Vail charged with murder in 1962 drowning of wife

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Felix Vail arrived in Lake Charles on a Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office plane late Friday night.

Vail, charged Friday with second-degree murder in the 1962 death of his wife Mary Horton Vail, was arrested Friday afternoon

in Comal County, Texas.

A person who answered the phone at the Comal County Jail said Vail was arrested at 4:34

p.m. and was released to Calcasieu authorities at 7:52 p.m. to be extradited to Louisiana.

Vail waived extradition, said Sheriff Tony Mancuso.

Vail arrived at Lake Charles Regional Airport a little before 10:30 p.m. Friday night.

Mary Horton Vail was 22 years old when she drowned in the Calcasieu River.

Felix Vail spent three days in jail shortly after her death but was never prosecuted.

Vail is also the last person to see two other women alive — a girlfriend, Sharon Hensley, was last seen in Sulphur in 1973,

and another wife, Annette Craver Vail, was last seen in 1984.

The case was brought back to light by journalist Jerry Mitchell, an investigative reporter for the Clarion Ledger in Jackson,


The mother of one of the women approached Mitchell about the story because Felix Vail was living in Mississippi at the time.

That prompted local authorities to re-open the case.

“We certainly felt circumstances warranted an arrest, but we felt like we needed a lot more,” Mancuso said. “We felt like

the first thing, it had to be ruled a homicide.”

Mancuso said after examining the case, Calcasieu coroner Terry Welke ruled the case a homicide.

“That gave us a little more perspective of what we felt we could go with,” Mancuso said.

Vail has not confessed to killing his wife, the sheriff said.