Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Missing Suspected Serial Killer Captured, Charged in 50-Year-Old Murder

Felix Vail. ID Photo.

A man suspected of killing two wives and a girlfriend has been captured in Canyon Lake, Texas, where he has been living a quiet life at age 73. Authorities in Comal County arrested Felix Vail over the weekend. He is now charged with the 1962 drowning death of his first wife, Mary Horton Vail.

According to Fox San Antonio, neighbor Charles Mantia looked up Vail online to get some information on the new man who’d moved into his neighborhood. What he found prompted him to call police, who launched a year-old investigation that culminated in this weekend’s arrest.

When his first wife died, Vail claimed that she had fallen into the water and drowned. He was not indicted, but many who knew the couple found the death suspicious. Vail got a $10,000 life insurance settlement from Mary’s death and never paid the bill for her funeral. An autopsy showed that Mary had been choked, but the death was nonetheless ruled accidental. Last year, 50 years following the death, the autopsy report was reviewed and the case reopened.

In the decades after Mary’s death, two more women involved with Vail disappeared. In 1973, his girlfriend of three years Sharon Hensley vanished. Her family received a note saying Sharon had left to travel the world. Vail said he had burned all of her identifying documents in order to help her get a fresh start. Sharon has never been found.

Ten years after Sharon went missing, Vail married a 17-year-old girl named Annette Rose. Her father had just died, and when she turned 18, she got $98,000 in life insurance money. After the cash was withdrawn and put under Vail’s discretion, Annette disappeared. Like with Sharon, the story was that she took a long trip to start her life anew.

Following his arrest, Vail has been extradited to Louisiana on charges of second-degree murder.

Felix Vail: The Missing Suspected Serial Murderer

 

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