1934, Marie turned herself in on a Chicago street corner. By September, 1934, she knew that her former protectors had turned to the St. Paul police to kill Van Meter, while she attended a movie in St. Paul. Angered at her former friends, including Tom Gannon and Frank Kirwin, who had put Van Meter “on the spot,” she agreed to talk to the FBI.
She expressed no remorse over the death of FBI Inspector Samuel Cowley, killed at the Battle of Barrington by Baby Face Nelson and John Paul Chase. Her flippant attitude toward Sam Cowley angered the FBI, and she was not given a lighter sentence although she had informed. She was convicted of Harboring Van Meter, and sentenced to serve one year and one day. After she was released from prison, she was re-arrested. She was charged with the same crime but in a different Federal jurisdiction, along with Ella Finerty, her former landlady, and returned to prison in 1936. She was one of two women who was tried twice for the same crime but in a different location.
It is a common misconception that Opal Milligan, a St. Paul woman who was part of the clique of Harry Sawyer and his "guy Friday," Pat Reilly, had fingered Van Meter. While the allegations tarnished her reputation enough to cause a violation of her parole, Opal Milligan was never taken seriously as either a girlfriend of Van Meter or major player in his death by the FBI.