The Central Virginian

Follow Us On:

Police Search Evans Place Today In Disappearance Case, Hope To Discover Clue Regarding Missing Woman

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 5:00 am

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Russell Evans in a photograph taken prior to her disappearance in March 1954. Photo from The Central Virginian, Thursday, June 29, 1961

Having exhausted all leads I the Fredericksburg and Washington area, plice are continuing their investigation in Louis today in the strange disappearance on March 3, of Mrs. Hazel (“Pat”) Hoey Evans, 56-year-old wife of Henry R. Evans, residents of the Bibb Store section for the past seven years.

Police officers from Fredericksburg, RF&P railway detectives and State Troopers, together with Louisa County Sheriff William Bickers, Deputy James D. Pierce and Town Sgt. Luther Hall conducted a search of the Evans premises today in hopes of finding some clue to the reason for her mysterious vanishment. If the probe here discloses nothing of importance, the case will be referred to the FBI.

Mr. Evans reported he took his wife to the RF&P Railway station in Fredericksburg on March 3 to catch the 12:44 p.m. train to Washington for a two-day visit with friends in Arlington and Silver Spring, Maryland and to see a doctor for a check-up. He stated that after purchasing a ticket for her on the reserved seat train, he left her in the depot when she went to make a phone call to friends in Arlington a short time before the train was due, and that he did not see her board the train. He told police he was to meet her in Arlington at the home of friends on the following Friday evening, but when he arrived there he learned she had never appeared and that her friends knew nothing of her whereabouts nor had they received a telephone call from her on Wednesday.

Evans says he contacted al of her relatives know to him and they had no knowledge of her. He then filed a missing person report with the Fredericksburg police on Saturday, March 6, who have been working on the case since that time.

He stated that his wife was in good health, but since her disappearance he has learned from friends that she seemed blue and discouraged at times, although he had not noticed it. Evans says they “have been married form 30 years, got along nicely together, and he knew of no reason for her to leave nor had she ever threatened to do so.”

Supt. A.G. Kendall and t. C.E. Kendall, of Fredercksburg, and E.K. Picknell, assistant chief special agent for the RF&P, came to Louisa Wednesday and conferred with Sheriff Bickers, Evans and neighbors of the couple. Upon receiving information that the missing woman had a very good friend in Arizona, police contacted authorities in Tucson on Wednesday to find out if they knew of her whereabouts.

Supt. Kendal said “railroad authorities report the ticket was not used and a check with the doctor named by Evans revealed that Mrs. Evans was unknown to him and had no appointment.”

Evans said his wife was wearing a grey dress with a light colored topper when last seen by him, as well as two diamond rings worth $500 and a 20-diamond hair pin, also valued at $500. She took a large traveling bag, carried a heavier coat on her arm, and had sufficient money with her to travel some distance. She was described as having grey hair, blue eyes and light complexion.

Reprinted from The Central Virginian Thursday, March 25, 1954

 

Smoke, heat and debris hinder Louisa firemen in their effort to determine if the fire at the Evans home had claimed a victim.

Burned house…charred body…missing woman intertwine mystery of Evans Family here

The mystery of the disappearance seven years ago of Mrs. Hazel “Pat” Hoey Evans of Louisa at the age of 56 has been intertwined further by the finding Monday morning, June 26, 1961, of a charred body believed to be that of her husband. Henry Russell Evans, 62, a retired Naval officer, in the ruins of their burned home on the Bibb Store Road.

Once again, State Police Investigator R.P. Rainey Jr., is back in Louisa aiding local authorities and anticipates a solution of the secret of the double mystery of the Evans Family.

According to Investigator Rainey, Dr. Geoffrey T. Mann, state medical examiner in Richmond, stated that the male victim was shot through the roof of the mouth with a gun but positive identification is yet to be revealed, pending additional medical records from the U.S. Navy in Washington.

The first inkling of trouble at the Evans home was indicated in the local telephone office when the night operator noticed the light, which represented phone 262, (Evans’ telephone line) burning permanently at 2:35 a.m. Monday. Under routine procedure, Vernon L. Dunn of Trevilians, a telephone repairman, made a call to the home after reporting for duty that morning and discovered that the house had burned.

The 1957 Plymouth two-door sedan, belonging to Henry R. Evans, was found Monday morning parked in the driveway 150 feet from the Evans fire site with the key in the ignition, his billfold containing one dollar and papers along with his hat on the front seat and scattered miscellaneous literature.

Mr. Evans’ car was found parked in his driveway about 50 yards from the dwelling, headed toward the highway with the ignition key in the switch. Not being able to located Mr. Evans after seeing his care there, Dunn called Louisa Fire Chief Henry J. Woolfolk around 9:15 a.m. advising him that the house had been demolished by fire. When Mr. Woolfolk and local firemen reached the Evans place, about five miles from Louisa, they found the six-room bungalow burned to the ground, it metal roof curled over the smoking ashes, and only the two end chimneys standing.

Town Sergeant Luther F. Hall arrived on the scene before the firemen and was joined by Sheriff W.T. Johnson. While a search of the premises was made for Mr. Evans, the firemen used two tanks of water in cooling the debris, and around 11:30 a.m. discovered a body lying on the cement basement floor with a 12-gauge automatic Remington shotgun across its legs. According to deputy Sheriff Johnson, the gun had been fired and a shell was in the chamber.

At the request of Dr. Mann, the body was taken to Richmond around noon Monday where a thorough examination was made by the state medical examiner, and the body returned to Louisa later that afternoon and remains in the local funeral home pending identification. If proven to be the body of Mr. Evans, it will be sent to Cairo, West Virginia, for burial.

Investigator Rainey stated Tuesday afternoon that it had not been determined if the cause of death was accidental, suicide, or homicide; although he said “Preliminary investigation indicates possible suicide in the case; however, the investigation is incompletes.” He further stated that he would be in Louisa during the week on the case completing a thorough investigation, which will include sifting the rubble of the fire, interviewing dozens of people and inspection of the Evans’ car. He is being assisted by State Trooper Julian C. Eckard and Sheriff Proffitt. Rainey said “The sheriff and I are keeping an open mind and conducting a thorough investigation in the matter. I feel that when positive identification is made, we will be able to release more information to you.”

According to a close neighbor and friend of Mr. Evans, who viewed the gun at the request of the authorities, he said, “although the gun has been through a fire, making it impossible for me to definitely identify, I would say it is Evans’ gun.”

The origin of the fire has not been determined, but according to Fire Chief Woolfolk, “It appeared the whole house burned about the same time.” A five-gallon gasoline can with the top chained to it was found late Wednesday. Finger prints from this and the car were expected to be processed today. A nearby neighbor stated that she was on her porch until 11:15 p.m. Sunday and up at 5:45 a.m. Monday and neither heard nor saw anything unusual at the Evans place. She did not learn of the fire until much later in the morning.

Mr. Evans was last seen around 2 a.m. Monday by S.E. Hottinger, Louisa night watchman, who observed him drive west on Main Street, stopping in front of May’s 5¢ and 10¢ store. Mr. Hottinger said that Evans left his car, walked across the sidewalk in the vicinity of the post office, returned to his car, turned around at Beeler’s Radio Sales and Service, and very slowly drove back through town, turning on Fredericksburg Avenue (which leads to his home). Forrest Rosson reported that Mr. Evans came to his place of business in Louisa around 10 p.m. Sunday, cashed a small check and got 50 pounds of dog food from him, appearing to be in good spirits.

Mr. Evans had continued to live at his home on the Bibb Store Road since the mysterious disappearance of his wife in March 1954 – one of the state’s most baffling missing persons cases. The last time that Mr. Evans was supposed to have seen his wife was when he left her in a railroad station in Fredericksburg March 3, 1954, to board a Washington-bound RF&P train to see a doctor and visit friends in Arlington. Several days later when Evans went there to pick her up, he found she had never arrived at her destination. An intensive investigation through the seven years revealed no clues as to the fate or whereabouts of Mrs. Evans.

In June 1959, Mr. Evans filed a suit in Louisa Circuit Court for divorce on the grounds of desertion, which is still pending. Last week, a legal notice began a four-time insertion in this paper in which he entered an order against Hazel Regina Cooke Evans, to have her declared dead because of her disappearance for seven years successively without being heard from. This action was taken in order to settle her estate if any be found and for general relief.

Mr. and Mrs. Evans purchased the 100-acre farm and dwelling from Ryland S. Dickinson on September 6, 1946, moving here from the Washington area two years later. A retired lieutenant-commander, he was active in the organization of the local Farm Bureau, serving as its secretary-treasurer from 1953 and was also its local insurance agent until his resignation April 28, 1961.

 

News Flash:

Evans Body Identifies; suicide letter sent

 

Investigators for the Louisa County Sheriff Department, state police and chief medical examiner indicate that Henry Russell Evans committed suicide and his body was positively identified by dental records today by Dr. Geoffrey T. Mann, state medical examiner.

Further investigation reveals that Mr. Evans had bad health and financial difficulty. A short time before his death, he mailed a letter to a close friend of his. The friend has requested that his name be withheld. A three-page letter concerning confidential information is interpreted as a suicide message. The letter is now in the possession of the state police.

Mr. Evans informed Investigator R.P. Rainey, Jr. some time ago that he had been unhappy since Mrs. Evans’ disappearance. When Mrs. Evans was reported missing, certain circumstances caused the state police to think that she had met with foul play. The criminal investigation concerning Mr. Evans had almost been completed. However, the case of Mrs. Evans is still pending and is yet a “missing person.” The investigation concerning Mrs. Evans will continue until she or her body has been located.