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Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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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. (Rick Hickman / American Press)<br>

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. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Mary Elizabeth Horton Vail. (Special to the American Press)<br>

Mary Elizabeth Horton Vail. (Special to the American Press)

Vail charged with murder in 1962 drowning of wife

Last Modified: Saturday, May 18, 2013 3:42 PM

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, Miss.

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.

Posted By: Steve Horton (Mary's Nephew) On: 5/20/2013

Title: To Hazel Gahagan

Mrs. Gahagan: I am Mary's nephew by her brother, Allen. My uncle, Will, would like to talk with you if you would be willing. His telephone number is 337 981 0631.

Posted By: Hazel Gahagan On: 5/19/2013

Title: How many others did he kill?

I went to the wedding and my husband was a pall barer. Felix and his room mate lived in the same house we did {different apartments], I always felt they let him off for murder. How knows how many others he has killed? Look for missing ladies where he has been,

Posted By: Anne Pellerin Akey On: 5/19/2013

Title: Justice finally!

Mary Horton was an absolute angel! We attended McNeese together and I considered her a very good friend. When she was reported drowned,and found to have a scarf down her throat, no one could believe her death was an accident. I remember those dismal pictures of the river and they have haunted me and many others who loved her for all these years. It has always been my prayer that the truth would come out and justice would prevail for the loss of a beloved mother, daughter, sister and friend. Thank God for the diligence of that reporter!

Posted By: Cheryl Hebert On: 5/18/2013

Title: thank you!

It's nice to know our sheriff's office doesn't give up on seeking justice regardless of the years that's passed. I'm very proud of our sheriff and the deputies. When a family is in pain and there's no closure it leaves an open wound. Our troops never give up on getting justice. Theyve treated this case like it happened yesterday. Thank you!

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