LAKE CHARLES, LA — The family of a Lake Charles woman who died in 1962 never believed she accidentally drowned. That’s why they turned to an investigative reporter for help.
It all started when the surviving family members of Mary Vail contacted a local investigative reporter. They learned that Mary’s former husband, William Felix Vail, has a connection to the disappearance of other women. Their cases also involved suspicious circumstances.
“Vail was originally investigated by the Calcasieu authorities in 1962 due to the extremely suspicious circumstances surrounding the unexplained ‘drowning’ of Mary Vail the evening of October 28, 1962,” a release from the sheriff’s office, said. “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.’”
Armed with new information from family members, investigators re-opened the case roughly one year ago. Calcasieu Coroner Dr. Terry Welke reviewed the information and found enough evidence to classify Mary Vail’s death as a homicide.
Vail, who is now 73, was located at his home in Canyon Lake, Texas, which is located between San Antonio and Austin. He reportedly waived extradition and was transported to Lake Charles. He was then booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center.
District Attorney John DeRosier will schedule Vail for a preliminary examination within 45 days. They say they will likely have an indictment against him for Second-Degree Murder sometime thereafter.