Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mysterious Disappearance of Madalyn Murray O'Hair

Found at Last

Before the trio buried the bodies, they took a trip to Dallas. Fry was ambushed, shot in the back of the headf, mutilated and left by the Trinity River. Then Waters and Karr took the barrels to a ranch about 120 miles outside San Antonio. The rest of the remains were buried in a shallow grave there.

Ranch where O'Hair remains were found.
Ranch where O'Hair remains were found.

"The first bone that we located was a bottom portion of a femur," said Dr. David Glassman, a forensic anthropologist. "And I could see very easily that this bone had been severed about midway."

Dr. David Glassman
Dr. David Glassman

Jon's skull appeared to be fractured, and a plastic bag had been placed over his head. The metal from Madalyn's hip replacement was evident. All three victims were unearthed, along with a plastic bag that contained the head and hands of Danny Fry. The skull had a bullet wound that traveled from the back to the front, Glassman told The Dallas Morning News in 2001. It was a somber ending for four people who hadn't fit in to mainstream society.

The remains were collected, and Bill, Madalyn's other son, was notified. Authorities identified the O'Hair family through dental records and were unable to determine causes of death. Although the unfolding saga of MacCormack's investigation and Karr's trial commanded bold headlines and frequent television coverage, the discovery of the remains of the O'Hair family was met with something like nonchalance. Madalyn seemed to belong to another time, an outdated relic of a more rebellious era in American history.

"There was a sense of now there can be a conclusion to Madalyn Murray O'Hair," Bill said. "She can be taken somewhere, and her remains can be put somewhere, and that can be the end of it."

But as in life, Madalyn Murray O'Hair wouldn't go quietly in death.


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