Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Lonely Hearts Killers

Death in La Linea

For months, Fernandez immersed himself in the world of lonely hearts clubs, writing letters to numerous women, often at the same time. In 1947, he began a correspondence with a Jane Lucilla Thompson who had recently separated from her husband. She was lonely, susceptible to kindness and ripe for the picking. After a letter-writing courtship, Jane Thompson agreed to meet Fernandez. In October 1947, they bought cruise ship tickets with Jane Thompson's money and took a trip to Spain. For several weeks, they traveled together and booked hotel rooms as man and wife. They dined and took sightseeing trips across the Spanish countryside.

Fernandez, though, was still legally married to his first wife, Encarnacion Robles. Eventually, he found his way to La Linea where Encarnacion lived with his two kids. He introduced her to Jane and for a time, the unlikely three frequently dined out on the town. Things seemed to be going well, but on the night of November 7, 1947, something happened between the two women. It is believed that some type of a disagreement or fight erupted between Raymond and Jane at the hotel in La Linea. He was seen running out of the room late that night.

Jane Thompson
Jane Thompson

The next morning, Jane Lucilla Thompson was found dead in her room of unknown causes. Her body was removed and buried without an autopsy. Later, when suspicions of murder by poison were aroused, her body would be exhumed. Meanwhile, Fernandez skipped town, leaving his wife, the long-suffering Encarnacion, alone once more. He caught the next boat to the United States where he showed up at Jane's old apartment in New York City. With the forged last will and testament of Jane Thompson in his hand, he took possession of the apartment and all the furnishings despite the fact that Jane's elderly mother lived there.

During this tumultuous time, while Raymond traveled through Spain with Jane Thompson, dined with both women and then confiscated the New York City apartment from the mother of his latest victim, Fernandez continued his correspondence with dozens of women.

One of them was Martha Seabrook Beck.