August 25, 1908
No nearer solution than it has ever been is the mystery which surrounds the attempt which was made to murder Mrs. W. A. Johnson at her home near Buckner, Mo., Thursday morning. Many clues have been suggested and all of them have been followed closely by a private detective who has been put upon the case, but those clues have resulted in almost nothing. Mrs. Johnson stoutly maintains that she knows absolutely nothing of the assault which was made upon her, and if she suspects anyone of the crime she will not make her suspicions known. Her physician stated yesterday that she is growing rapidly worse and probably would not live through today.
The latest theory as to the circumstances which surround the crime is that a certain person who was seen loitering about Lake City, a small village seven miles west of the Johnson farm, Wednesday, was hired by a woman to kill Mrs. Johnson.
It is said that though this woman did not know Mrs. Johnson, she was well acquainted with the husband, who visited her when he was in Kansas City. The idea is that this Kansas City woman found Mrs. Johnson to be a stumbling block and contrived to put her out of the way. To accomplish her purpose it is thought that she hired this man who was seen in Lake City to do the deed.
What strengthens the suspicion is the fact that the Kansas City woman, with whom Mr. Johnson is well acquainted, telephoned to Buckner on Thursday morning and asked concerning Mrs. Johnson. This was before the assault had become generally known in Kansas City.
The man upon whom the suspicion of some rests was seen in Lake City about noon on Wednesday. Two hours later he stopped at a farm house belonging to B. Neal, two miles east of Lake City. There he asked for work and was kept until nightfall. From there he followed the railroad track east. The tracks run within 150 yards of the Johnson home, and it is thought by a few that this man was the one who attempted to murder Mrs. Johnson.
The majority of persons in and about Buckner, however, think that they know who the assailant is and give circumstantial evidence to back their judgment. Prosecuting Attorney I. B. Kimbrell, who has spent two days investigating the case, also holds that the blow was not struck by one who was unacquainted with the Johnson home, and his theory is the same as the one which has always been advanced by those who were acquainted with the Johnson family. Mr. Kimbrell believes that money was the motive of the crime.
Though two days have been spent in investigation by the prosecutor and other county officials, there is no likelihood of arrest just yet. Mr. Kimbrell said last night that all the evidence which his office had against against the person who he believes committed the crime was purely circumstantial.
Among the many questions which the prosecutor has asked persons who are connected with the Johnson family, those regarding the domestic relations of the Johnson family remained unanswered. When Mrs. Edgar Hilt, who was reared in the Johnson home, was asked concerning the domestic relations of the family she answered: "I would rather not say anything about that. It can do no good." Many others advance the same reasons for their silence.