Wednesday, June 19 2013 7:20 AM EDT2013-06-19 11:20:40 GMT
Lake Charles police are assisting in the search of a missing elderly man from Lake Charles. Leroy Stewart Sr., 85, has been missing since 10 a.m. Monday from Moss Regional Hospital. Family members ofMore >>
Lake Charles police are assisting in the search of a missing elderly man from Lake Charles.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 7:19 AM EDT2013-06-19 11:19:48 GMT
An 85-year-old man is still missing after disappearing from Moss Regional Hospital Monday morning. Lake Charles Police have been searching for Leroy Stewart, 85, in the area near Moss Regional. StewartMore >>
The daughter of the missing elderly man worries about her father and hopes for answers to his whereabouts. More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:28 PM EDT2013-06-19 01:28:13 GMT
During the summer, both a deck and a patio can provide an outdoor extension of your living space. But there are subtle differences between the two. Angie's List has tips on how to decide between a patioMore >>
During the summer, both a deck and a patio can provide an outdoor extension of your living space. But there are subtle differences between the two.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 8:04 PM EDT2013-06-19 00:04:53 GMT
Judge Robert Wyatt determined that there is probably cause to hold Felix Vail on a second-degree murder charge in the 1962 death of his wife, Mary Horton Vail. Wyatt also denied the defense's motion forMore >>
Judge Robert Wyatt determined that there is probably cause to hold Felix Vail on a second-degree murder charge in the 1962 death of his wife, Mary Horton Vail. Wyatt also denied the defense's motion for bond to be set on Vail.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:59 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:59:27 GMT
A preliminary exam is underway in 14th Judicial District Court in the case of Felix Vail, accused in the 51-year-old death of his wife, Mary Horton Vail. Mary Horton Vail was found dead in October 1962More >>
A preliminary exam is underway in 14th Judicial District Court in Calcasieu in the case of Felix Vail, accused in the 51-year-old death of his wife, Mary Horton Vail.More >>
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The following is the text of the handwritten statement Wilbert Rideau gave to FBI agents, dated February 21, 1961:
I, Wilbert Rideau, make the following voluntary statement to James Francis Wright and James W. Hamilton who have identified themselves to me a special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No threats or promises have been made to me and I know I am not required to make a statement. I know I have the right to consult with a lawyer but I do not desire to do so at this time. I know that any statement I make may be used against me in a court of law.
I was born on February 13, 1942 in Lawtell, Louisiana. I presently live at 1820 Brick Street, and have been employed at Halperns Fabric Shop in the Southgate Shopping Center in Lake Charles for about 2 years.
Halpern's is located two doors from the Southgate Branch of the Gulf National Bank. In the past I have had the occasion to do business in this branch frequently, and I came to know Mr. Jay Hickman, the manager and the two tellers, Julia Ferguson and Dora McCain.
On Wednesday, February 15, 1961, on my lunch hour I went to Waldmeier's Pawn Shop in downtown Lake Charles and purchased a .22 caliber Omega revolver, blue steel with a white handle, and a hunting knife, with a brown handle and about a 5-inch blade, and a scabbard for the knife. They cost me about $1400. About 20 minutes later I bought a box of .22 caliber short cartridges at the G.I. Surplus Store near the Southgate Shopping Center.
The next morning, February 16, 1961, I went to work at 9:00 a.m., taking with me the revolver, the knife and scabbard, and all or most of all the cartridges I had bought the day before. I had these in my coat pockets. I worked until 1:00 p.m. when I had about an hour off for lunch. I ate a cheeseburger at Youngblood's Cafe. I returned to Halpern's at about 2:15 p.m. I asked Mrs. Irby, my boss, for the remainder of the day off and she said it was all right. I told her I was sick, and I did have a slight headache. She suggested I go home.
I did not go home that afternoon, but went to Lee Martin's Store and helped the porter there for awhile, perhaps until 3:30 p.m. I then went to Mason Rideau's car parked in the lot behind the shopping center and slept until about 5:30 p.m. I went back to Lee Martin's and talked with the porter until about 6:00 p.m. and then to Weingarten's supermarket, and just fooled around talking with the various porters there, until about 6:10 p.m. when I bought a soft drink. I sat down and started thinking about all the money in The Southgate Branch and I decided to rob it. I was already familiar with the people who worked there and generally with the procedures on Thursday night. I knew that Julia Ferguson did not usually work in the branch on Thursday nights. I had been in the bank once previously that morning to get change for the store. I knew that they closed at 7:00 p.m. I was also familiar with the kind of automobile each of the 3 employees drove and knew where they always parked them while at work.
I decided to buy a suitcase to put the money in, and to make my getaway by making the employees accompany me in Dora's 1959 Buick, drive to the English Bayou area and then let the employees out of the car.
I went to the American Department Store at Southgate and bought the blue suitcase, for which I paid $12.02. I then walked to the rear of the bank, where I could see through the rear door there were no customers. I entered the bank at 6:55 p.m., put my suitcase down in the hallway just inside the door and walked into the lobby. Mr. Hickman was standing behind one of the teller's cages to the rear of the lobby. I told him a woman wanted to see him outside, and he followed me to the rear of the bank where I ordered him into a small side room. I had my hand on my revolver in my coat pocket, and I told him I meant what I said. After we entered the side room, I told him to call to the tellers and instruct them to lock the front door and pull the front curtain. I had loaded the revolver with six cartridges just before I entered the bank. I showed the gun to Mr. Hickman, by pointing it at him, and I made him know I was serious. The women closed the drapes and Mr. Hickman on my orders called them in the back. I had told Hickman I wanted money, and he so informed the tellers when they came to the back. On my orders we all went into the bank proper and there Mr. Hickman put stacks of bills in my suitcase, taking the money from the teller's cash drawers. The women were seated at a table in the rear of the teller's cages, as I had ordered them. While Mr. Hickman was placing the money in the suitcase, the telephone rang. I ordered him not to answer it, but when he said someone might get suspicious if he didn't, I ordered him to answer it, but to "talk right." He talked briefly, and hung up. I became suspicious of this call and hurried Hickman up in putting the rest of the money in the suitcase. I had planned to enter the vault and obtain the money there, but as I knew there would be a delay of 15 minutes I abandoned this idea.
I then ordered the 3 employees out the rear of the bank, and after ordering Mrs. McCain to get the keys to her car, she explained she did not have her car that day. I then ordered Julia to get her car keys, and we all walked to her Vaux ball parked behind the bank. I ordered Julia to drive and Dora to sit beside her. Mr. Hickman sat on the left side in the back seat and I beside him on the right. I made Hickman carry out the suitcase of money and he put it in the back seat of the car. I sat with my revolver in my right hand, and instructed the employees to follow my orders and Julia to drive where and as I told her. We drove to Front Street and then to Mill Street and eventually to Opelousas Street, and to Highway 171. Mr. Hickman asked if we were going to English Bayou. I then changed my plans, and ordered Julia to turn around. We returned to Opelousas Street and followed it to the dead end east of Hwy. 171, where we turned left or north on the dirt road. We drove on perhaps a half mile to a bridge across a bayou or creek, when I ordered Julia to turn around and we re-crossed the bridge and just south of the bridge, where I told her to stop the car, and I ordered them all to get out. They got out as I ordered, and I then emptied the six shots from my revolver at the three of them. I recall saying nothing to them after I ordered them out of the car and before I shot them. Mr. Hickman ran, but I knew I had hit him, and I heard him fall into the bayou near the bridge and I figured he would drown. Dora fell directly in front of me on the west shoulder of the road, and I believed I had killed her. When I shot, Julia fell down on the same side of the road near Dora. When Hickman ran off, I followed him for a few yards and then returned to the car. As I neared the car, Julia tried to get to her feet. I went to her and with the hunting knife, I stabbed her once, twice or maybe three times, and left her for dead. I believed they were all dead, and I intended that they be dead.
I then got in the car and drove back to Opelousas Street and turned west on it, but turned around again when I realized I was heading back toward town. As I neared the end of Opelousas street I stopped the car, got out, and threw the revolver out in a field. I don't remember just where I threw the knife and the scabbard, but I had got rid of them before I proceeded on.
I then drove to near Iowa, La., where I got on Highway 165 and continued north almost to Fenton, La., where I was checked by a State Trooper. He let me go and I continued on north, and almost 5 minutes later I was stopped again by 2 troopers and was taken into custody.
At that time the suitcase containing the money I had taken from the Southgate bank was on the floor in the back of the car.
I was taken to the Sheriff's Office at Lake Charles, La.
I have read this statement of 9 pages and it has been read to me by Mr. Hamilton. It is true and correct to the best of my recollection.
The statement is signed by Wilbert Rideau and witnessed by Special Agents James W. Hamilton and James Francis Wright, both of the New Orleans office of the FBI.