Girl Thought Murdered by Friend ; Deputies Search Community for Clues to Murder

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: The Tuscaloosa News
Place of publication: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Date of publication: 06-15-1933

Girl Thought Murdered By Friend

Deputies Search Community for Clues to Murder

Miss Vaudine Maddox Found Beaten to Death in Ravine in South Tuscaloosa County; Been Missing Since Monday

Apparently Met Friend and Then Was Attacked

Evidence Indicates Some One Known to Girl Responsible For Crime; Stick and Rocks Used to Fracture Her Skull

Deputy sheriffs and special officers this afternoon are combing the neighborhood of Big Sandy Creek to find clues which may reveal who criminally assaulted and brutally murdered 21-year old Vaudine Maddox within a quarter-mile of her home Monday morning. The body of the girl, missing since last Monday, was found in a ravine near a country road Wednesday afternoon by two younger sisters of the victim.

Tentative theories in the inquiry indicate clearly that someone “friendly” to the Maddox girl either actually committed the crime or possesses guilty knowledge in connection with it, investigators said this afternoon. They immediately launched a comprehensive search of the vicinity, questioning all residents which might advance any information on the case.

Many Circumstantial Facts

They indicated that no definite clue implicating any certain individual had yet been developed, although there are a number of circumstantial facts which would call for further investigation. Some of the evidence would indicate a typical attack case involving a negro, but for the fact that it appears that the Maddox girl either stood or sat on a log and talked with someone at a point near the trail leading down to the body, officers said.

Members of the girl’s family went to Fayette County this morning to attend funeral services but will return home this afternoon. James Oswalt, former sheriff of Fayette County and a relative of the murder victim, came here today and offered his assistance to Tuscaloosa County investigators in the case.

Sheriff R. L. Shamblin stated that his office would do everything possible to bring the perpetrator of the crime to justice. Court house attaches characterized the deed as one of the most cruel and heinous ever reported here. Deputies and special officers working on the case this afternoon include D. M. Chamblin, Harley Holeman, R. M. Pate, Hal Curry, Lon Curry, W. I. Huff, Coroner Hardin and others. The coroner’s tentative verdict was criminal assault and murder. He said the condition of the girl’s clothing and the surroundings indicated that she had been attacked criminally.

The body of Miss Maddox was discovered Wednesday afternoon about 3 o’clock by her two sisters, Gladys 19, and Audis 10. They were walking along the road where she had been last seen, about a quarter of a mile from their house, when they noticed several buzzards circling over a spot in the underbrush in a ravine about 300 feet from the road. They investigated and found the corpse which had been partly dismembered by the birds.

The sisters immediately went home and told their father, W. T. Maddox, who notified the sheriff’s office here. Deputies and Coroner S. T. Hardin went to the scene but reached there after dark and were unable to complete their investigation which was renewed this morning.

Bloody Weapons Found

A bloody stick and two blood-smeared rocks were found on the scene, indicating that they were the weapons used by the murderer in crushing the skull of his victim. Fingerprints noted on both the stick and the rocks have been developed by Festus M. Shamblin, chief deputy sheriff and finger-print expert.

The girl’s body had apparently been dragged from a point near the road, where first signs of a scuffle were noticed. The bloody stick was found near the road and the rocks were further in the ravine near the body. A small pail of flour which the girl had been carrying to the neighbor’s house was found beside a tree trunk at the side of the road. This led investigators to believe that someone known to the girl stopped her and engaged her in conversation there, the two possibly seating themselves on the tree trunk. The flour pail was undisturbed and gave no indication of a struggle.

Miss Maddox left home about 9 o’clock Monday morning to go to the home of Mrs. Leopard, about a half mile away. Miss Maddox had been working daily, nursing Mrs. Leopard who is in ill health. The girl did not return to her home Monday night but her father said he did not feel uneasy, believing she had spent the night with a neighbor.

Tuesday he said he asked about the neighborhood and reached the conclusion that she had possibly left with some one as there had been some dispute about two weeks ago concerning her and a young man visitor who called at the Maddox home.

The Maddox girl was described by neighbors as being an attractive blonde type, about five feet, six inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds. She was to have passed her twenty-second birthday on June 20.

She was the oldest of five children, the others being the two sisters who found her and two brothers, Stancer 15 and Bartle 12. Their father has been in poor health for the past year and had been unemployed. The family was described as being impoverished and had received aid from the community for the past year. For the last two months, a cousin, Leland Fowler, 25, has been living at their home.

They had resided in their present home for only a month, moving to it from a place near Moundville. Their residence there was blown away by the tornado which hit Hale County in January, 1932. Their present home is on a farm sub-rented from a negro man but the property of a Mrs. Oxford of Hulls. It is located one half mile west of the Greensboro road in the vicinity of Big Sandy Creek. The Maddox family originally lived in Fayette but moved to Hale County five years ago.

Funeral Services for the murdered victim have not yet been completed, pending results of the investigation.