August 22, 1908
Mystery has been added to mystery in the circumstances which surround the attack made upon Mrs. W. A. Johnson at her home near Buckner, Mo., Thursday morning. Mrs. Johnson is conscious at intervals, and during these lucid spells she talks rationally of her injuries, but is unable to throw any light upon the mystery. It had been thought that Mrs. Johnson could explain it all and the name of her assailant as soon as she was able to talk.
"I do not know who struck me," said she yesterday afternoon. "I do not know that I was slugged. If it were not for the pain in my head and the fact that everyone tells me that such is the case, I would not believe it. I did not get out of bed Thursday morning, to my knowledge, and can not understand how it happened that I was found lying on the floor. I saw no one Thursday morning, nor did I hear any noise which awakened me."
Beyond that Mrs. Johnson can say nothing of the affair. It is her belief that she has been drugged, but how or why she cannot explain. Though Mrs. Johnson's condition seemed to be improving yesterday, the physician in charge said that there was very little hope of her recovery, and Mrs. Johnson herself realizes that she may never get well.
The assault was committed on the night when Sam Eliot and his wife, who usually sleep in a house located about twenty-five feet from the room in which Mrs. Johnson slept, were away from home. It was the first time that they had been away from the Johnson farm for at least three months. This fact has led many persons in Buckner to believe that the assault was perpetrated by some one who had knowledge of the household, and knew that the Eliots were away. Absolutely no trace of the intruder or assailant has been found.
When Mr. Johnson was asked if he intended to investigate the circumstances which led to his wife's assault, he replied: "I think that there is nothing to investigate; besides, nothing has been missed from the house. If a detective were employed to look into the affair it would mean that he must talk with my wife, and that would not be tolerated right now."
It was said in Buckner yesterday that a subscription of $1,000 was being raised by the citizens in order to push investigation on their own accord. Mr. Johnson sticks steadfastly to the theory of robbery as an explanation of the slugging.
The people of Buckner, with a few exceptions, are firm in their belief that the assault upon Mrs. Johnson was an attempt to murder and that no robbery was contemplated. Most of them think that they know the person who committed the crime, but are reluctant to give names. The whole town is greatly excited. Mrs. Johnson is a woman of the highest standing, and if she ever had an enemy no one knew it.
Prosecutor I. B. Kimbrell and representatives of the county marshal's office visited the Johnson farm yesterday to investigate the assault. They learned no more than the reporter from The Journal who preceded them.