Newest Clews in Phagan Case Not Yet Public

Newest ClewsAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, May 6th, 1913

Body of Slain Girl Exhumed and Bloodstains on Factory Floor Analyzed.


Solicitor Believes Victim May Have Been Thrown, Still Alive, Down Elevator Shaft.

Solicitor General Dorsey, Chief of Detectives Lanford, Chief of Police Beavers, and all men working under them in the Phagan case seem thoroughly satisfied with the progress they are making in the great mystery. They are actively engaged in many unknown directions—as they say, “piling up evidence to strengthen the case.”

What evidence the officials have other than that which has already been made public they refuse to divulge. Solicitor Dorsey declines to make public his case in the newspapers. He is investigating every phase of the matter through trusted men working under this own direction.

It is perfectly proper for the chief prosecuting officer to withhold any and all evidence until such time as he may present his case to the Grand Jury.

That there is new and startling evidence seems true, but just what it indicates the officials refuse to say, and the newspaper reporters, therefore, are merely guessing at what may be, or may not be, the actual facts.

Solicitor is Reticent.

Solicitor Dorsey was reticent about the nature of the most recent discoveries, but his guarded statements indicated that he considered the disclosures which have been made by the force of detectives, physicians and chemists working under his direction as having a most important bearing on the solution of the crime.

Mr. Dorsey issued this statement:

I see in an interview attributed to Quinn that I asked him if he was not paid by counsel for Frank to protect Frank.

This statement, so far as I am concerned, is absolutely false. Throughout my talk with him I did not mention the name of counsel nor did I intimate that counsel had been guilty of any such conduct.

It is known that a more thorough and minute examination of every locality and every article having any connection or possible connection with the slaying of Mary Phagan is being made now than was undertaken in the first few days of the mystery.

Blood Stains Analyzed.

Under the direction of Solicitor Dorsey, chemists have made a new analysis of the blood found on the factory floor, where the Phagan girl evidently struggled with her assailant.

Dr. H. F. Harris, director of the State Board of Health, is making a second examination of the body of the slain girl, which was taken from the grave in the cemetery at Marietta.

Whether it was from any one of the sources that Solicitor Dorsey obtained his new lead in tracking down the slayer, he would not say. He would only repeat that every clew that offered the slightest ray of hope would be followed to the end.

May Have Been Hurled Down Shaft.

A startling theory announced by the Solicitor is that the body of Mary Phagan was thrown, alive, down the elevator shaft from the second floor to the basement. He has found that the soil at the bottom of the shaft is soft and that the girl might not have been seriously injured by a fall of this distance. He would not be surprised if subsequent developments proved that the girl was slain not on the second floor of the factory, but in the basement at just about the spot where the body was found.

To insure that not the smallest particle of evidence is overlooked, Solicitor Dorsey is continuing his rigid investigation of the factory itself. Electric lights have been strung in every nook and corner of the basement, where before it was black and gloomy. T[h]e dirt and trash covering the floor is being searched painstakingly in the hope that some tell-tale clew may be discovered—that the girl’s missing purse may be found, or that some article disclosing the identity of the slayer may be turned up.

[The report of Dr. Harris probably will not be made public until Thursday, when the inquest resumes. Meanwhile, the Solicitor is working on the information that he receives from time to time from Dr. Harris; from the chemists who have analyzed the bloodstained chips of wood taken from the factory floor, and from Dr. Claude A. Smith, city bacteriologist, who has analyzed the bloodstains on the shirt found at the home of Newt Lee.

Solicitor Dorsey telegraphed to Newt York Tuesday to verify a statement concerning Frank contained in an unsigned letter. The Solicitor said that the Pinkerton detectives would not be admitted to his conferences with the city police.

The Grand Jury will meet Friday and probably will take up the case then if a verdict has been rendered by the Coroner’s jury. — Addition from “Extra” on May 6th — Ed.]

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Atlanta Georgian, May 6th 1913, “Newest Clews in Phagan Case Not Yet Public,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)