This is Part 2 of this write-up. Please read part 1 first. This is the link: https://www.reddit.com/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/143r7l9/felix_vail_the_pedophile_serial_killer_caught/
Born on the 7th of December 1965, Annette Craver was intelligent and creative. At 15 she was a singer-songwriter and in her senior year at a private school that specialized in medicine. Her dream was to become a midwife. http://charleyproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/vail_annette6.jpg
(A photo of Annette Craver.)
In the summer of 1981, she and her mother, Mary Rose greeted people at a friend’s yard sale in the Montrose neighborhood in Houston, Texas. They had just returned from a vacation in Mexico, and Annette felt heartsick, still infatuated with a boy named Adolfo, who was unable to join her in America. VAIL MEETS ANNETTE
While people browsed the sale, Vail pulled up on a motorcycle and spoke with Annette. He was 41 and had done some carpentry work in the area. “When I saw her, I thought, ‘That’s going to be my new girlfriend,’” he said about the 15-year-old.
In April 1982, Rose and her daughter invested in a Tulsa home that had a rental cottage behind it. Rose began renovating both. After graduating from high school, Annette joined her mother in Tulsa. Vail appeared a few days later, and convinced Annette to leave with him on his motorcycle. They lived off the $500-a-month Social Security check that she received from her father’s death 3 years prior. It would be over a year before Mary Rose would see her daughter again.
That fall, Annette (who was still 15)
would fall pregnant, and Vail would force her to have a painful abortion.
Jerry Woodall, reportedly friends with Vail later recalled an embarrassing scene, where the 42-year-old Vail was in a sleeping bag, having public sex with a 16-year-old Annette, only 20 feet away from him and his then-wife Meredith McMackin. Annette grinned and waved at them. Woodall and McMackin did their best to ignore them.
McMackin would later say that Vail had “this coldness and controlling aspect to his personality. Annette was so open and alive, but I think he just totally dominated her. He would try to convey that he was this higher form of being. At first, I thought maybe he was evolved, but then I realized it was this arrogant act.”
Later that summer, police in California would arrest Vail for violating probation a dozen years earlier. Annette telephoned Woodall, who gave her $200. After Vail walked free from prison, he and Annette decided to get married. However, as a 17-year-old she needed permission.
Annette told her mother that she loved Vail, that they were already “spiritually married” and that they would travel to Mexico and get married there if she refused. Not wanting to lose her daughter completely, Rose said OK.
On August 15th, 1983, in Bakersfield, California, the couple were wed. AFTER THE MARRIAGE
Four months after the marriage, Annette turned 18, allowing her to collect more than $98,000 ($293,500 today) from life insurance policies on her late father. Accompanied by Vail, she withdrew all the money in cash from a San Antonio bank. She bought a Fiat convertible that Vail liked and paid for his dental work.
In April 1984, Rose returned home to find Annette waiting at her door. She told her she wanted to divorce Vail, and enroll in college. She talked about Vail’s temper, including an incident where he had broken his hand trying to punch his wife. He missed and hit a wall.
A few weeks later, Vail showed up. The couple fought constantly, and Vail left after a few days. Mary Rose said that Vail was “insanely jealous” and would become furious when Annette spoke of her desire to go out with younger men.
She and Annette worked on renovating the two homes after Vail left, enjoying their time together. The 2 even started a garden together.
Annette received a letter from Vail, who vowed their time apart would fuel their love. He wrote to her: “After we hung up, I went out to a park and ran and hung and talked with God and smoked some and shot some pool and rode with the top down out through the marsh playing ‘Iron Butterfly’ [“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”] and bathing every inch of your body-spirit being with love.”
He referred to being away from Annette as “deprivation jail” and to her ego as “his jailor.”
“The idea of her cutting away ego’s “feeder roots and creating roots between your spirit and the cosmic ground of loving makes me hot for you. My mind is kissing you everywhere.”
After that, Vail would return to Annette’s life. Rose said, “Annette told me, ‘Felix is the wisest person in the world, and I can’t make decisions without him.’” His influence on Annette had only grown stronger. According to Rose, she even compared Vail to God, a comparison Vail agreed with.
After this, the couple angrily insisted that Rose move out and deed the house to Annette. Accompanied by suicidal thoughts brought on by Vail’s continued control over her daughter, Rose left for California to stay with family and friends, deeding the house to Annette for $7000 ($21,000 today) before she did.
Annette would add Vail to the deed, and a month later had deeded him both homes, leaving him as the sole owner. ANNETTE’S DISAPPEARANCE
Mere weeks after deeding the houses to Vail, the couple told neighbors they were leaving on vacation. When Vail returned in October, he was alone.
Vail told a neighbor that Annette had a lot of money wither her when he’d left her, and that she was likely visiting friends in Denver.
Upon learning that Annette hadn’t come back with Vail, Mary Rose called him. “He told me that while they were camping, Annette had a sexual dream about being with other men in Mexico, and she wanted to go there,” she recalled to an investigative reporter years later. “He claimed that the dream made them both realize that she should have her freedom.” The next day, Vail told her he had put Annette on a bus with $50,000 ($150,000 today) but didn't elaborate.
On Oct 22, 1984, Rose filed a missing person’s report. She told the Tulsa Police Department that each person who spoke with Vail “gets a different story about the amount of money that Annette took with her and where she might be. We all believe that he knows where she is or has done something with her.”
On January 22, 1985, Detective Dennis Davis and another officer questioned Vail at his home (This is obscenely late to start questioning him). By this point, Vail had filed for divorce, citing an inability to find her after a “diligent search.” Davis said her mother, Mary Rose, mentioned her daughter had received more than $90,000 from her father’s estate. Vail confirmed this was true, saying the couple had spent much of that money traveling in foreign countries. He said they kept their money in cash because they didn’t trust banks and that he had found about $10,000 in cash when he returned home.
The next day, Vail called a lawyer, who promised to talk with the officers and tell them to “leave me alone,” as he wrote in his journal.
When Davis returned five days later, Vail had a detailed alibi: The couple left Tulsa between noon and 3 p.m. on Sept. 13, 1984, and stayed the night in a hotel in Claremont, Oklahoma. After two nights of camping on the river, Annette woke up and told Vail she had decided to leave him. He took her to the Trailways Bus Station in St. Louis and left before she bought the ticket. (There is no Trailways Bus Station in St. Louis, and there has never been a Trailways Bus Station in St. Louis.)
He told the officers that she had told him she was headed for Denver, where she planned to get a fake ID card and leave for Mexico. When asked if he would take a lie detector test, Vail said no.
After Davis left, he wrote a letter to Rose. He blamed her for the “bad things” about Annette, told her that after the couple had returned from Costa Rica Annette had been “seeing friends and relatives --- completing her relationships with them for the purpose of getting ready to drop everybody and start over.” He wrote that Annette “disappeared herself from you” because Rose kept imposing her “value system” on her, and said Annette viewed her mother, grandmother, and herself as “zero self-image whores for approval.”
He explained the 2 had no plans to communicate, he did not know where she was, and that “I also assure you that even if I did know, I would not tell you.”
When Rose returned to Tulsa in April 1985, she entered the cottage Annette used to live in, only to find almost all the young woman’s belongings were gone, including her clothes and her diary.
Inside a Barbie suitcase, Rose found a photograph of her daughter and several of her identification cards. She also located things that Annette had written, including a Feb. 17, 1984, note that contradicted Vail’s claim that the couple had spent most of her inheritance on their travel to Mexico and Central American countries.
Instead, the note detailed how they used the money to buy the Fiat, pay off all of Vail’s loans, and deposit $36,000 into Louisiana Savings. It said that as of that day, they had $41,600 ($125,000 today) in cash.
Rose shared the information with the police. Detective Davis showed up again, and Vail told Davis the couple divided the money into smaller cashier’s checks, contradicting his earlier statement that they kept the money in cash.
After a while, Davis left, and despite the (seemingly obvious)
suspicious behavior of Vail, closed the missing person’s case. AFTER ANNETTE’S DISAPPEARANCE
Rose kept calling Vail after this and was finally able to reach him on September 14th 1985.
When asked about Annette’s whereabouts he refused to tell her.
When asked about Annette’s missing clothes he said he gave them to charity.
When asked about the insurance money, Vail told her ‘That’s all she really cared about.’ Rose hung up.
Two years later, fed up with the lack of progress in Annette’s case, Rose would return to Tulsa. She spent thousands of dollars on private investigators to locate Vail. When that failed, she simply went and found him herself.
Tipped off that he was staying at someone’s house, she went there with a friend and found him sitting outside. When asked where Annette went, he replied “Mexico.” When asked where in Mexico, he said the 2 had made a pact to contact each other every 5 years, contradicting his statement that the 2 didn’t have plans to communicate. Rose didn’t believe a word of it.
The whole time Vail never looked up, never stood up and never looked her in the eye. BETH FIELD
Some time after this, Vail began dating Beth Field. Soon the couple had began arguing, and Vail would call her a “whore.” During a December 1987 argument, he would strike her so hard he ruptured her ear drum. She told Vail there was no justification for violence, to which he responded, “If you quit behaving like a whore, I’ll quit hitting you.”
In August 1988 Beth received a call from Rose, sharing details about the disappearance of her daughter, Annette. From that point forward, Field said she began to examine Vail’s words more closely, realizing that he had likely murdered her.
Four months after the call, he entered her home unannounced. Already drunk, he accused her of “imagined promiscuity,” according to a court order. He slapped her, struck her, and threw her across the bedroom. She asked if Vail was going to kill her, to which Vail replied, “It depends on what you tell me.”
A judge gave her a protective order, requiring Vail to keep his distance. Two weeks later, the sheriff reported that Vail was nowhere to be found.
While Field was visiting a meditation center in Texas in 1990, Vail arrived. After composing herself, she told him “There is a part of you that goes off, and it’s sick and it’s dangerous.”
He looked at her and asked, “Really?” She said “yes, really.” This time, the message seemed to go through. Vail left the next day, and with a single exception about five years later, she never saw him again. MARY ROSE LEARNS ABOUT THE OTHER 2 CASES
In the summer of 1991 (6 years after Annette's disappearance), Rose drove over 2000 miles to Canyon Lake, Texas to speak to Sue Jordan, Felix Vail’s sister. Jordan said that Vail had told her that Annette wanted to leave, that he took her to a bus station and that she left with some Mexican men, heading for Mexico. Jordan also mentioned that Vail’s first wife had drowned, which was news to Rose.
Before she left, Jordan also told her, “Oh, you know, there was another woman that disappeared. I remember her mother calling my mother for years, checking to see if they’d heard from her. I think her name was Sharon.”
After the conversation, Rose sat down at a typewriter, writing every word she could remember. She also called the public library in Lake Charles.
The librarian remembered the 1962 drowning of Vail’s first wife, Mary Horton. She told Rose that he had taken out life insurance policies on his wife prior to her drowning and that the insurance companies were suspicious and didn’t pay the full value. The librarian made copies of newspaper articles and mailed them to her.
After reading them, Rose reached out to Mary’s family in Louisiana, speaking to Will Horton. He shared her suspicions about Vail and a copy of the 1971 National Enquirer article made after Vail's son Bill reported him to the police. When she read it, she learned that Sharon’s last name was Hensley.
In 1994, she read in the newspaper about Dolores Strehlow’s disappearance from Medford, Oregon, seven years earlier. Police had just arrested her husband, thanks to the work of Detective Terry Newell. She contacted Newell, who helped her find the family of Sharon Hensley. When Rose dialed the Hensley family, Sharon’s mother, Peggy, answered. Rose asked if Peggy knew a Felix Vail. Peggy replied with "you bet I do" THE INVESTIGATION HEATS UP… AND COOLS DOWN
The detective who helped Rose before, Terry Newell, contacted Jim Bell, a national expert in serial killings working for the FBI. When Rose talked with Bell, she felt like she'd finally gotten somewhere. He was interested in working on the Vail case if he could swing the time. He still remained busy with active serial killer cases, helping train task forces across the U.S. Vail’s son, Bill, told Rose that he was willing to testify, as long as authorities provided protection to his family. Both the Tulsa police and the district attorney’s office in Lake Charles revived their investigations into Vail, now considered a suspected serial killer.
Bell suggested the victims’ families gather with authorities at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, to share information on Vail. He was unable to work on the case and left the FBI in 1995. The meeting in Quantico never materialized, and the cases involving Vail grew cold once again. A QUICK RUN DOWN OF EVENTS
In the fall of 1997, family and friends held a mural for Annette.
Diagnosed with esophageal cancer, Vail’s son Bill heard from doctors that he didn’t have long to live. He’s quoted saying “now I’ll get to be with my mom.” Months before passing away in 2009, Bill talked about his father in a recorded interview with his pastor at Grace Church in Overland Park, Kansas.
On Jan. 3, 2009, Bill died, and Vail wrote in his journal, “I feel a large empty hole in my being where his life presence has been for 47 years,” before writing about getting a good haircut. He drove to Kansas but didn’t attend his own son’s funeral. If he had, he would have heard the recording, with his son detailing how he had overheard his father talk about murdering Bill's mother, Mary.
When Vail learned of the recording, he wrote to Pastor Tim Howey, asking for a copy. He blamed his son’s statements on “false memories,” saying, “I have not known about it until now and am stunned.”
In 2012, while attempting to confront Vail with reporter Jerry Mitchell whom she had contacted to write about Vial, Rose was stopped by Kaye Faulkner, Vial’s sister. She told Rose and Mitchell of the recording and urged Mitchell to get a copy of it. She also said that she believed Vial had murdered Mary Horton, Sharon Hensley, and Annette Craver.
She gave the reporter Vial’s number, as well as the numbers of her other brother, Ronnie, and her sister, Beth. Vial didn’t answer those calls, so Mitchell left a message. Ronnie promised to speak to his brother on his behalf. MITCHELL INVESTIGATES
Mitchell arrived in Lake Charles and stopped by the Southwestern Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library, which shared copies from old city directories. He began tracking down people who had lived in the Maree Apartments with Felix and Mary.
Many described Mary’s fair of drowning. A close friend of Vails, Judson McCann II described Vial as a ladies’ man, and insinuated he was a cheater. “Many nights, his car wouldn’t be home, and Mary would be there with the lights on. When Felix was gone, it wasn’t because he was trotline fishing.”
Another close friend, Bob Hodges described Vial’s story of Mary ‘falling’ in the river as “horse manure.”
A college roommate of Mary, Sandra Sudduth Pratt, said “Nobody believed it was an accident.”
Mitchell shared Mary’s autopsy report with pathologist Dr. Michael Baden of New York City, who concluded that foul play had taken place in her death.
The report showed large bruises with bleeding into tissues on the left side of the neck, which he said suggested she suffered forceful neck trauma before entering the water. There were hemorrhagic bruises to the right calf and left leg above the knee, which he said were consistent with a struggle before her submersion. But most convincingly of all was the scarf authorities found around her neck that extended 4 inches into her mouth, which suggested traumatic asphyxia before entering the water.
“Somebody had to push that scarf into her mouth. She had to have that scarf wedged in her mouth before she was put in the water.”
A cousin put Mary’s brother Will Horton in touch with former detective “Rabbit” Manuel, who had headed up the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Office’s investigation back in 1962. He had never forgotten Mary’s death. “Felix’s story just didn’t add up. The fishing tackle was dry. The trotline was dry. The boat was dry. Even Felix’s cigarettes were dry, despite him telling the deputies he dove straight in the water to save Mary.”
He and Manuel met with “Lucky” DeLouche, who directed an elite task force unit that investigated homicides. Three young detectives took notes as they talked. Manuel shared details from the case, saying deputies (officers) wanted to prosecute, but the district attorney wouldn’t let them. Horton shared the autopsy report, Vail’s letters and his belief that Vail was a serial killer. Horton said DeLouche replied, “This absolutely fits the profile of a serial killer,” to which the other detectives agreed.
Shortly afterwards, DeLouche left the task force, and for seemingly the hundredth time, grew cold again.
After Mitchell posted a story about Vail titled “Gone” (It’s nearly 9,000 words long, and the precursor to the 35,500 word story I have drawn heavily from) a man named Wesley Turnage contacted him. He told him of a conversation he had had with Vail in 1963 during a car ride.
According to Turnage, Vail called Mary a bitch and said she thought another child would help solve their marriage problems. He quoted Vail as saying, “She wanted to have another kid. I didn’t want the one I got. I fixed that sorry bitch. She will never have another one.”
Mitchell would make another discovery. District Attorney Salter Jr. had ordered that the judge dismiss 882 criminal cases — more than three cases for each working day.
Will Horton told Mitchell the original detectives in the case told him that Salter wouldn’t allow them to present the evidence they had collected against Vail. That matched the stories Mitchell had heard from grand jurors’ families.
Horton then contacted District Attorney John DeRosier, who said he would be willing to reopen the case if there was enough evidence.
Then came an interesting wrinkle in the story. Finding Vail.
He’d disappeared, returning on Labor Day weekend 2012 to sell his property, before disappearing again. Luckily, another reader of "Gone" came to the rescue. He phoned Mitchell, telling him where Vial was. Canyon Lake, Texas.
Mitchell then contacted Enzo Yaksic, founder of the Serial Homicide Expertise and Information Sharing Collaborative. Yaksic then contacted Armin Showalter, acting chief for the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, which specialized in serial homicide investigations.
Yaksic shared a copy of GONE with Showalter, who in turn called Calcasieu Parish Deputy Randy Curtis, now taking on the Vail case. Curtis phoned Mitchell to find out where Vail was. A few days later, he called back to say the FBI had discovered Vail purchased property at 737 Shadyview Drive in Canyon Lake.
On Jan. 18, 2013, Curtis decided to confront Vail. He found him at that address, living in a storage shed. Curtis said he read Vail his rights before asking him about the death and disappearances of the women. Vail refused to say anything, accusing families and The Clarion-Ledger (Where "Gone" was published) of lying about him. The whole time, Vail couldn’t stop smirking.
Will Horton gave Mitchell the number of his cousin, who was a caretaker for 90-year-old Isaac Abshire Jr. When Mitchell sat down with the man, he shared a haunting story.
Abshire had worked with Vail and offered him a room to rent out. Once Vail and Mary were married, Vail had moved out. Abshire viewed himself as “a big brother” to Mary, calling her “a sweet little girl.”
After the marriage, Vail had become angry at work, talking about how ugly his wife was when she was pregnant, and how he didn’t like his baby. On the Friday before she was killed, the couple visited Abshire, bringing Bill, who was still an infant. Mary privately asked Abshire if he thought Vail could take her baby away.
Two days later, Mary was dead.
Abshire and two other workers went out the next day to drag the river. The next morning, Oct. 30, 1962, he returned with one of them, Jimmy May, to continue dragging.
Abshire said while they were talking, “something popped up. A guy with binoculars asked, ‘Does she have blonde hair?’ I said, ‘Yes, that’s her.’”
They recovered the body, and Abshire could never forget what he saw. Her body was rigid, and a scarf was wrapped around her neck before going into her mouth. Blood boiled on the boat, everyone voicing the same opinion. Vail had killed Mary.
Abshire had kept photos from that day for over 50 years. He said he had given them to Deputy Curtis as well as a copy of the 1962 sheriff’s report, which listed 15 points suggesting Vail’s guilt.
Despite being behind on major bills, Vail had managed to pay an entire year’s premiums in advance for a $50,000 ($150,000 today) life insurance policy on his wife. He had a second life insurance policy on her for $8,000 ($24,000 today), which promised to pay double if she died by accident.
It was almost as if he knew she was about to die.
Deputies had reported witnesses claims that Vail had told them he didn’t love his wife, that she looked stupid and vulgar, and that he had had sexual relations with multiple women, and at least one man.
Vail told deputies that his wife was wearing an off-white leather jacket when she went into the water. But she wasn’t wearing the jacket when her body was recovered. Inside his boat, deputies found two life preservers. Mary had not been wearing one, despite her fear of drowning. As for the trotline the 2 were supposedly running, deputies found it still inside Vail’s tackle box.
Most witnesses the Deputies had spoken too felt that Vail was capable of killing his wife.
When asked if he believed Vail killed his wife, Abshire said “Oh, my God, yes.” THE CHASE & THE FINAL CLUES:
Ever since Vail had sold his Mississippi property, Mary Rose had wondered if he would eventually sell the Tulsa property, the one she and Annette had lived in. He did. Vail sold it for $149,000. Rose asked the question on the mind of everyone investigating. “What is he going to do with all that money? --- He could be running.”
On April 30th Mitchell got a call saying that Vail had left Texas. He was pulled over by police in Columbus, Mississippi after hopping the fence of his now dead brother Ronnie’s property. Curtis told Mitchell that the Columbus police were sending him a photo of Vail and the white pick-up truck he was pulled over in. He once again warned Mitchell that Vail could be running.
Vail’s sister called again, saying she heard her brother was heading to Montpelier. She wondered if he was driving to the home of possible witness Wesley Turnage.
Mitchell called Turnage to let him know that Vail might be headed his way. Turnage replied “If he sets foot on my property, there won’t be no trial.” He called Mitchell back later, saying no one in Montpelier had seen Vail.
Private Investigator Gina Frenzel, who had questioned Vail herself, including pretending to be his girlfriend, called Mitchell with good news. Vail had contacted her and told her he was back in Canyon Lake. Mitchell informed Curtis. On May 17th 2012, authorities arrested Felix Vail for the murder of his wife Mary Horton.
In telephone calls from the jail in Lake Charles, he shared his explanation of what happened the night of Oct. 28, 1962, when Mary died.
He referred to his first wife as a “coon-ass lady,” saying she was “half kneeling” on his feet when she “saw one of the float buckets that were on the line.” He said the boat was “going real slow along the edge of the bank when the boat hit a stump ... and it dumped her right out.” Vail said he shut off the motor and dove in “where she had plopped in the water. I mean, nothing. The river had sucked her right in.” He said he “dove around until I was exhausted, and came in immediately to the police station in town and reported the accident and that was it.”
This story differed greatly from his story in 1962 when he said his wife was sitting on top of a boat seat when she fell out, not that she was kneeling on his feet. Back then, he said nothing about hitting a stump — just swerving to miss it.
It also differed from the story he had told his son, where a wave from another boat had dumped Mary out.
Vail told Frenzel that the case “has been an avalanche coming down the mountain all that time, waiting to hit my head, and it finally has.”
He blamed the families and Mitchell, “an evil, shrimpy reporter,” for what had happened, calling the charges “fabricated” and insisting that “a large amount of money, hate and political ambitions are behind them.”
At Vail’s request, Frenzel returned his truck to his home and went inside to take care of a few tasks. While there, she spent 16 hours photographing all his journals, more than 2,400 pages. She also photographed letters, documents, photographs and business cards, some dating back to the 1960s. She found a collection of women’s jewelry, old buttons, pins, and even a glass dildo.
Disturbingly, if at this point unsurprisingly, she found a photograph of a naked 3-year-old girl. Frenzel later spoke with the girl, now a woman. The journals revealed that Vail had stalked her for years.
Frenzel discovered the birth certificate of Annette Craver, who had used it for previous trips to Mexico.
Mitchell and Frenzel poured through the journals she had photographed. They noticed gaps in them that lead them to believe Vail had ripped pages out, including times when he should have been with Sharon and Annette.
His journals were dominated by sex, dreams of sex and reflected an obsession with children. In a March 27, 1986, entry, Vail wrote about the visit of a woman and her daughters in his home. “The little girls were delicious --- We massaged some, hugged & kissed some & it was 12 (midnight) & time for them to go.”
On Aug. 29, 1992, Vail walked into the Wal-Mart in West Point, and as he wrote in his journal “a 1-year-old white girl looked in my eyes loving me like there was no age difference between us.”
When Mitchell interviewed Kert Germany, a co-worker of Vail in 1977 he said that Vail attracted women wherever he went, and that Vail had told him the best sex of his life had been with 2- or 3-year-old girl.
It was that this time that Alexandra Christianson, Vail’s ex-wife called Mitchell and told him her story. She also put him in contact with Bruce Biedebach, the man she had been on a date with when she left with Vail. Biedebach would tell Mitchell that during a party in 1965 that turned into a “boast-fest” Vail had boasted about something he had done, that no one else had done.
Killed his wife.
He told the men at the party that he had held his wife’s head underwater until she drowned.
Biedebach then put Mitchell in contact with Rob Fremont, who had bicycled around California with Vail when he was 13. He said that while riding with Vail, he had told him that he hit his wife on the head and drowned her. Fremont never rode with him again after that.
With as much evidence as they could possibly gather, the case went to trial.
Vail’s trial began on August 8th, 2016.
District Attorney John DeRosier laid out the evidence clearly.
He spoke of the evidence against Vail about Mary’s murder on October 28th, 1962.
He spoke about Vail swearing to Sharon Hensley’s mother that she wanted to start a new life in 1974.
He spoke about his letters to Mary Rose, telling her he wouldn’t tell her where her daughter Annette was “even if he knew.” Vail smirked at that one.
Finally, he spoke to the jurors.
“Mary Horton Vail is gone, Sharon Hensley is gone,” DeRosier said, “and Annette Craver Vail is gone.”
“You’re going to write the last chapter, and it’s simply going to read, ‘And justice was finally done. William Felix Vail, guilty as charged.’”
Prosecutors called all three families to testify.
Will Horton told jurors of his sister, “Mary was the kind of person you would want as a friend.” He broke while talking about visiting his nephew after he death in 1962. “I just wanted Bill to know how much his mother loved him.”
Brian Hensley told jurors that he last saw his sister, Sharon, with Vail before the pair left Bismarck, North Dakota, in 1972. Other than a telephone call and letter in the months that followed, he said no one had seen or heard from her since.
When Mary Rose took the stand, Vail bowed his head.
This was the woman who had been working for 32 long years to bring him into this court.
This was the mother who had waited 32 years for this moment.
She called Annette “a huge light in my life. We were always loving toward each other.” She testified that Vail ran off with her daughter on his motorcycle and married her. She testified that Annette, who inherited nearly $100,000 and received two homes, disappeared weeks after deeding those homes to Vail.
Wesley Turnage, Rob Fremont, and Bruce Biedebach swore under oath that Vail said he killed his first wife. Biedebach said he asked Vail if Mary was a bitch, to which Vail had said yes. Vail laughed in court as he told the story.
The current coroner, forensic pathologist Dr. Terry Welke, testified that in most drownings, the body comes up in a “dead person’s float,” with the back of the head surfacing first and the limbs hanging down in the water.
After sharing a series of pictures to show it, he showed the court two black-and-white photographs of Mary Horton when her body was recovered on Oct. 30, 1962, less than two days after she reportedly drowned. Her body was stiff, with her hands over chest as if she was in a coffin.
They also saw the videotaped testimony of Isaac Abshire Jr, who had died in 2014. He said her body was stiff when it surfaced either sideways or face up when she bobbed up in the Calcasieu River.
That testimony helped contribute to Welke’s homicide conclusion. So did the unbroken grease-like stain across her Chi Omega sweatshirt, which he believed could have come from a tarp covering her. Welke concluded Mary was dead and stiff before her body went into the water, explaining why rigor had set in.
Testimony was heard of Vail not paying for his own wife’s funeral, despite having made thousands from her life insurance.
The jury didn’t even take a half hour to reach their verdict.
William Felix Vail Sr was unanimously found guilty of murdering Mary Horton. He was sentenced to life in prison.
After the verdict, the prosecutor also revealed that the FBI had found out that Vail had molested a child over 30 years ago. They were unable to put him on trial for it, as the statue of limitations had passed.
Finally, nearly 54 years after she was murdered, Mary Horton had found justice.
Finally, 42 years after her disappearance, Sharon Hensley had found justice.
And Annette Craver, with the help of her mother Mary Rose’s tireless efforts, had finally found justice after 32 years. https://content.api.news/v3/images/bin/f75084c7dce4fb08e12e45ccba5e40a1
This a photo of Mary, Sharon and Annette. I felt it was fitting to end off with. May they all rest in peace. MY SOURCES: https://www.namus.gov/MissingPersons/Case#/8284?nav https://charleyproject.org/case/annette-michelle-craver-vail https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/local/felixvailgone/2016/12/29/felix-vail-gone-one-wife-dead-two-other-missing-jerry-mitchell/95895894/ https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/5796622/mary-elizabeth-vail https://charleyproject.org/case/sharon-hensley https://www.namus.gov/MissingPersons/Case#/20525?nav
I’ve recently picked up the equipment to start my first batch of wine. I’ve heard good things about Jack Kellers recipes and have looked through the pdf, I’m leaning towards Jack Keller’s Strawberry Rhubarb Recipe but I have a few questions. Should I start with something a bit simpler? I’ve done fermentation before but nothing to this level. And if I do should I instead make a batch of strawberry and a batch of rhubarb and then blend the two after some bench trials. From someone with no experience, blending the two immediately seems like the best option that gives me the most control over the outcome. Im just not sure if I’d be losing out on any (good) flavor that fermenting the two together would bring. Also completely unrelated does anyone have a preference of white grape concentrate and where do you get it from? A lot of Jack Kellers recipes use it but from my research Welches discontinued theirs and when visiting my local brew shop (Bell’s) they’ve cut down on a lot of their home brewing supplies including their white grape concentrate.
Should we call this big news Tuesday? Both the Citizen and the Zodiac are nice!
What's new 1/ Citizen Surprises With New, Smaller, 37mm Promaster Diver Collection
If I were a betting man, I would put the Citizen Promaster line at the very top of divers when it comes to popularity. It is not an expansive collection of watches like Seiko tends to do, and it is an absolute bargain if you are looking for a tough sports watch that will take a beating. However, the line of people who could never wear one is just as long, if not even longer, due to the size of the watch - 44mm is just a huge watch. Well, no longer. Citizen just announced a new Promaster Diver line in 37mm in three colors - black, blue and pink.
Despite shrinking down the watch below 37mm (and 11.6mm thick), the Citizen Promaster remains a capable diver with 200m water resistance. Actually, it retains most of the functionality and looks of the bigger watch. It still has the very recognizable hands, a 4:30 date window, dive time bezel and the legendary rubber strap. Inside the watch is the Eco-Drive E168 movement which is solar powered and gets you six months of power without the need for light exposure. All three variations – black, blue, and pink
(with a rose gold-toned steel case) – will set you back $375.
This watch comes at a perfect time where a lot of watchmakers are skewing smaller to keep up with changing tastes from consumers. To have such a popular watch in such an appealing package and at such a price, this will have to be a huge hit for Citizen. 2/ Zodiac Unveils Two New Incredible Colors To the Super Sea Wolf Compression Diver
Most divers are a sea of blues and blacks, with the occasional silver and a splash of color. Zodiac has a different philosophy. They are on a mission to create the most colorful and out-there diver. And boy, are they good at it. Now they’re introducing two new core colorways into its Super Sea Wolf Compression collection - the Seafoam, obviously a seafoam green with black, white, and a touch of orange, and the Gulf, which takes on the classic light blue, orange, and silver colorway of the Gulf oil company which served as one of the most iconic racing car livery ever.
Both models feature the same 41mm × 13.4mm steel case with a water resistance rating of 200m, and both have the STP 1-11 movement inside. The Gulf model comes on a five-row stainless steel bracelet with a butterfly clasp and a spring-loaded extension while the Seafoam has a color matching tropic-style rubber strap with a pin buckle.
The Gulf has a light blue bezel with an orange minute track that frames a bright silver dial. If the photo’s of this watch look familiar, it’s because this is a callback to the vintage Zodiac Sea Wolf 1781W, one of the most desirable Zodiac models. While this watch is up from the original’s 35mm, it’s still a close-enough recreation that it makes for a good alternative.
The Seafoam also leans vintage, not so much into the Zodiac back catalogue, but rather into popular culture of the late 50’s and the guitars, fridges and cars that came in an almost identical color. The watch has a seafoam green dial, matching strap, a black bezel, and a pop of orange on the minute hand.
Both models are available for purchase now and the new ZO9304 “Gulf”
on steel costs US$1,595, while the ZO9305 “Seafoam”
on rubber will set you back US$1,295. 3/ Zenith Blings Up The New Defy Skyline Skeleton With Just Enough Gold
The Zenith El Primero movements really are iconic and Zenith knows this. I guess that’s the reason why they are making some of the best skeleton watches today. Following the earlier Defy Skyline Skeleton model which featured symmetrical black and blue open dials with a four-pointed star formed by the cut-out and the Defy Skyline Boutique Edition with silvery-grey finishes, zenith is now releasing a new Defy Skyline Boutique Edition, this one with subtle touches of gold that make the watch even better.
Just like the previous models, this new skeletonized Defy comes in an angular-shaped 41 mm case with a 12-sided, faceted bezel inspired by the Defy models from past times and a screw-down crown. The colorway, as mentioned, is similar to the previous model with silver-grey finishes, but it also has a slightly darker chapter ring and applied gold-plated baton hour markers filled with Super-LumiNova, and matching hour and minute hands, only now there’s less dial and more movement.
Inside the watch, visible through the dial, is the El Primero 3620 SK, with the 3620 as a base, reworked, featuring the 1/10th of a second sub-dial at 6 o’clock, right on top of the watch’s 5Hz escapement, and it comes without the date indication. It has a stop-second feature for accurate time setting and a power reserve of 55 hours. The watch comes on either a steel bracelet or a rubber strap with a starry sky pattern. The watch costs CHF 10,900
, which, all things considering, looks like a very fair price. 4/ Nomos Teams Up With Wempe For An Icy Blue Dialed Tangente For Hot Summer Days
There seem to be two trends this summer in watches. One is something that Zodiac is embracing fully - going all out on color; while the other is one specific color that we have now seen on several watches - ice blue, a color that seems to be the color of the summer. Nomos has teamed up with famous retailer Wempe to create a special edition Tangente Neomatik Update 41 for Wempe Signature Collection in this exact color.
It’s still a Tangente Neomatik. This means a 41mm stainless steel case that’s only 7.9mm thick with straight and angled lugs. The narrow bezel that holds the sapphire crystal serves as a visual trick to make the watch look much larger than it is. The main difference comes from the dial and it’s ice-blue dial, whose light tones are offset by blued hands and black indices and numerals. The darker blue colour is also found on the date complication, which shows each date through cutout sections in between the date digits on the outer rim of the dial.
The reason for the date being displayed in this unique fashion is the Calibre DUW 6101 inside the watch. To keep it as thin as possible and not have to stack the date disc on the movement, Nomos moved the date disc outside of the outer edge of the movement. The date can also be adjusted in both directions through the crown, while the movement itself stores 42 hours of power reserve. The watch comes on a very nice blue-black textile strap with a stainless steel pin buckle
This is a limited edition of 200 pieces, all of which are exclusively sold through Wempe’s showrooms for a price of EUR 3,400
. 5/ The New Credor Goldfeather Is An Uncommon, Pricey And Gorgeous Option For A Dress Watch That Will Be Hard To Get
From 1960 to 1969, Grand Seiko was Seiko’s top brand, both in quality and price. However, with the advent of quartz watches, Grand Seiko was dethroned as the most expensive watches. In 1974, Seiko separated their most high-end quartz watches into a line called Crêts d’Or, which literally means Golden Crests, but «Crêts» is a french word that applies more specifically to the summits of the Jura Mountains, a chain of mountains spreading between France and Switzerland, known to be the birthplace of watchmaking.
After alternating the name between Crêts d’Or and Credor a few times, Seiko finally settled on Credor (Credor and Crêts d’or have the exact same pronunciation in French) in 1978 but it still was just a separate line of watches within Seiko’s catalog and was branded with a simple SEIKO logo below the 12 o’clock position. In 1978, Credor became its own brand, with the dial that said Credor Seiko. Since then Grand Seiko and Credor have been the pinnacle of Seiko watchmaking.
It’s not often that you get to se a Credor watch, and they are even more rare outside of Japan. However, the folks over at Fratello have dug up a new, very interesting, release from Credor - the new Credor Goldfeather. The Gold Feather, as Seiko spelled it at launch, is a watch from 1960 which focused on absolute thinness. With the hand-wound caliber 60M it was just 2.95mm thick and was all the more impressive because it had a central seconds hand.
The reissue, named the Credor Goldfeather is thin, but not that thin. The 18k gold case measures 37.1mm wide and 7.7 thick. The watches are powered by the hand-winding 6890 caliber. The 6890 is just 1.98mm thick, and in this watch, the movement is attached directly to the case to keep the thickness to a minimum. However, the new Credor does not have a seconds hand.
The Credor Goldfeather will come in two variants. The first model, reference GBBY982, is in 18K yellow gold limited edition of just 30 pieces. The second model, reference GBBY980, is in 18K rose gold and will be a regular-production piece. The limited yellow gold model has a sunburst brushed dial with engraved hour indices, minute track, and Credor name. On the rose gold variant, Credor chose to use applied indices and a painted logo.
Reference GBBY982 will be released on July 8th in Japan as a pre-sale with availability in April 2024 at the Credor shop. Pricing is not for the faint of heart at approximately €22,700. For the reference GBBY980 pre-orders start on August 11th in Japan and also available in April 2024 in the Credor shop. Pricing is slightly less at roughly €22,000.
On hand - a selection of reviews 1/ Hands-On With The New Yema Superman 500 Dato In White And Khaki 2/ A Review of Bulgari's New Aluminium Summer-Ready Limited Editions 3/ Is The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar 5261R Really A Women’s Watch?
Watch Worthy - A look at an offbeat, less known watch you might actually like The Stella Breslin revives the linen dial for the here and now
All of those features would be nothing if it didn’t have a good base, and the Stella Breslin’s linen dial is breathtaking. Linen dials are a little bit of a lost art in watchmaking, although there’s nothing in theory which makes them more difficult than any other highly textured pattern. The Classic Blue is richer than the Felix’s Dress Blue, and is paired with crisp white lume instead of the cream colour. There’s a Silver dial which almost looks made of polished meteorite, and would be best suited to more formal situations. The most fun option however is the Raspberry dial, hovering somewhere between a hot pink and a crimson red. It’s a truly great colour that you don’t see very often in other watches which boast pink or red dials, making it a unique display of personality.
People loved the Seiko Alpinist giveaway! That's why I'm doing a new one. This time, we're giving away four Hamilton Khaki Field Automatics in a color of your choice. Head on over to the newsletter
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I played it in France as a very young child so my memories are super blurry, and I have been unable to find it anywhere. I believe it was on Windows 94 or 95. You could explore a virtual representation of some Hollywood studios, drawn in a cartoon style, and click on various elements to unlock some black and white cartoons like Felix the cat, Betty Boop or Popeye. I would say it was focused on the Fleischer studios as I don't remember any Disney or Tex Avery characters. I feel that maybe the title on the box was written in purple ? I remember something purple and somewhere in the game a short animated feature with two old people on their rocking chairs while an old music played. I ended up conflating that one memory with the song Old folks at home, which may or may not have been the song that was indeed played. It maybe was shown as if on a cinema screen too, and that is all I can remember. Thank you for reading !
Hello! I am very excited for my upcoming trip all over Europe from June 13- August 13. My only experience traveling internationally was a short solo trip to Greece, so I would love to get some feedback from experienced solo travelers on my itinerary.
June 13: Arrive in Nice, France
June 13-18: Madrid
June 18-22: Barcelona (considering switching this to a less touristy destination, perhaps Valencia, would love thoughts on this!)
For these dates I am also considering going somewhere in Belgium and Germany instead, since it is on the way from Nice to Amsterdam. But I really want to try out my limited Spanish! Would love some thoughts on that.
June 22-25: Amsterdam/Den Hauge*
June 26-28: Zurich, Switzerland*
June 28- July 4ish: Isola delle Femmine, Sicily*
July 4ish-July 17: Mainland Italy, I am thinking a few days in Florence, a few days in Orbetello to see a friend, a day in Rome, and somewhere on the Amalfi coast. Also would love suggestions for where to stay and what to see here!
July 17-Jul 23: Tunisia*
July 23- 31: Paris*
August 1-13: I fly out of Nice, and I want to stay at least a day or two in Monaco with a friend right before my flight, but other than that I am thinking of exploring France, perhaps Marseille.
Places marked with * are places I already have a place to stay (mostly people generous enough to let me crash on their couch) and are not as felixible. That's also why I'm doing a good amount of crisscrossing the continent. I am also planning on getting a Eurorail pass and trying to do most of my traveling by train. Any recommendations of where to stay (would love to stay at hostels that are easy to make friends at) and things to do are appreciated! Thanks so much :)
It’s over…it’s finally over…now where am I gonna get my footy fix? “Watch the MLS?” I’d rather take up heavy drinking again. The World Cup, the Champions League, and the EPL did a number on my sanity this season. Anyone else feeling this way?
Manchester City: It looked like the monopoly was going to finally end again. City brought in a whole new squad with Haaland, Akanji, Alvarez, Sergio Gomez, and integrating academy players like Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis. The first half of the season you could see Pep’s children struggling to play with Haaland. But then…Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish must’ve been juicing in the dressing room. The back half of the season saw Haaland explode with his 36 goals, the most of a single striker in a season. They not only victimized the leaders in Arsenal, they stormed the gates, ravaged the village and took the riches for themselves. AGAIN. Winning the FA Cup is routine by now. But the Champions League…That’s the main prize. Becoming the next English team to win a treble is a good add-on. Man United can punch air knowing they’re still miles behind the noisy neighbors who have now won six league titles under Pep. Better sort of these contracts for Gundogan, Laporte, and Mahrez though. Or don’t, because we know they can replace anyone with all that oil money.
Arsenal: You bottled the league title after over 264 days at the top do the league? What’re you, Tottenham??? This is shambolic squad management. Even with all those reinforcements in Trossard and Jorginho, they couldn’t keep up the pace. Not only do you lose out on the title, you went trophyless. The Cup showings were even worse than previous seasons. And you want to say it wasn’t a bottle job? My brother in Christ, you lost to Southampton. This was the best chance Arsenal has had at ending the league title drought but Arteta is still showing himself as diet Pep. Even if you do buy more exiled City players, more is still needed. Welcome back to the Champions League, I guess. It’s good having a young team like this. Do not fuck it up. Do not waste the young years of Odegaard and Saka.
Newcastle: That Saudi investment is working. The Magpies used their newfound riches to attract the likes of Isak and Botman knowing they were only a few steps away from Champions League nights. Then came the addition of Anthony Gordon because squad depth is paramount in a game like this. And they got it. For the first time since 2004, Newcastle is in Europe. Eddie Howe deserves a lot of praise for the work he has done. He’s unlocked Callum Wilson, Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin. Kieran Trippier’s career has been revived. Even players like Big Bird Dan Burn have flourished. We all knew this was going to happen. Just not this soon. We now have to deal with TWO oil money clubs jockeying for the title. I can understand why haters think they’re screwed. Get your money up or get your funny up.
Manchester United: I’m going to give Erik Ten Hag a 7/10 for his first season in Manchester. He got Marcus Rashford scoring again. That was an achievement in itself. Casemiro turned out to be the best thing for United since Fergie. When he’s not getting red cards. Luke Shaw took big strides even at center back. A commendable top 4 finish and a League Cup plus the FA Cup final to round it out. They still lost some really foolish games and they had the Cristiano situation. David De Gea doesn’t look like his old self anymore either. The Glazers-to nobody’s surprise-have still not sold the club. The lack of depth signings continue. But they’re in good position for a nice run next season. Who knows, maybe the Qataris will buy the club. That’ll change things. You’ll just be like Manchester City, I’m just saying…
Liverpool: Well, well, well…Liverpool missed out on Champions League football. It was a trying season, I get it. Not having any reliable midfielders will do that. You brought in Arthur Melo because reasons. Henderson and Fabinho looked like shells of themselves. The departure of Sadio Mane rocked the team, and Darwin Nunez or Diogo Jota couldn’t fill the role. Injuries piled up and the trauma continued. Luis Diaz barely played this season because of them. Trent was cooked on defense all season long. Yet Liverpool still ground out a 5th place finish. Klopp’s not done in England yet. The future remains unclear as FSG continue pondering selling the team or giving Klopp more signings. Knowing how injured Van Djik and Konate have been, they might need it. Especially in midfield. They’re hurting bad in the middle of the park. At least you’re not Everton. Take solace in knowing Alexis Mac Allister is likely on his way to Anfield.
Brighton: Graham Potter leaving Brighton was the greatest thing to ever happen to this club. That and having the best scouting network in the whole league. Finding ballers in the South American youth ranks, the J-League and other random places formed a pesky unit of warriors. Karou Mitoma, Alexis Mac Allister, Julio Enciso, Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinian, Evan Ferguson, Lewis Dunk, Jason Steele. These are the core of Roberto De Zerbi’s army of seagulls. Welcome to European football, boys. Just know you will have to start the next campaign without Mac Allister and likely Caicedo. They’ve attracted too much attention from bigger teams. Even City is sniffing around at Mitoma. I’m honestly impressed, Brighton. I’m also insanely jealous of your scouting network.
Aston Villa: Who knew Steven Gerrard was a fraudulent manager living off the success of a single Scottish title win? LITERALLY EVERYONE. Thus, Villa canned him for Unai Emery, and for the best. They went from relegation fodder to a berth in the Conference League. Ollie Watkins found his scoring touch again. Emi Buendia is now living up to the expectations (somewhat). Lucas Digne is back to Champions League-caliber. Philippe Coutinho is not even a core player anymore, just a good impact sub at this point. Villa might be punching a little above their weight but they’ve been defying expectations for a while now. With the godfather of European football at the helm, the sky is the limit. Welcome back to Europe, boys.
Tottenham: LOL Spurs always reigns supreme. I swear, it’s like rooting for the New York Mets: champagne expectations, perpetual disappointment. This season went from promising to utter dumpster fire in a matter of weeks. Antonio Conte got fed up with the players being shit again and got himself sacked promptly after that fiery press conference. Daniel Levy has never been under more pressure from fans and Harry Kane before. Spurs went from maybe squeaking out Europa League to missing out on Europe entirely. They wasted a 30-goal season from Harry Kane. Son was out of form all season. Richarlison scored 1 league goal all season. They had no defense and Lloris looks like Father Time got the best of him. Games were bottled, and through it all, they are now manager-less AGAIN. Is is time for Levy to step down? I don’t know, but he needs to do something about this team. It’s not even fun to complain about Spurs anymore. Now it’s just pure, unadulterated apathy.
Brentford: This is a fun team to watch. Thomas Frank is a magician with these players. Even with Ivan Toney going full Calvin Ridley mode, Brentford managed to win big matches when it mattered. Bryan Mbuemo played understudy to Toney most of the season but stepped up when they needed him. Rico Henry flourished at the back. Ben Mee transformed into a better player than he was at Burnley. David Raya is making a name for himself as clubs like Spurs eye him. Even Thomas Frank is getting considered for new roles. The Bees are buzzing. The West London newbies not only had a solid summer transfer window, they have finished top 10 in the second season of the big show. Now comes the hard part: next year. What do you do without Toney? Will you buy a new striker like Jonathan David? It remains to be seen, but in Frank’s Nordic vision we trust. He’s definitely got some crafty Danes or Norwegians waiting for a call.
Fulham: Speaking of West London clubs, I’m gonna buy these guys a round next time I see them. Congratulations, Fulham! You didn’t get relegated! Marco Silva didn’t even have to work miracles to do it. They played well at times, and obviously shit the bed in others. But you can’t say they didn’t fight every minute of every game. Aleksander Mitrovic finally learned how to score in the Prem. Willian returned to West London in full cry. Tim Ream made us Yanks proud as he held it down at the back. The X Factor: Joao Palhinha. You didn’t bend the knee willingly, boys. That shows character. Gotta say I’m proud. Now keep going, Tony Khan. You know they can aim just a tad higher.
Crystal Palace: Palace didn’t really do anything different this season. I say that because they pretty much finished where they always do. Comfortably mid-table again. I really thought Patrick Vieria was doing something at Selhurst Park, but then he was relieved of his duties after a bad patch of form. So they decided to recycle the nostalgia and bring back Roy Hodgson…uh huh. Nothing really changes does it? Eberechi Eze turned into a special player. Zaha was Zaha, nothing new there. Jordan Ayew played solidly too. Michael Olise might be the standout player. He was really getting linked with a move to PSG to replace Messi?? I prefer not to speak.
Chelsea: Lol Spurs? No, LOL CHELSEA! We all knew the Todd Boehly takeover was gonna change things. We didn't expect a dip into total mediocrity. All while spending over 600 million quid on player signings. Thomas Tuchel was sacked....then Graham Potter got 8 months to make things worse...then they brought back Frank Lampard to see out the season because that's American forward thinking. Yea the viibes are horrendous at Stamford Bridge. Bringing in Enzo Fernandez, Chernobyl Traore in Mudryk, David Fofana, Wesley Fofana, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and everyone else killed any team chemistry. Joao Felix was exiled from Atletico by Diego Simeone to basically do nothing in England for 6 months. Kai Havertz is STILL not a real striker. Auba brought back the No. 9 shirt curse. Christian Pulisic was fed up with it all and tried to force himself out to no avail. Mason Mount dropped off hard, but still has enough Englishness to warrant a move to United. The Blue Lions are dying in front of us. After years of poshness and self-absorption, they will not be playing European football next season. Thus, they brought in Mauricio Pochettino to fix things. Spurs fans everywhere are dying on the inside at their old gaffer taking the job...but it's the perfect fit for this Chelsea team. They'll be back, just wait.
Wolves: Wolves…wake up. What the hell are you doing? Why are muddling through these seasons lately? The vibes of the Nuno era are gone. New culture had to be created. Except it wasn’t. Bruno Lage was hired and did whatever it was he did. Which basically flirted with relegation. Julen Lupotegui came in after he was sacked by Sevilla and changed everything. It still wasn’t enough. The team was Ruben Neves saving their asses while Raul Jiminez continues to find himself after his head injury. Take solace in knowing Max Kilman is becoming a fantastic defender. Hwang Hee Chan looks more comfortable in England. But Wolves could be doing so much more. It’s a shame they’re gonna sell Neves. They were so close to shattering the glass season a few seasons ago. Oh how times change.
West Ham: This is the dark side of two consecutive seasons of deep European tournament runs. Your league form suffers. In West Ham’s case, it was injuries and inconsistent football. David Moyes is a decent manager but he can only take you so far. Just ask Everton fans about that. Sure you made the Conference League final but was it worth losing guys like Paqueta, Scamacca, and Antonio to the injury gods while selling Craig Dawson and sacrificing your league form? Declan Rice carried the Hammers at times. Only adding to his value as his big boy move is finally coming together. A bottom half finish is a few steps back but it’s not unexpected. It will be a big summer for the Hammers. It’s time to start planning for life after Rice. You can recover from it, but will Moyes be the guy to take you back to the top 10? You tell me.
Bournemouth: Scott Parker getting sacked in the fall saved the Cherries. Gary O’Neil had a vision for this team. They executed it well. Without his guidance, Bournemouth would surely be in the drop zone. In the first year back in the Prem, Bournemouth produced respectable results. Philipp Billing, Jefferson Lerma, and Dominic Solanke are some talented players but they have their limits. You'll be without Lerma next season since he's moving to Crystal Palace in the summer. Buying up all that European talent helped in the battle to stave off relegation, but where do you go from here? European places will be way too difficult reach with the level of parity we have now. Staying up next season will likely be the goal.
Nottingham Forest: 30 signings later, Forest avoided the drop. What else is there to say? The football was strictly average. Some players like Taiwo Ayonini lived to the hype, as did Morgan Gibbs-White. Keylor Navas was a great addition to keep the ball out of the net. Others like Jesse Lingard did not. The standout? Danilo from Palmerias, a strapping addition. Players like Ryan Yates, Brennan Johnson, and Joe Worrall proved they can hang in the big leagues. Steve Cooper is not getting sacked. But knowing how crazy the Greek overlords are, that could change on a dime. Whether you can take that next step to the top 10 I’m not sure of. Steve Cooper is strictly an average manager. A squad this big with this much high-end talent could use with a better voice. Your move, Forest.
Everton: Conglaturations, boys! You did the great escape…AGAIN. Remember last season how you said “never again?” What a load of horseshit. Everyone knew Everton would be lucky to survive given the state of the squad. When you rely on Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dwight McNeill as your main scoring threats, you know it was not going to be a good season. Try the board running fake stories about getting death threats from fans. Try fans confronting Yerry Mina in the parking lot after a tough loss to Southampton. Try sacking Frank Lampard and replacing him with Sean Dyche…actually that was a good decision. Farhad Moshiri is under serious pressure to turn things around. It doesn’t help Everton are about to get hit with FFP regulations even worse than City or Chelsea…is it worth building that new stadium if you’re playing in 2nd division? It’s not a matter of if Everton go down, it’s a matter of when Everton go down.
Leicester: Dude, what the fuck??? You’re supposed to breaking the Big 6 ceiling, not shattering your own reputation. We lauded Leicester for their recruitment and performances. But this is the fate of bundling all your eggs in the Champions League basket. Missing out on those revenues crippled the finances. Buying all those players came back to haunt them. Without Jamie Vardy leading the line, the team looked lost. Brendan Rodgers knew his time was up but was sacked unceremoniously. Dean Smith could not right the ship. After 7 seasons and three trophies later, the Foxes are back in the Championship. Such a shame. Open the flea market though. Maddison, Tielemans, Ndidi, and Barnes will all be lined up for moves to bigger clubs. Thanks for the memories, Leicester.
Leeds: Leeds are paying for the sins of Radriazzani. The guy he fumbled the bag in the worst possible ways. Forget about his off-pitch antics. This team was trying too hard to remake the Bielsa years. Fans never got behind Jesse Marsch’s American Revolution and he was kicked to curb after a shit run despite beating Liverpool. Javi Gracia took over and changed nothing. So to salvage the season, welcome back Big Sam!! loses 4-1 to Spurs on the final day oh dear lord. Even the relegation dodger himself could not fix a team that can’t connect. Jack Harrison took massive steps forward and is probably the first to go to replenish the coffers. Robin Koch will likely follow suit. Adams, McKennie, and Aaronson are definitely going to other clubs. They never got utilized correctly anyway. The vibes of the Bielsa era are gone. Every attempt to replace them didn’t work, especially if the fans weren’t willing to move on. Don’t make the same mistakes of 2004.
Southampton: The Saints go marching into the Championship. After 8 years of playing big club killer, Southampton is gone. I’m not sad about it. I hated playing against them because they’d always step up against London clubs. For a less bias take, it’s not something they could avoid. They didn’t have the talent or leadership to fix things. Ralph Hassenhuttl was largely uninspiring so it made sense when he got the boot. But Nathan Jones from Lutron Town?? That’s your solution?? That didn’t even last two full months. Ruben Selles as temp gaffer solved nothing. So now you go down without much of a fight. Thanks for giving up JWP, Armel Bella-Kotchap, and Romeo Lavia to bigger teams. You will not be missed by any teams from London.