Archive for Friday, March 30, 1973

Leads lacking in triple murder

March 30, 1973


Investigating authorities in Ottawa said this morning they had no leads in the murder of three persons — two of them from Lawrence — whose bodies were found Thursday in a car southeast of Ottawa.

The victims are Mrs. Hazel Avery, 53, 620 Alabama; her son Steven, 22, Iola, and Gary Longfellow, 23, 101 Mich., Lot 22.

Authorities said investigations would continue today on the blockaded mile stretch of the coutny road in Franklin County where the bodies were found. The investigation extended today into Anderson County to the south with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation assisting.

Autopsies performed today indicated all were shot more than once and each victim was shot at least once in the head or neck, Franklin County Attorney Robert Pinet said today.

The bodies of young Avery and Longfellow were found in the back seat of the car, each against a door and facing the inside. Mrs. Avery was against the front seat facing towards the back of the car.

Pinet said no weapon was found at the murder scene that “would lead one to believe suicide was not involved.” Pinet also said robbery did not appear to be a motive.

Pinet said the murder weapon was a gun alrger than a .22 caliber but would not disclose if authorities had yet determined what size weapon was used in the slayings.

The autopsy reports indicated death occurred sometime in the early morning hours on Wednesday, but searchs of the murder scene have located no weapon or motive for the killings, he said.

The bodies were discovered about noon Thursday, in a car registered to Mrs. Avery in Douglas County.

Authorities searched until late Thursday the area located between a nearby nursery field and a cornfield, using a metal detector from an Ottawa National Guard unit, but found nothing significant, a sheriff’s office spokesman said.

The victims were reported missing Wednesday by Longfellow’s father, Delbert, who asked Douglas County Sheriff Rex Johnson to help locate the three.

Miss Glenna Davis, young Avery’s aunt, said she last heard from Mrs. Avery late Tuesday night after Mrs. Avery had received a telephone call from Steven, who was hitchhiking to Lawrence from Iola.

Miss Davis said Mrs. Avery was leaving Lawrence that night with Longfellow, a friend of Avery’s, to pick up young Avery who was stranded at Richmond about 13 miles south of Ottawa.

Miss Davis said that Delbert Longfellow was the last to talk to Mrs. Avery and Longfellow left Lawrence at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to drive to Richmond.

Miss Davis said she did not know if anything Mrs. Avery said that night indicated that someone else might have been with young Avery when he called his mother in Lawrence.

Avery was traveling to Lawrence to meet Longfellow order to appear a as a witness Wednesday in a paternity suit hearing involving Longfellow in Jefferson County.

The suit was brought against Longfellow last May and was dismissed Wednesday in Jefferson County District Court in Oskaloosa for lack of evidence even though the two men were not t the hearing.

Funeral services are scheduled for Longfellow, and those for Mrs. Avery are pending.

The funeral for the Longfellow will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Rumsey Funeral Home with Rev. M.C. Allen in charge.

Born April 2, 1949, Longfellow, is survived by his parents Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Longfellow, 101 Mich., Lot 22; a sister, Mrs. Anita Whitehead, Salina; two brothers, Sterling, 2729 Maverick, and Jay, who is in the service stationed at Cherry point, N.C.; and his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Steele, 1201 Pa.

Funeral services for both Mrs. Avery and her son are pending and will be announced by the Rumsey Funeral Home.

Mrs. Avery’s survivors include wife Dianne, and a daughter, Stephanie, 13 months; his father; and his wife’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gene Blakesley, Welda.

Avery with his family had lived in Iola about one month.

Avery and his family had grown up in Lawrence and Longfellow was a student at the Lawrence School of Hairstyling.

Longfellow had worked part-time at the Journal-World when he was in high school and was a Vietnam veteran.

Mrs. Avery was a practical nurse in Lawrence and was separated from her husband, Dale, who lives in Topeka.


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