Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mysterious Disappearance of Madalyn Murray O'Hair

A Flood of Evidence

The FBI visited the motel from which Fry had called collect. They found that both Waters and Karr had held the room during the month of September 1995 and had also rented a number of vans.

MacCormack continued to write stories and then another important witness came forward. She was identified as Waters' live-in ex-girlfriend. She told the FBI that both Fry and Karr showed up one day and then left with Waters. Waters came home intermittently. On one occasion, he was driving a new Cadillac. Inside the trunk was a buzz saw and shovel.

Waters left and returned several days later with a trash bag that contained three pairs of bloody tennis shoes. On another occasion, Fry and Karr showed up with Waters, and Fry was extremely upset. After that day, Fry was never seen again but his luggage was still in the apartment. She had asked Waters about it, but he had refused to answer.

She also knew that Waters had stashed $500,000 in gold coins in a storage locker. One day he called her frantically, asking what happened to the coins. It seems that someone had broken into the locker and stolen them. She added that Waters had a second storage locker that he spayed with bleach a month after the O'Hair family disappeared, while she waited in her truck.

Gold coins used as evidence
Gold coins used as evidence

Investigators went to the second storage locker and talked to the manager, who had seen three men matching the description of Waters, Karr and Fry at the locker with several large blue plastic barrels. Detectives entered the locker but didn't see anything amiss other than a gap in the metal flooring. They pulled up a piece of the floor and sprayed it with Luminol, which picks up blood under ultraviolet light. It tested positive.

"There was DNA that was consistent with the O'Hairs," said Dallas County Sheriff's Detective Steve Womack. "We believe that unit was used to actually dismember the bodies of the O'Hair family."


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