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Local woman wants closure in daughter’s death

Recorder/Paul Franz
Mary Rose in her Greenfield home

Recorder/Paul Franz Mary Rose in her Greenfield home

GREENFIELD — Newell Court resident Mary Craver Rose says she still hopes that a suspected serial killer will some day be charged with the murder of her daughter.

Twenty-nine years ago (June 1984), Rose’s daughter, Annette Craver, was 19 years old and married to Felix Vail, who was arrested and charged recently with the murder of his first wife, who it was thought drowned while on a fishing trip with Vail in 1962.

Rose talked with her daughter for the last time on the phone that June — the two were estranged because of all of Vail’s manipulations, says Rose, who was living in California at the time her daughter and Vail were living in Oklahoma.

“He manipulated both of us and kept us apart,” says Rose.

Not long after her last phone conversation with her daughter, Vail sent Rose a letter he wrote saying her daughter had gotten on a bus and left for Mexico.

“I knew something was amiss,” says Rose.

Rose said Craver “just disappeared,” so she filed a missing person report.

But, Rose, who has lived in Franklin County for the past 15 years, says she doesn’t want the disappearance of her daughter, or another woman he was seeing before her daughter, who also disappeared, to go unsolved. That woman disappeared in 1973.

“I’m still working with the investigative reporter (Jerry Mitchell of Jackson, Miss.) who broke this (cold) case,” said Rose. “I’ve given him the letter Felix wrote me about Annette leaving for Mexico and I’ve also given him a copy of the letter he wrote to the second woman’s mother.”

Rose says both letters were similar in the way they were written, including telling both mothers that it was their fault their daughters left.

Rose says she will never give up.

Vail was recently arraigned and pled not guilty in a court in Lake Charles, La. in the alleged murder of his first wife in 1962, more than 50 years after that woman’s body was found in a Louisiana river.

Reports out of Louisiana say if convicted, the now 73-year-old Vail will receive a life sentence without parole.

“That’s great, but it would be more complete and I would have closure if he were to be charged in my daughter’s death,” says Rose. “A conviction will be huge, but another indictment would be the icing on the cake for me.”

Rose says she hopes a trial date is set soon, though she says his trial probably won’t begin for a year or more.

Many are now hailing Rose as the person responsible for bringing Vail to justice, and the case is being called the oldest prosecution of a possible serial killer in U.S. history.

“I never gave up,” says Rose. “I never will.”

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