Phagan Girl’s Body Again Exhumed for Finger-Print Clews

Phagan Girl's Body Again Exhumed

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 7th, 1913

Third Time Unfortunate Victim’s Remains Have Been Exhumed—Dorsey Says Officials Are Not Looking for Finger Prints, but Other Clews.

The body of Mary Phagan was exhumed early Wednesday for the second time in two days.

The unofficial explanation is that the exhumation is made for the purpose of making a microscopic and minute examination of every wound on the body for finger prints and other clews as well.

Solicitor Dorsey let it be known that the police are not working on the idea that the finger prints would be helpful in solving the mystery, if indeed there are any finger prints to be found, as the body has been embalmed and has been handled by many persons since it was first discovered in the basement of the pencil factory.

Nevertheless, it may be safely said that a microscopital [sic] examination will be made of every mark on the body.

It was reported before the departure was made for Marietta that a Bertillon expert had been engaged and that if any finger prints were found, photographs would be taken and the most careful measurements made for the purpose of comparison.

Will Compare Finger Marks.

With these records in their possession, the authorities will be able to compare them with the finger prints of Frank and Lee, as well as with those of any suspects that are taken later.

Notwithstanding these speculations as to the purpose of the exhumation, Solicitor Dorsey declared Wednesday forenoon that it was not for the purpose of obtaining a record of the fingerprints. One of the principal reasons for the action, he said, was to get a strand of the girl’s hair in order to compare it with the hair found on the lathing machine in the tipping department at the factory. It was at this point that the detectives discovered blood spots on the floor and other evidences of a struggle.

Solicitor Dorsey, on whose order the body was exhumed on both occasions, refused to go further into the reasons for his action.

“I cannot talk in regard to the matter,” he said, “The body was exhumed, it is true, at my request. But to reveal further plans would be hurtful.”

Thinks She Didn’t Leave Factory.

The Solicitor is in entire accord with theory that Mary Phagan never left the factory after she received her pay Saturday noon. He declared that if any search was being made for the man seen with a girl Saturday, April 26, by attaches of the Terminal station, it was not being conducted under his direction.

Dr. Harris will make a more thorough examination of the wounds of the girl than has been made previously. It is believed that this examination is being made to confirm a new theory that has been advanced either by Dr. Harris or the Solicitor General.

The results of the chemical analysis in the laboratory of Dr. Harris in the State Capitol have not yet been made public. Dr. Harris would not admit Wednesday that traces of drugs had been found, bearing out the belief that the girl was drugged and rendered helpless before she was slain in the factory.

Bowen Released in Houston.

Accompanying mystifying new features of the hunt for the slayer was the news that Paul P. Bowen, held in Houston for the Atlanta authorities, had been released and relieved of all suspicion.

Bowen was employed with the Morrow Transfer Company in Atlanta, as stenographer and shipping clerk, and later with the Southern Railway. He had many friends here and with them bore a good reputation.

His father and other relatives live

Finger-Prints Clew Sought in Phagan Case

Continued From Page 1.

in Newnan, Ga., and are among the best people of that part of the State. Chief of Police Davison, of Houston, was angered that his detective chief should have exceeded his authority in arresting Bowen, and promptly discharged him from authority.

By letters Bowen wrote from Texas and statements of friends it was proved conclusively that he could not have been connected with the Atlanta mystery and he was accordingly freed.

At the same time a search was begun for the strange man who had a part in a sensational scene at the Terminal station the afternoon of the tragedy, when a girl strongly resembling Mary Phagan is said to have protested weepingly against the man carrying out his intention of boarding a train for the North.

The new evidence gathered by the Solicitor General and his aides Tuesday and Wednesday will be presented in the most part to the Coroner’s Jury when it resumes its sessions Thursday morning at 9:30 o’clock.

Newt Lee probably will be called back to the stand, and a number of employees of the pencil factory will be asked to tell of the conditions under which they work and of what they know of Mary Phagan.

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Atlanta Georgian, May 7th 1913, “Phagan Girl’s Body Again Exhumed for Finger-Print Clews,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)