Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Pintada Kid on the Case: Part 9. Cover Ups, A Tattooed Man, and More Rattlesnakes

A gas station owner in Quemado recognized the photograph of the four missing vacationers and identified his hand writing on the gas receipt. He was also able to recall the make and model of the car precisely.

Gere then compared the odometer readings from the car found in Dallas to the mileage recorded on the receipt at Quemado. Less than 50 miles were unaccounted for, thus leading the FBI to conclude the car was turned around within 25 miles west of Quemado. A massive search of the roads, canyons and arroyos around Quemado turned up nothing.
~Paul Hardin, El Defensor Chieftain6/7/08

"... it would be hard to find a good place to bury anyone in those rocky grasslands."

The Pintada Kid continues the story of his investigation into the Heberer Lorius case, in his own words. For a list of the entire series, click on the Pintada Kid on the Case tab at the top of the page.

During the years I worked on the Heberer Lorius case, I talked to all kinds of Old Timers who had heard about it.  Some of them had their own ideas about what had happened to those people.  I learned lots of history from the old folks.

However, I believe that the case was probably never solved because of the competition between the FBI and the New Mexico State Police, and because they withheld evidence from each other.

I also feel there was a big Cover up on the case, not only by Law Enforcement, but also on the part of the people who didn't want their relatives to go to jail for the crime. There were also people who were friends with the killers who didn't want them to get caught.

A 90-year old man who died a year or two ago told me he thought the [missing tourists] were buried out towards Roswell.  I disagreed with him at the time, because I had ridden horseback as a kid in lots of those areas and it would be hard to find a good place to bury anyone in those rocky grasslands. Sure, there are sinkholes, but it's too easy a place to search.

I did ask this man if he knew of a tattooed man in the area at the time of the crime and he said there was one guy that they used to call Ding Dong Bob. The Albuquerque Journal talks about a tattooed man with offset ears, who was thought to have been seen driving the Heberer Lorius car. I suspect that this was Ding Dong Bob.

When I was younger, I would hear about the Media coming down and recording interviews with a couple of Old Timers in the area about the Case.  I wasn't interested at the time and I didn't know or care about the mystery of these people getting murdered and buried, supposedly at some business place in Vaughn. Year after year the Media came and interviewed the same old people; not realizing that these very people were friends of those who had plotted the killings. I'm sure that they probably knew more about the Heberer Lorius case than what they told the Media. 

Even my brother-in-law was probably friends with the killer, although he didn't say so. Almost everyone liked him; he was always joking and telling stories about his State Police days.  Years after he retired he was still going out into the back country on crutches--he loved being out in the mountains. He used to tell how he had investigated a case on top of a mountain called Tecolote Peak.  A plane had crashed there years ago, he would say, "and when we got to the top there were people scattered over the side of that mountain but there was no blood." It turned out to be a Plane loaded with Cadavers that had crashed.  He had all kinds of stories.

I was a Pallbearer for my brother-in-law's funeral over 20 years ago and after his death I think I heard they took his coffin out from where he was buried and moved him somewhere else.

The Heberer Lorius case, which rivaled those of Amelia Earhart and the Lindbergh Baby, could probably have been solved a few days after the people first disappeared. However, the investigators were thrown off track by the killers and accomplices, with [contradictory] evidence and false stories. In this way the search was led to an area where there weren't any bodies. By the time the right area was searched, all traces of evidence were gone.

I don't think that the searchers thought about looking in all those Mountainous Mesas, littered with rocks, caves, and house-sized boulders. In these places there were lots of Rattlesnake dens and Giant Rattlesnakes that the Old People called Vivorones. The old people claimed that these big snakes could swallow a goat. In the Land of the Longwalk in Pintada Canyon the Indians drew pictures, which can still be seen today, of these big Rattlesnakes. 

An old friend who is interested in me solving the Heberer Lorius case, and who knows the area and history and the people well, said to me, "You are probably the only one who can go into that area where the bodies are. No one else wants to go in there because of the Rattlesnakes." I guess in a way he was right but I'm not too crazy about getting bitten. I've heard that the Anti Venom for a Snake bite is about 20 thousand dollars not including all the other medical expenses.

Back in 1935 there were lots more Giant Rattlers than there are now.  If you ever heard a Big Rattlesnake sound off SHEEESSSSSSSSSSS you will understand how chilling the Big Rattlesnakes can sound. You Freeze in Your Tracks because the sound of those rattlers is loud and you don't know if it's one Rattlesnake or a dozen.  You sometimes have to wait for the rattler to move before you can see it.

~El Pintada Kid

Tomorrow: The series concludes


becky said...

Reading this post today struck a familiarity with another disappearance in the early 1900's- a documentary I watched on the artist Everett Ruess. They got different stories from every one, and there seemed to be a cover-up or protection of perhaps those who knew something. It is interesting... I'm sure there were people in the HL case that knew something, too, but......?
Looking forward to the conclusion!

Deb from WhatsInMyAttic said...

Hmmmm, I haven't a clue where this is leading...of course, apparently the FBI and State Police didn't, either, so I'm in good company I guess. Well armed, anyway! :0)

Quiet Paths said...

It was a lawless time - also here in MT! Pretty fascinating.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in an area where there were rattlesnakes. Not as big as these but some were pretty big. I don't want anything to do with any kind of snake. I can imagine how the stories by the old timers where changed over the years.