'Oldest Possible Serial Killer Case' Ever Uncovered
Journalist's crusade led to Felix Vail's arrest
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jun 28, 2013 3:52 PM CDT
A Felix Vail booking photo.   (Comal County Sheriff)

(Newser) – A grand jury yesterday indicted a man for the murder of his wife—a crime he allegedly committed 50 years ago. Felix Vail, 73, will automatically get life without parole if convicted, reports Jerry Mitchell at the Clarion Ledger, where he calls it "the oldest possible serial killer case in US history." That Vail is in jail at all is largely Mitchell's doing; police re-opened the case of Mary Vail's death after the journalist published a story about the case in November. "I began digging into the case in May 2012," after getting a call from the mother of Annette Vail, another wife of Felix's who disappeared in 1984, he writes in a blog post. "The more I dug, the more questions I had."

Mary Vail died in 1962. Felix reported that she had fallen overboard and drowned during a trotline fishing expedition, but there were numerous contradictions in his story, and when Mitchell checked the autopsy report, he found that she'd had a 4-inch bruise on the back of her neck and a scarf shoved 4 inches into her mouth. In addition to Mary and Annette, Vail's longtime girlfriend, Sharon Hensley, disappeared in 1973. Her brothers are now submitting DNA to a database, and say they hope the indictment gives police time "to fill in the blanks on the other cases."

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Showing 3 of 7 comments
MisterE
Jun 29, 2013 2:25 PM CDT
How is he a "serial killer" only one case seems likely mentioned with evidence.. I was thinking at least 5 deaths attributed to get called a serial killer.
Winston_Smith
Jun 29, 2013 6:17 AM CDT
I believe the reporter meant to say "possibly the oldest serial killer case in US history." Even that's a little confusing, but it at least suggests what he's trying to get across, which is that it would be the serial killer case with the biggest time lapse between when the first murder occurred and the day the killer was finally arrested. Great reporting, but his grammar needs work.
cornelison
Jun 29, 2013 4:18 AM CDT
There are other serial killers out there that we don't know about. Too many will never be found out. The 1st recorded serial killers lived in a huge cave in Scotland (14th Century). They would go to a road and kill whoever was traveling by. The reason for their killing was FOOD if you know what I mean.