December 22, 2014

Florida officials ask to dig up Hickock’s remains

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
An Edgerton man is under investigation for a Florida murder.
Although he’s been dead since April 14, 1965, Florida detectives will ask a judge for permission to dig up the remains of Dick Hickock, formerly of Edgerton, and Perry Smith.
The pair, made famous in Truman Capote’s book, “In Cold Blood,” were convicted of killing a Kansas family in 1959.
According to the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald Tribune, detectives there suspect Hickock and Smith may have killed a Florida family while on the run from authorities in the Kansas case.
Eleven days before Hickock and Perry were arrested for the Clutter murders, the Walker family in Osprey, Fla., fell victim to a similar attack. The Walkers, including father Cliff, wife Christine, three-year-old Jimmie and two-year-old Debbie were murdered on Dec. 19, 1959.
According to the Herald-Tribune, witnesses place both men in Florida at the time of the murder. And the similarity of the crimes did not escape the notice of the condemned men.
Capote documented a conversation between the Hickock and Smith about the Walker family murders in his book.
“Know what I wouldn’t be surprised? If this wasn’t done by a lunatic. Some nut that read about what happened out in Kansas,” Smith told Hickock in “In Cold Blood.”
Florida detectives hope to match DNA evidence collected in an exhumation of Hickock and Smith to that in evidence in the Walker killings.
Long-residents Edgerton residents recalled Hickock as a petty thief, but his life ended at the end of the noose after being found guilty of killing the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kan., in 1959.
Hickock moved to Edgerton in 1945.
Ray Braun, former Edgerton resident now deceased recalled that Edgerton townspeople always knew Hickock was a con-man.
Braun told The Gardner News in 2010 that Hickock, “robbed everything in town.”
“He was the most polite boy to his mother. His mother never drove and he’d drive her into town, to the grocery store, and (he) always opened the car door for her. He was happy and friendly, but you knew he was a con man.”
Hickock is buried in Mount Muncie Cemetery in Lansing, Kan.
Corbin H. Crable contributed to this story.

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