Mancuso: Evidence needed to charge Vail in Hensley’s disappearance

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Even though Sharon Hensley was last seen with William Felix Vail in Sulphur in 1973, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso

said evidence would be needed to prove that a crime happened.

Vail, 73, was arrested in Canyon Lake, Texas, Friday and charged with second-degree murder in the 50-year-old drowning death

of his wife, Mary Horton Vail.

Mary Vail was pulled from the Calcasieu River in 1962.

Felix Vail claimed it was an accident that occurred while they were running trot lines. He was arrested and spent three days

in jail. A grand jury later pretermitted the case, meaning it declined to make a decision.

Vail is also a suspect in the disappearances of Hensley, his girlfriend, and his second wife, Annette Craver Vail.

“The common denominator is apparently he was the last person they saw,” District Attorney John DeRosier said Friday night

while waiting for Vail to be flown into Lake Charles Regional Airport.

Vail has claimed he last saw Hensley in Florida. He said she left to sail around the world with an Australian couple.

“We would have to have some type of evidence,” to charge Vail in Hensley’s disappearance, Mancuso said.

“In my opinion, we would have to have

something to indicate that a crime took place here in Calcasieu Parish,”

he said. “Either

find a body, a credible witness or somebody to tell us, look, we

know he took her from this location, and, this is possibly

where they went or what happened.”

The file on Mary Horton Vail’s death was reopened when Mississippi journalist Jerry Mitchell began investigating Felix Vail’s

involvement with the three women.

Calcasieu Coroner Terry Welke examined the autopsy in 2012 and ruled Mary Vail’s death a homicide. The coroner in 1962, Avery

Cook, ruled her death an accidental drowning.

“We can’t go on speculation or hearsay,

we have to go on facts,” Mancuso said. “At least in this case we know

he was the last

one with her, we know what the evidence shows when the body was

recovered and we feel like at least with that amount of evidence,

the coroner re-opening the case and declaring it a homicide, at

least we have some credible evidence that we feel is prosecutable.”

Whether Vail is suspected in the deaths or disappearance of anyone besides the three women “is certainly something at the

top of our list to take a look at,” DeRosier said.