Do Legends Really Die? The Death of Buford Pusser

Buford_Pusser.jpg


Do legends die, or do they get distorted over time until no truth remains? The legendary lawmen Buford Pusser was killed in a fiery crash on August 21st, 1974. Although everyone in town knew he had a price on his head, the case was closed quickly and the records were sealed by court order. Why?


In Buford Pusser case, the controversy surrounding his life was insane enough, but now his detractors are pouring manufactured facts, rumor mill stories, and manipulated truths into the story trying to defame a rough-and-tumble lawman.

On August 20th, 1974, Buford Pusser and his daughter Dwana went to the McNairy County Fair. Earlier that day, Pusser had announced he had just signed a contract with Bing Crosby Productions to portray himself in the next Walking Tall movie.

Many locals saw him at the fair. He played basketball with some of them and seemed fine around 7 p.m. However, by 10 o’clock that night, some people noticed he began to slur his words a little bit and wondered if he had been drinking. The people at the food stand remember him ordering two BBQ sandwiches and a fish sandwich along with two glasses of water. He was seen carrying around this disposable cup most of the evening, but the only thing he was known to order was water.

Another witness claimed he saw Buford Pusser leave that evening and he tore out of the parking lot like some rowdy teenager. Although Buford Pusser drove his souped-up Corvette at high rates of speed, he was never that reckless. Others notice at the fair that Buford seemed a little off the longer the evening wore on. These witness statements and others lead people to believe that perhaps Buford Pusser had been poisoned.

One investigator who later would be completely discredited claimed to have proof he had been poisoned with a rare South American Indian poison called Cuare. Like with everyone else who went up against the Dixie Mafia, this investigator was publicly discredited and humiliated. Strangely, this investigator would wind up being shot execution-style a short time later. Everyone was quick to point out that it had nothing to do with the Pusser investigation. I think otherwise.

Just after midnight, Dwana and Buford decide to leave the fair. Dwana gets a ride with a friend and leaves shortly before her father. A few miles down the road Buford Pusser caught up with them and passed them at a high rate of speed. It took a few miles to catch up to the Corvette, but by then it was too late.

Some reports say the car was already on fire, but others say it started a few minutes later underneath the hood. The legendary lawmen lay on the ground near his beloved Corvette with a broken neck. Could he really be gone? It didn’t seem possible.

Rumors began immediately after his death. The tie rods had been sawed in two. The brake lines had been cut. He was poisoned. Investigators say Buford Pusser was drunk and driving to fast he wasn’t wearing a seat belt and he was ejected from the car no foul play, but no one in the town believed it several stateliners had contracts out on Buford Pusser and this was a well-known fact.

Some estimated car was traveling close to 100 mph others say it was a 120 mph. Whatever the case, why would he fly past the car he knew his daughter was in like a maniac? Wouldn’t that put his child in danger? It didn’t seem like Buford Pusser was really in his right mind that night.

This was the argument many people claimed proved poison theory. At the time of his death, Buford Pusser’s blood-alcohol level was 1.8. For a giant of a man 6 ft 6 in tall 250 lb that would not have affected him very much.

Rumor had it the brake lines had been cut on his car but if this was the case why were there 545 feet of skid marks left down the highway?

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photo courtsey of roadsideamerica.com

The manufacturing company investigated the wreckage and said there was no manufacturing default, and it didn’t look like it had been tampered with. Of course, if there had been a default, would they have admitted it? I doubt it. They would have to take responsibility for killing a legend. Besides all of that, if you look at pictures, there isn’t anything left of this vehicle. How could they tell if it had been tampered with? They said the tie rods were broken, but they think they were broken upon impact.

The accident was reconstructed and mapped out using photographs. The low flying machine had crossed into the opposite lane, crossed the grassy ditch, and passed an old gas station. Then it crossed the side road and slammed into an embankment. The big man was ejected from the vehicle and broke his neck upon impact. The legend had just enough strength left to whisper his daughter’s name.

Was Buford Pusser murdered? We may never know. Many have fought and spent thousands of dollars trying to find the truth, but this secret is buried deep in the Tennessee dirt.

What is the purpose of mankind? Humanity’s purpose is to serve others and leave a mark on this world. Whatever your opinion of this great lawman you must agree on one point. He definitely left a mark in history. He inspired thousands of people to stand up for what they believe in. Many people credit their law enforcement careers to his inspiration. What can you say? Have you done anything remarkable with your life? Walk on Buford the Bull.

I cannot possibly fit the entirety of this story in a blog post, so be watching out for a book. I will be writing about this famous lawman, his family, his enemies, and the stories that shaped McNairy County, Tennessee. When reading about this man’s exploits, an old Elvis Presley song came to mind. I would like to quote the lyrics here.

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid
Of the dark
At the end of a storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song
Of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed
And blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never
Ever walk alone
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never
Ever walk alone

Listen to the song here:

(Wikipedia says The single “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was an adaptation of the Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers standard.)

All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS.

Further Reading:

WMC Action News

This week’s recommended Dixie Mafia Books include:

Walking On: A Daughter’s Journey with Legendary Sheriff Buford Pusser

Ghost Tales of The State Line Mob: Novel Based on Actual Events


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The Jonathan Estes Disappearance

jonathan paul estes Poster courtesy of the Find Jonathan Paul Estes Facebook Page

It’s the dreaded Triple D Threat; Domestic Dispute, Divorce, and Disappearance. After a rocky end to their 13-year marriage, the separation was inevitable, but when allegations arise of domestic abuse and the husband vanishes, this case takes a turn for the worse. What happened to Jonathan Estes?


Jonathan Paul Estes, 36 was last seen on June 2, 2018, in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi around his home. Estes was a construction worker and spent a great deal of time working out of town. He worked hard and enjoyed time with his children when he was home. It seemed as if the little family had life by the tail, but things aren’t always what they seem. The last year of his marriage to Cindy had been tumultuous, but Jon always tried to find ways to appease his wife.

Several months before filing for divorce, Jon began to suspect his wife was cheating on him while he was out of town working. He even placed a few deer cameras around his home to see who was pulling into his driveway while he was gone. Things finally deteriorated to the point that Jon hired a private investigator. These problems reached a boiling point when his 13-yr-old son found some lewd pictures on his mother’s phone and forwarded them to his father.

Jon filed for divorce and moved five miles away from the family home, but remained close enough to spend time with his kids. This should be the end of the chaos, but unfortunately, it was just the beginning.

When Jon took the divorce papers to the house for Cindy to sign a fight broke out, and life would never be the same for the Estes family. Cindy claimed that Jon raped her at gunpoint. Jon says that she became angry when he brought the papers and began attacking him. He turns to leave and while in her driveway, she runs him over with her car. While Jon is trying to recover Cindy raced down the street and straight to the police station. (It is assumed that she went straight there, but who knows she may have stopped for a coke.) Once there, she filed charges against Jon for the alleged rape.

Jon, driving his truck, was headed back to his house when he noticed the ‘GPS’ location device had suddenly been activated. Knowing his wife’s vindictive personality, he figured he would just dump the truck. Jon turned around and drove the truck (which was inconsequentially registered in Cindy’s name) across the hayfield behind the family home. The surrounding property was the cattle farm owned by Cindy’s family. There amongst the hay and treeline, Jon left his truck behind. He called a neighbor to pick him up and met her at the highway.

Jon returns to his home where his nosey neighbor keeps watch on the house. He told her that he was going to have a friend pick him up and take him to the police station so he could sort out this mess, but no one ever came to pick him up, and no one ever saw the man again.

The last known contact was when Jon called his friend the next morning to talk about the craziness of his divorce. During his conversation, he mentioned that a cop car kept driving back and forth in front of his house. He told his friend that he was going to walk out to the end of his driveway and talk to them. Maybe he could figure out what in the world was going on. Unfortunately, no one ever heard from him again. He never called his friend back, and the patrolling officers say he never walked out and talked to them. Where did he go? Did he run off like the police initially believed?

The family of Jon Estes doesn’t think he would have run away from his problems. He wasn’t the type, but it was a logical explanation at first anyway. Now, a year later, that option isn’t really on the table anymore.

Apparently, Jon Estes was a gentle person that would do almost anything to appease his wife, and I say this because of what came out later in the investigation. Jon and Cindy had been having trouble for quite a while. When Jon’s sister hacked into his email account, trying to find clues to his whereabouts, she found out how desperate he was to save his marriage. The last couple of years, he had agreed to a more open-type of marriage that involved couples and partner swapping. This was disturbing enough, but then she found the pictures and videos taken of Cindy while Jon was away. This wasn’t part of the deal.

The sister also found out about Jon’s own little investigation into his wife’s infidelity. He had been collecting information on her extramarital affairs in case he needed evidence during the divorce proceedings. Although no names have been released publicly, it seems evident that one of his wife’s lovers held some type of position of authority in the small community. Perhaps this is why Jon disappeared. Either way, Cindy never once tried to find her husband. She claims he ran off so he wouldn’t have to pay child support, but the family has the receipts to show Jon was paying child support to her months before his disappearance and before the divorce was even filed. He wanted his kids taken care of no matter what happened to his marriage.

If Jon had run away to avoid his problems, wouldn’t it make sense for her to try to find him to get justice for what he had supposedly done to her? Wouldn’t she hunt him down so he would be required to support his children? Obviously, Cindy doesn’t think so because other than bashing him online; she hasn’t publicly put forth any effort to find him.

Four months after the disappearance of Jonathan Estes, a grand jury convened to hear the case against him regarding the rape allegations. They find there’s no evidence to this story and drop the charges entirely. The family was informed that no charges would be brought against him if he happened to return because there simply wasn’t any evidence that an attack ever occurred. A short time later, Cindy filed for divorce citing abandonment by Jon and was granted full custody of their two kids.

STRANGE TWIST: A stolen bobcat bulldozer

As if this case wasn’t bizarre enough, there’s another twist to this saga. Cindy is coming up for trial for stealing a bobcat. For those of you who don’t know, a Bobcat is a small bulldozer used in construction. During the chaos of the missing person’s case, and before the couple could legally divide their belongings, Cindy was busily posting everything on Facebook for sale. During this time she sold a bobcat that was at the family home that didn’t belong to either Cindy or Jon. It actually belonged to his dad and was only borrowed.

Jon’s father drove the five hours to find his son and to file charges at the police station about his bulldozer. During the chaos, this wasn’t taken care of properly, and by the time the reports were filed, the bobcat had already been sold for a meager amount. Strangely, in this tiny town where everyone knows and is related to everyone else nobody knows what happened to this bobcat.

How does this missing piece of construction equipment play into this case? I really don’t know. I just hope it hadn’t been used in the process of covering up a murder. If you have any information on this case, please contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department 601-833-5231


This list of links is not an all encompassing source citing. All of the information used in this article can be easily found online. Links below were used as sources and are recommended reading for Synova’s readers.

Further Reading:

Charley Project

Unfound Podcast


Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.

VIPERTEK VTS-989 – 58 Billion Heavy Duty Stun Gun – Rechargeable with LED Flashlight

How To Be Your Own Bodyguard: Self Defense for men & women from a lifetime of protecting clients in hostile environments.

Synova’s True Crime books are also available on Amazon.com

Unorganized Crime: Journey to Redemption

Snatched: The FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes and more (Synova’s Case Files)


jonathan paul estes

The Downfall of A Dixie Mafia Kingpin – Kirksey Nix, Jr. Arrested

kirksey nix jr Photo courtesy of The Alexandria Daily Town Talk Newspaper

Kirksey Nix, Jr. survived the Revenge of Buford Pusser, but his freedom would be short-lived. Within a couple of years, a judge’s Cadillac explodes in front of the state capitol, a man dies on Easter morning defending his home against invaders, and one shot to the chest finally brings the Dixie Mafia Kingpin to his knees.


Kirksey McCord Nix, Jr. was the son of a prominent judge in Oklahoma, but that didn’t stop his life of crime. It probably encouraged it. Nix had been on law enforcement radar for a decade, but no charges would stick. After ambushing Sheriff Pusser on New Hope Road, everyone involved felt the wrath of the disfigured lawman. Somehow, Nix would escape, but his freedom wouldn’t last long.

The ambush and killing of Pauline Pusser wasn’t Kirksey’s first slaying. His group of rogues was accused of several home invasions and murders across four different states. It seemed as if nothing could stop this group of murderous thieves. A series of events would lead to Junior’s downfall, and it would start shortly after the death of Pauline Pusser.

The year before the ambush on Pusser, Junior was arrested on felony accounts of burglary and grand larceny. December 29, 1965, Nix and his little gang broke into a boy’s summer camp near Mount Ida, Arkansas. They stole ten rifles, a movie projector, and sporting equipment according to the the Daily Oklahoman’s article on January 22, 1966.

He was in trouble in April of 1966 for passing bad checks and then again in August for using illegal license plates. After paying fines, Nix kicks off a robbery spree that would span several states, and some of these cases would end up in murder. Somehow Junior’s name stays out of the newspapers until the ambush of Sheriff Pusser on August 12, 1967.

Buford Pusser named Kirksey Nix, Jr. and a few others as the shooters who ambushed him on that fateful day in August. After spending hours combing through newspaper archives, I found Junior didn’t make headlines again until 1968 that’s not to say he was laying low.

March 19, 1968, The Daily Oklahoman reported that Kirksey Nix, Jr. pled guilty to some minor charges including reckless driving and the unlawful use of a radio. It seemed Junior had been monitoring the police radio frequencies. Perhaps he was trying to watch out for Pusser. Who knows?

April 30, 1968, Junior is jailed after his gang unsuccessfully tried to rob the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Atlanta, GA. This time his crew consisted of four men and one unnamed woman. During the robbery attempt, the thieves were disturbed by a guard named Robert P. Fouche. He was wounded in the robbery, but after a brief hospital stay, he made a full recovery.

May 21, 1968, Junior’s father, Judge Kirksey Nix, drove a dark-colored 1967 Cadillac to work and parked in front of the State Capitol. An hour after arriving, the car explodes throwing metal shards all over the area. Luckily no one was hurt in the explosion. Authorities quickly conclude the blast was not caused by a bomb, so what made it erupt into a ball of flames? Supposedly there were a couple of oxygen tanks in the trunk of the car that caused the explosion, but no one knows for sure.

The car had been included in a robbery investigation only four months before it’s explosion. Then it was supposedly owned by Junior. The Lawton Constitution reported on May 24, 1968, that the car had Mississippi license plates and it was registered to Doris D’ Angelo.

This is where the theories start to creep in…

If we take the “other” story of the ambush as fact, then we may know precisely where that dark-colored Cadillac came from and what it was used for.

Lt. Dan Anderson had a dark-colored Cadillac that suddenly disappeared after the death of his son. His family wondered why he got rid of it, and no one really got an explanation.

Was this the car used in the ambush on Buford Pusser?

Who is Doris D’ Angelo?

Doris was married to a local club owner named Dewey D’Angelo. This big-time Dixie Mafia member sheltered Junior and ran his prostitution house in Mississippi. Dan Anderson and a man named Hobbs frequented this local hang out often. Without warning, Dan and Hobbs show up in the back room of the club, and a deal is made for the Cadillac. (There’s never any paperwork on this transaction. This information was passed down by the rumor mill.) A short time later it is blown up in front of the Oklahoma State Capital. Why would it be blown up unless it held vital evidence? A simple defunct robbery wouldn’t warrant such drastic action. I contend that it was the car that Ronnie Anderson borrowed from his dad so he could go out with the guys.

Now that the car is gone, what’s next for Junior? Well, more robberies and murder, of course. During the 1969 Mardi Gras celebrations a group of heavily armed men raids a camp of carnival workers near Lake Pontchartrain. 44-year-old carnival worker Margie George was shot and killed during the raid.

Easter morning in 1971, Nix and his gang break into the home of a wealthy grocer named Frank Corso. Corso is awakened by his wife and grabs a gun. He fires upon the thieves, and they retreat, but not before shooting the homeowner. He dies in his wife’s arms, but his bullet had found its mark. Kirksey Nix, Jr. was hit square in the chest, and the bullet lodged in his abdomen. The next day Junior shos up at St. Paul’s hospital in Dallas where he received treatment before being arrested by Dallas authorities. In 1972, Nix and his cohorts would be convicted of the murder of Corso and received life in prison. The king of the Dixie Mafia had fallen, but it wouldn’t be the last time his name made headlines. Come back next week, and you’ll hear how the king’s reign faired behind bars.


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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Sources for this article have been linked directly into the text of the article.

Synova’s Youtube Video

This week’s recommended Dixie Mafia Books include:

Timeless Classics: True Crime

Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia


kirksey nix jr

Update:

Just got the call. Craig Wood has been arrested for Becky’s murder. Just wrote about her case last week. I will keep you guys posted.

https://synovaink.com/2019/07/11/double-amputee-goes-missing-prosthetics-wheelchair-left-behind/

Silenced Witnesses – Disgraced Cop – Ex-cop linked to two murdered women

5afb5fe99a4b4.image Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Progress

He pled guilty to tying his belt around her neck and trying to drag her to his van to keep her from testifying against him. The belt broke, and she escaped, but two other women witnesses against former cop Larry Pugh wound up dead. Why then is Pugh out of jail after eight years? What happened to Terri Reyes and Shunte Coleman?


These types of cases are the hardest ones for me to write. I bleed blue for the police officers who are gunned down in the line of duty, but it seems like the ones who deserve a bullet between the eyes get off scot-free. Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.

Larry Pugh joined the Jacksonville Police Department in January 2003 and was suspended in October 2005 after the accusations arose. In 2006, former Jacksonville Police Officer, Larry Pugh was arrested by the FBI and facing multiple charges of sexual assault. Eight women came forward accusing Pugh of rape and sexual assault. Larry Pugh was given bond and released. The Longview News-Journal reported on Wednesday, July 25, 2007, that during this time, two of the women on the witness list disappeared. To make matters even worse, he found one of the witnesses and bound his belt around her neck. Then he proceeded to drag her to his van. The belt snapped, and she was able to escape with her life. Pugh would plead guilty of this in September 2006.

53cbf15eb306e.image Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Progress

Terri Reyes, 38 of Athens was last seen on May 21, 2006. Like many others, she was scheduled to testify against the ex-lawman. Her body would be found later in a wooded area in San Augustine County, Texas. Reyes had three children.

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Photo courtesy of Tyler Morning Telegraph

Shunte Coleman, 24 was last seen on July 2, 2006. Her grandmother was worried about her because of the case with Pugh. Coleman’s body wouldn’t be found until March 2014 and it wouldn’t be officially identified until June 2014. She was found by a forester in a heavily wooded area near San Augustine not too far from where Terri’s remains were found eight years earlier.

It seemed that officer Pugh had been targeting women who were in legal trouble and using that as leverage for his sexual gratification. When he was allowed to release a statement he adamantly denied the charges claiming they were unwarranted allegations made by “crack heads.”

When did someone with addiction problems suddenly deserve to be sexually assaulted? When did our laws change to say that a person with a minor criminal history deserved to be strangled to death?

Surely the strange disappearance of two witnesses, the testimony of the woman who escaped his wrath, and the other 25-30 witnesses against Larry Pugh would be enough to see this man spend the rest of his life behind bars. That’s not what happened. Larry Pugh was released in May 2018. Yes, I said RELEASED!

Even with all the circumstantial evidence, Pugh’s confessions, and the bodies found, law enforcement claims they have no evidence to link Larry Pugh to the corpses. What else do they need? This is one case where I found so much information online that I couldn’t put all the links within the text of my blog post. Scroll down and read the several articles sited below for more details on this disturbing case.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Further Reading:

KTBS News

CBS News

Porchlight USA

Jacksonville Progress

Larry Pugh’s Statement

websleuths

Texas Public Corruption

KTRE Channel 9

Corruption In Cherokee County, Texas

KLTV

daily sentinel


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.

VIPERTEK VTS-989 – 58 Billion Heavy Duty Stun Gun – Rechargeable with LED Flashlight

How To Be Your Own Bodyguard: Self Defense for men & women from a lifetime of protecting clients in hostile environments.

Synova’s True Crime books are also available on Amazon.com

Unorganized Crime: Journey to Redemption

Snatched: The FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes and more (Synova’s Case Files)


Dixie Mafia Bloodbath: The Revenge of Buford Pusser

Buford_Pusser.jpg

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

They killed his wife and took his face. Now he was out for blood. Someone would have to pay for the death of Pauline Pusser. Hollywood loves the tale of a vigilante seeking justice, but the facts don’t line up with “Walking Tall.”


After the ambush on New Hope Road on August 12, 1967, Sheriff Buford Pusser supposedly named four suspects in the death of his wife, Pauline. When asked again while being wheeled out of surgery, he wearily replied that he didn’t know who shot them. Carl Douglas “Towhead” White was apparently the man who ordered the hit from prison and his friend Kirksey Nix, Jr. was the one to carry out the hit. The names Carmine Raymond Gagliardi, Gary Elbert McDaniel, and George Albert McGann were also mentioned.

Legend says the officer went rogue and got revenge on everyone who killed his wife except for Kirksey Nix.

Hollywood loves to spin tails, and this one is no exception. Keep this in mind if you watch the various versions of “Walking Tall.” There is so much fiction woven into the stories that minimal facts remain. Buford Pusser was a sheriff, and Pauline his wife was killed. All of this happened along the state border of Tennessee and Mississippi. The other characters like Towhead White, Louise Hathcock, and Kirksey Nix, were real outlaws, but other than that, not much else is true.

Let’s Investigate!

According to the book Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Mississippi Mud, the first three ambush suspects all died mysteriously, and they say Nix voluntarily went to prison to avoid Pusser. We will see. First up is Carmine R. Gagliardi. They say his body was found riddled with bullets floating in the Boston Harbor in 1969. I dove into this case, thinking I should be able to find at least one newspaper article on this guy in the harbor. There were none. Absolutely zero. I did find a guy that fit the description of a mafia hitman named CARMEN R. Gagliardi, but he was not found floating in the harbor.

Carmen Gagliardi was in prison for killing Joe Lanza, a local bartender. It is said Gagliardi could be tied to up to fifty different mafia hits in and around Boston. At one time he was on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List, but there’s no evidence he was ever on the state border between Tennessee and Mississippi. In January 1975, Gagliardi died in prison of a drug overdose. Nowhere does it say anything about a Gagliardi male being found in the Boston Harbor.

Mr. Gags may have put bodies in the harbor, but it appears this is just another tall tale.

There is a chance that it’s two different guys, but I tend to doubt it. Either way, I find it hard to believe that Sheriff Pusser went 2,400 miles to kill a mob hitman and no one noticed him missing. The big man was too busy raising Cain at the state line to take a road trip, in my opinion.

Gary Elbert McDaniel was found floating in the Sabine River in Texas on February 8, 1969. Some detractors claim the vindictive lawman killed him, I beg to differ. What they fail to mention is the fact that McDaniel was neck-deep in trouble after trying to kill a Mississippi prosecutor. Some of his Dixie Mafia buddies were afraid he was turning state’s evidence. This is most likely the cause of his death, and again other than being loosely tied to the Dixie Mafia and Kirksey Nix there’s no definitive link to Buford Pusser.

Legend tells the tale of how Buford Pusser wrought with grief killed all of his attackers, but again, this one leaves more questions than answers.

The next man on the list was George Albert McGann. He was supposedly shot by Buford Pusser in Lubbock, Texas. McGann was a big-time gambler. He was killed during a poker game on September 30, 1970. Somehow his death was tied to the legend of Buford Pusser anyways.

Now Towhead White is an entirely different story. White and the sheriff were mortal enemies. The entire state line shook with the rumblings of their warfare. Around midnight on April 2, 1969, Towhead pulled up in front of the El-Ray motel. The girl in the front seat with him was the estranged wife of the motel’s owner. Berry Smith, known as Junior, watched them pull into the driveway and stepped outside to meet them.

A verbal altercation ensued followed by gunfire. When the sun rose on April 3, 1969, Carl Douglas “Towhead” White was gone. Shirley Smith had somehow slipped from the passenger side of the car without injury, but White was shot in the forehead. Some say his gun was still in his right hand when the police pulled his body from the car.

Junior was arrested for murder, but the charges were later dropped, and the death ruled as self-defense. According to the bullet’s trajectory, it seemed as if Towhead was actually shot by someone on the roof of the motel. Rumors immediately named the sheriff, but no evidence was ever found. No one put much effort into the investigation. The locals were documented, saying, “Good Riddance.” We may never know who killed Towhead White.

An entirely different story:

Fifty years after the story began, an anonymous witness has come forward claiming to know who was involved in the ambush on New Hope Rd. and it’s not who you think.

Kirksey Nix is believed to have gathered a crew from his friends in Gulfport, Mississippi. The local police department was corrupt at the time and one small time deputy was named Dan Anderson. Several of the Dixie Mafia members played cards at his kitchen table, and it’s believed that his crew came from this core group. Allegedly, this is where they found the dark-colored Cadillac as well.

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Photo courtesy of the family – Towhead White on the right, Dan Anderson in the front

When the men asked the impressionable young Ronnie Anderson if he wanted to ride along for a night on the town, he had no idea what was about to go down. He was just glad to be invited. His father, Dan, had gotten in over his head with this group, and now it would cost him dearly. His precious boy would return home, but six weeks later, he would be silenced forever.

The last man on Buford’s list was Kirksey Nix, Jr. Legend says he voluntarily went to prison to avoid the sheriff. Actually, Nix was convicted of murdering Frank Corso in 1972. There is no evidence he voluntarily jumped ship to avoid Buford Pusser.

So who was killed to avenge the blood of Pauline Pusser?

Well…

Maybe Towhead White…maybe not. But Hollywood rarely cares about the facts.


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the copyright on photos. Pictures are displayed under the fair use act. All photos are for informational purposes only. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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Further Reading:

Memphis Flyer

Giants of Tennessee

Learning History

View From A Hearse

TN Valley Talks

Buford Pusser Museum

Synova’s Youtube Video

Recommended Books on the Dixie Mafia:

Crime Buff’s Guide to Outlaw Texas by Ron Franscell

1960’s Austin Gangsters: Organized Crime that Rocked the Capital By JEsse Sublett

Mississippi Mud by Edward Humes


Buford_Pusser.jpg

Double Amputee Goes Missing -Prosthetics & Wheelchair Left Behind

alsup_rebeccaPhoto courtesy of the Charley Project website

She suffered through heart troubles and received a pacemaker then shortly afterward became a double amputee due to complications. Before she could even learn to use her new prosthetics, Becky Alsup disappears. Her prosthetics and wheelchair were both left behind.


Rebecca Alsup’s story is a tragic tale from the beginning. After living through her mother’s horrific murder as a child, Becky would suffer greatly and eventually find herself bound by drug addiction. This would lead to serious heart problems. Although she was only in her early thirties, Becky had to undergo surgery to receive a pacemaker for her condition. As if this weren’t enough to deal with, the woman suffered more complications that would lead to becoming a double amputee. She would require prosthetics or a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, no one realized the trouble lurking around the corner for the poor woman.

On February 15, 2017, Becky spoke with a friend and hadn’t been heard from since. It is believed that Becky was in the Poplar Bluff area at the time of her phone call. At the time of her disappearance, Becky lived with Craig A.Wood in the Williamsville area. He claims Becky got into a white truck and drove away with someone he didn’t recognize. This has not been verified, however. Considering his drug use and criminal record, Wood’s statement cannot be taken at face value.

After all the surgeries, Becky had gone to live with her sister for a while and tried to battle her addiction problems. Unfortunately, bad influences convinced her to return to her old stomping grounds a short time before her disappearance.

Years earlier, Becky was in a relationship with another man named Cody. With him, she had two boys. They now live with their grandmother and wonder why their mother doesn’t come by anymore. How do you explain that to a child? What has happened to this poor woman? Have you seen Rebecca Alsup? Do you know anything about the mysterious white pickup? If you have any information about this case, please contact the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department at (573) 224-3219.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Crime Watchers

NameUs

Websleuths


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.

101 Safety and Self-Defense Tips: Lessons From The Experts

Wyze Cam 1080p HD Indoor Wireless Smart Home Camera with Night Vision, 2-Way Audio, Works with Alexa

Unorganized Crime: Journey to Redemption

Seriously Stupid Criminals: Complete Collection


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The Voice: True Crime Edition

The Voice: True Crime Edition

Synova is looking for the perfect vocal talent to introduce her new upcoming podcast. If you think you have what it takes email synovaink@gmail.com for the guidelines.

Deadline is August 1st

Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia

Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia

Photo courtesy of NeimanLab.org

A disabled boy is used as a pawn in a sadistic game and then slaughtered. A suicide is staged. Fifty-one years later, his sister still cries out for justice.


Unlike his handsome Hollywood look-alike, Ronnie Anderson was tragic from the beginning. At the age of three, Polio ravaged his legs, leaving him dependent on leg braces to stand and move. He was a beautiful boy looking for love and acceptance but found it hard to find friends. While they were all outside playing, he would sit in the window and watch. This picture of him crying for fellowship with his peers still haunts his sister five decades later.

At the age of 17, Ronnie decided to move out of his father’s house and share expenses with an older boy. He got his first job working at McDonald’s, and it seemed as if life were about to begin for this lonely polio victim. If he could have only seen into the future a few months, he would have stayed home with his dad.

Unfortunately, the poor guy was in such need of approval; he became an easy target for malicious predators.

A phone rang at Sheriff Buford Pusser’s house in the early hours of August 12, 1967. It was a simple drunk and disorderly call, but his wife Pauline didn’t want him to go alone. Ever since Buford killed Louise Hathcock, he had been receiving threatening calls. One caller claimed, “the sheriff would be hunted down like a dog and shot.” An article in the Daily News would go into more detail about those threats. Unfortunately, by then, the slaughter had already begun.

Buford & Pauline Pusser drove out to the scene expecting a few drunks to be causing a ruckus. What waited for them in the shadows behind the church was more violent, and Pauline Pusser was the target. (This wouldn’t be known until recently when an anonymous witness came forward with information.) The sheriff had stepped over a line when he killed Hathcock and now Towhead White was going to avenge the death of his lover. White was in prison, but he had plenty of associates to handle the job. One such associate was Kirksey Nix, and another happened to be the roommate of Ronnie Anderson.

The original plan was to have “the little crippled boy” (or so he was referenced to by this witness) to knock on the door and lure Pauline out of the house. The crew of killers would take care of the rest. Of course, Ronnie had no way of knowing what would happen. The plan was changed when they saw Pauline get in the car with her husband.

Once the sheriff’s car passed the church, the murder-wagon pulled out behind them. (Some reports claim there were two dark-colored cars, and others claim there was one. I could not find definite proof of two cars although I have a pretty good idea what happened to that dark-green Cadillac a few weeks later.) As the car of thugs caught up to the sheriff, a passenger opened fire upon the Pussers with a .30 caliber automatic rifle.

Pauline was hit in the head and slumped down in the seat next to Buford. He ducked instinctively and slammed on the gas pedal. The car lurched forward, and he struggled to keep it between the ditches. The firing squad followed hard, but a couple of miles down the road it looked like the rugged sheriff had lost his tail. He was wrong. Buford had pulled over to check on his wife when the firing squad emerged out of the darkness and the onslaught of ammunition peppered the police car once again.

A bullet slammed into Buford’s jawbone, causing it to explode, and he slumped over in the seat. The mighty 6′ 6″ former wrestler was down for the count. Silence filled the pre-dawn air around the car. His attackers were gone. As mental clarity returned to the dying man, he mumbled a call for help into the police radio. Blinded by blood and fueled by rage, the sheriff drove himself to the nearby hospital, but it was too late for his beloved Pauline.

Life in McNairy County would never be the same.

Bloodlust was in the air, & revenge was coming.

Buford Pusser was wheeled into the emergency surgery. He would undergo a dozen of them over the next 18 days of torment. His detractors railed on him for missing his wife’s funeral, and they still do to this day. The original newspaper articles claim he was still in the hospital during the funeral. Buford Pusser was a roughneck, backwoods, in your face type of sheriff, but something changed within him during those weeks in the hospital. He went in a controversial lawman, but he came out looking for blood.

Can you blame the man for wanting to avenge the slaughter of his wife?

At first, Buford claimed to know his attackers and even named a few names, but by the end of his recovery, he had changed his story. Was the trama too much for him, or was he going to exact his own revenge outside the confines of the law? Lost in this cruel game of vigilante justice was the murder of the pawn.

Back at home in Gulfport, Mississippi, Ronnie Anderson had gotten an invitation to stay a few days with his older sister Phyllis. He was excited to go and desperately wanted to get away from the terrors of his roommate. He was last seen packing and ironing his clothes. Within an hour, he was dead.

Who killed the sweet Ashton Kutcher look-alike?

Dan Anderson got notified almost immediately after returning home from visiting Ronnie.

“Ronnie tried to kill himself.”

Dan rushed to the hospital only to be met in the waiting room by his ex-wife. (Rose also happened to be the roommate’s aunt.) She explained that Ronnie had died from a gunshot wound to the face. It didn’t make any sense. How could all of this happen within an hour or so?

Story #1:

Ronnie fought with his girlfriend Cathy, so he walked upstairs and shot himself in the face with a .410 shotgun.

Story #2:
Ronnie and his roommate had just returned from buying Ronnie some “deck shoes” when a friend stops by with two guns. The .410 was supposed to be missing a firing pin and was inoperable. Somehow this was a terrible mistake, and Ronnie’s death was from an accidental shooting.
Problems with both theories:

As you know, Ronnie was a polio victim in a bulky leg brace. This disease also left him with one leg quite a bit smaller than the other one. So, buying shoes was a complicated process. First, he had to purchase two separate pairs in different sizes, and then they had to be sent to his doctor to have them fitted with special plates to hook to his braces. There was no way Ronnie could wear so-called “deck shoes” in the first place.

Also, supposedly, Ronnie placed the gun between his feet and pulled the trigger to shoot himself in the face. With his reduced strength in his legs and feet and the brace, this would be impossible. Ronnie couldn’t hold anything between his feet.

Another strange issue:

Why didn’t anyone call the police? Instead, the roommate called his aunt, who washed Ronnie, got rid of the weapon and then took him to the hospital. Of course, the poor boy died in route. He never had a chance.

The night before the funeral, Phyllis was so distraught with grief her doctor prescribed sleeping pills to help her rest, but the nightmares continued. A once beautiful boy stood headless outside her bedroom window banging trying to get in. Phyllis tried desperately to pry open the glass, but it wouldn’t budge. This reoccurring dream would haunt her for years.

During her tormented slumber, a woman calls the house frantically asking to speak with Phyllis. Her husband refuses to wake her and ask to take a message. The woman refuses but finally, she breaks down and says her name is Cathy.

“They killed him. They killed him,” she gasps into the phone just before the line goes dead.

After the funeral, Phyllis took all her theories to law enforcement, but they refused to class the case as anything other than suicide. Her father, Dan Anderson worked as a deputy in the area and knew of the corruption, but found his hands tied. What was he to do? They had killed his son; now, his daughter was in their sights if he dared to fight it. Every time she called into the police department, Phyllis would receive a call from her dad immediately afterward.

“Leave it alone before you get someone else killed,” he demanded on one such call.

At this time no one, including Phyllis, had even heard of the Dixie Mafia. Fifty years later, a witness stepped forward, claiming to know the truth about Ronnie’s death. In reality, he was lured to the docks, beaten to death by a group of guys, and his roommate shot him in the face to stage a suicide.

When will his blood be avenged?

Next week we will dive deeper into Buford Pusser’s revenge as the Dixie Bloodbath continues.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Further Reading:

Daily Journal

Wikimapia

Synova’s Youtube Video


This Week’s Recommended Dixie Mafia Book:

Wrath of the Dixie Mafia


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

IMG_20190316_075643_170.jpg

SIGN UP HERE


Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.

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SABRE RED Pepper Spray Keychain with Quick Release for Easy Access – Max Police Strength OC Spray, Finger Grip for Accurate Aim, 10-Foot (3M) Range, 25 Bursts (5x Other Brands) – Practice Spray Option

Synova’s True Crime Books are also available on Amazon

Unorganized Crime: Journey to Redemption

Snatched: The FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes and more (Synova’s Case Files)


Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia

Vanished in Vegas – Amanda Lee Fravel Disappearance

fravel_amanda4 Photo courtesy of The Charley Project

A beautiful young woman disappears from Vegas in 1986. Her roommate seems to have fallen off the map. What happened to Amanda Fravel, and what was her roommate’s real name? You can’t find a guy if you don’t know his name. Maybe that was the plan.


Amanda (Mandy) Lee Fravel, 20 was an all American child of the ’80s. With big hair and an even bigger smile, she loved musicians and rock music. Although her home life was difficult, Mandy found refuge in Las Vegas, NV in the fall of 1985. At first, she moved in with a friend from high school, but Cammi was a newlywed with a new baby, so it was just a temporary arrangement. Mandy stayed about a month, but quickly found a place of her own. She lived by herself for a short time before answering an ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A man named Lew Frank needed a roommate to share expenses. Mandy applied and was approved.

During her time in Vegas, Mandy ran into a musician named Xavier. The couple hit it off and began dating. Soon they found they were better friends, so they parted ways. The two remained close, but not close enough for Mandy to introduce him to her new roommate. It wasn’t until after her disappearance did anyone close to Mandy actually meet Lew Franks. And every one that met the guy was immediately uneasy about him. No one is even sure that is his name, and since no one can find the guy, Lew Frank was likely an alias.

On Friday, June 13, 1986, Mandy Fravel was supposedly last seen by her roommate. She reportedly left the apartment to go to her job at Taco Bell to pick up her paycheck. Then she planned to go to Xavier’s house. This story is corroborated by Xavier who said he had spoken to her on the phone and was expecting her to show up, but she never did. Despite the troubles at home, Mandy’s mother had sent her airfare to travel back to California. No one was sure if it were for a few days, or indefinitely. Xavier waited around for her to show up, but thought nothing of it when the hours past without seeing her. Perhaps she had changed her mind about stopping by. For you millennials out there, this was before the days of cell phones, and this type of thing was common. Xavier never thought anything about it until a few days later when Mandy’s mother called from California saying she never arrived. Mandy was gone.

Mandy’s parents flew in from California to begin searching for their daughter. They spoke to Cammi and Xavier and even visited the apartment Mandy shared with Lew Frank. Mandy’s stepdad, Tom took notes about his visit to Vegas. He was the one who wrote Lew’s name down. He was the person who chose the peculiar spelling. Now, over time, he cannot remember why he spelled it L-E-W. Tom was even put off by the man in his mid-forties. Why was he living with a 20-yr-old, and more disturbingly, why did he randomly mention that he wanted to move to a nearby county and start a brothel? Who says that during a missing person investigation?

When Tom visited the apartment, all of Mandy’s things were packed in boxes by the door as if they were waiting for someone to pick them up. Did Mandy pack them to move back to California? Did Lew pack them to give to her parents? From what I can gather by reading in between the lines, Lew didn’t even know her parents were coming, so how could he pack her stuff?

To make the mystery more unusual, no one has seen or heard from Lew Frank since Mandy’s disappearance. Internet sleuths have gone over all the online records looking for everyone named Lew, Lou, Lewis, and Louis, but nothing has been found. If he were in his late 40’s  – early 50’s in 1986, he would be in his 70’s by now. He may not even be alive. Either way, no one can find the guy. This is where my love of Sherlock Holmes stories really kicks in. Lew Frank doesn’t sound right to me. Who would name their kid Lewis Frank? To me, it seems reversed. What if his name was Frank Lewis? This could provide the reason for the odd spelling of Lew. Maybe I’m wrong, but a quick internet search dug up three different men named Frank Lewis in the Las Vegas area. All the men were mid-late 70’s. Maybe you armchair sleuths out there can keep digging for me, and perhaps we can find Mr. Vanishing Act.

Whether Lew Franks is a suspect or a person of interest, he is still the last person to see Mandy Fravel alive. If you have any information, in this case, please contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (702) 828-3111 or 1-800-492-6565.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Further Reading:

Unfound Podcast

Charley Project

Websleuths

Youtube


This Week’s Recommended True Crime Book:

The Battle for Las Vegas: The Law vs. The Mob


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

IMG_20190316_075643_170.jpg

SIGN UP HERE


fravel_amanda4