June 3, 1908
When A. E. Dudley of 1825 Grand avenue, went to Camden, Ray county, Missouri, yesterday to look at three bodies found in the river there Sunday and Monday, he did not find the body of his friend, Fred Noosem, his partner in business, but he brought back the description of a man who disappeared here in January. Detectives Charles Halderman and James Fox say that it is no other than John Mason, known as "Dutch." His description and apparel prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt, and a deep hole in the skull behind the left ear indicates that he had been murdered.
Mason was a horse trader who owned twelve horses, a hack, a brougham and a runabout. He lived with a woman named Maude Wilson at 1403 Main street. On January 26, last, Maud Wilson told the detectives that she and Mason counted his money.
"He had with him just then $585," she said. "He wore a horseshoe pin in which were fifteen diamonds. The pin was locked in a lavender tie with a patent fastener. He also wore a solitaire diamond ring, a gold ring and a fine gold watch and chain. After he left my house that day he was never seen again to my knowledge."
When Dudley discovered that one of the bodies had on clothing bearing Kansas City marks he took a complete description of everything. Here is the description, which tallies exactly with the missing Mason: "He was between 24 and 26 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. He was smooth shaved and had dark brown hair. There was no jewelry on the body, but in the tie is the remains of a pin from which the setting has been nipped. The pin is locked with a patent fastener."
Halderman and Fox say that there is no doubt that this is the body of the missing horse trader. Dudley says that the coroner of Ray county buried the body without a coffin and took no cognizance of the many identification remarks. The other two bodies found there have been claimed by relatives and removed. One was a suicide from Kansas City, Kas., and the other that of Harry Tuoroff of Independence, drowned while hunting ducks near Sibley, Mo.
There is not one man in a thousand who would have taken any further notice of the body after he saw that it was not the one he sought. It happens that Dudley formerly was a detective, and that instinct led him to take notice of these things and report them to the police here, a matter which the Ray county coroner had overlooked. Fox and Halderman have been on the case about six weeks. Arrests are expected in a few days when a sensation may be looked for.
The Ray county coroner will be ordered to exhume and hold the body of Mason. The detectives on the case say that from the first they suspected that Mason had been murdered, but until Dudley came in yesterday with the fact that the body had been found, it would have been hard to prove. The first thing to establish is the corpus delicti, the presence of the murdered body. Now that that is established they expect plain sailing.