Another Clew in Phagan Case is Worthless

by Archivist on May 8, 2016

Another Clew in Phagan Case is WorthlessAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Pinkertons Find No Foundation for Report of Lunch Room Helper’s Disappearance.

Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons, said Thursday that the information obtained by his agency to the effect that a Greek helper in a restaurant had disappeared following the killing of Mary Phagan had proved baseless so far as he was able to determine.

“It was a blind clew,” he said. “We were unable to find that any one was missing from the restaurant. Neither were we able to locate the supposedly missing person in Anniston, Ala., where our information said he was.”

In discussing the alleged mysterious disappearance of one of his employees shortly after the discovery of the murder of little Mary Phagan, this morning, George Pappas, proprietor of the Busy Bee Café at Hunter and Forsyth Streets, said that there was no basis for any rumor involving anybody in his place.

“There was no one working in the restaurant at the time of the murder except my brother, Stamates Pappas, and myself, and, as you can see, we are both still here,” he said.

Girl Not Known There.

“Furthermore, instead of anyone going away, we have just hired another man to wait in the café. He came here last Saturday and is still here.

“So far as the pencil factory and the murder of the girl is concerned I do not know anything about it at all. I didn’t even know the girl by sight. Once in a while some of the girls came in here to get a little lunch, but I didn’t know any of them by name and could not say positively that they worked over there at all.

“I have never been in the pencil factory but twice in my life—once on the Sunday the girl was found dead and once before that to get some dishes that had been sent over there with some lunch for one of the men at the factory.”

When asked about the practice of sending lunches into the factory or the possibility of anyone in his employ getting familiar with the interior of the plant, he said that they very seldom sent anything over there, for the reason that they only had two men, and that the orders usually came at about 12 o’clock when they were too busy in the café to send orders out.

Pappas, telling of the movements of himself and his brother at the time of the murder, said:

“My brother left here about 7:30 o’clock in the evening to go and take a sleep, for the next day was our Easter, and we had to go to church that night and be up the greater part of the night, and he was supposed to open up the café in the morning.

“I closed up the place about 11:30 o’clock and went out for a little while. I came back and took a bath and dressed and at about 1 o’clock in the morning my brother came by for me and we went to the church to the Easter service.

“He came back here earlier than I did and was in the restaurant and the place was open when I reached here shortly before 8 o’clock. I had not been here long before someone came in and said something had happened over at the pencil factory. I went outside and asked a policeman, who was standing there, what the trouble was and he told me that something had happened over at the factory that they did not understand—that a robber had been there and killed someone.

Frank There for Cup of Coffee.

“Later on I heard that it was a girl found dead in the place and went over to see. I went in and looked around for a few minutes and saw Mr. Frank and some of the other employees in there, but I didn’t stay in there long, because they made everyone get outside.

“Of course, I don’t know anything about it, and all I hope is that they will catch the man that did it.”

Asked if any of the employees of the pencil company had been in his place immediately following the discovery of the body, Pappas said that Mr. Frank had been in there about 8 o’clock Sunday morning and had a cup of coffee.

Greek Consul’s Statement.

From the Grecian Vice Consul in Atlanta, The Georgian is in receipt of the following letter, which it prints gladly in justice to a body of citizens of whom the city has always been proud:

To the Editor of The Georgian:

Referring to the article published in yesterday’s Georgian that a Greek is trailed in Anniston, Ala., on suspicion that he is connected with the terrible assassination of poor Mary Phagan, I beg to express my deepest indignation, not so much for the mere fact that a Greek is suspected, as for the off-hand conclusions of the “Pinkertons” that a Greek must be the guilty party who committed this atrocious deed because the crime itself bears the style of the Mediterranean criminal.

This accusation is of such a nature and so unjust to the country I have the honor to represent that you will allow me to place a formal and strong protest against any allegation of this kind.

It is the first time that I ever heard that strangulation is common in Greece. I think that before so detrimental a statement is published you ought to have taken into consideration statistical information from the courts of Greece and not entirely rely upon the suppositions of any detective agency.

Yours very truly,

DEMETRE VAFIADES,

Vice Consul.

The article referred to was published in line with The Georgian’s policy to give its readers all the news and merely as the theory of detectives.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 8th 1913, “Another Clew in Phagan Case is Worthless,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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