Man Arrested for 1962 Murder

The following is a press release from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office issued on Saturday.

In a joint investigation that has spanned almost a year, Sheriff Tony Mancuso and District Attorney John DeRosier announced the arrest of William Felix Vail, 73, for the murder of his wife, Mary Horton Vail, in October 1962. Vail was arrested at his home located in Canyon Lake, Texas which is between San Antonio and Austin. Both DeRosier and Mancuso said this is undoubtedly the coldest case that either of their offices has investigated. 

Vail was originally investigated by Calcasieu authorities in 1962 due to the extremely suspicious circumstances surrounding the unexplained "drowning" of Mary Vail the evening of October 28, 1962. A Calcasieu Grand Jury pretermitted the matter in January of 1963, meaning they simply did not have enough evidence at the time to indict but were sufficiently suspicious that they refused to return a 'no true bill.'

The case was re-opened recently when an investigative reporter, spurred by Mary Vail's surviving family members, discovered evidence of the disappearance under suspicious circumstances of other women tied to Vail. That evidence, when weighed with the opinion of Calcasieu Coroner Dr. Terry Welke, who after a recent review classified the death a "homicide," was sufficient for Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's detectives to seek a warrant for the arrest of Vail. Judge Robert Wyatt signed the warrant and ordered Vail to be held without bond.

Vail waived extradition and was transported to Lake Charles where he was booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center yesterday evening.

District Attorney DeRosier will schedule Vail for a preliminary examination within 45 days of his arrival in Calcasieu Parish, and likely seek an indictment against him for 2nd degree murder sometime thereafter.