Secret Probe Began by Burns Agent into the Phagan Mystery

Secret Probe Began

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

Atlanta Georgian

Friday, May 16th, 1913

Investigator for Great Detective Believed To Be in City Hunting Phagan Slayer—Will Be on Same Plane as Pinkertons—State Won’t Aid.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey said Friday that William J. Burns and his assistants would work on the Phagan case under the same conditions as the Pinkertons, namely, that while he would welcome any information from them, they would receive none from his office.

Mr. Dorsey issued the following statement:

“Mr. Burns is welcome. We are delighted to have aid in arriving at the truth no matter from what source it comes. However, Mr. Burns would have to get his information first hand so far as this office is concerned. We accept the statement without question that Mr. Burns’ employment is in entire good faith, but our attitude toward him is the same as our attitude toward the Pinkertons, namely, that he will be expected to give and not to receive. The work being done by the city detectives is entirely satisfactory.”

Mr. Dorsey added that there was absolutely no development of any kind in the case to-day except that considerable progress was being made in preparing the evidence.

It was reported the case would go to the Grand Jury to-day. Witnesses in the case were summoned on the form of subpena [sic] used by the Grand Jury. They appeared before Mr. Dorsey, however, and he stated positively the case would not be presented until next week.

The Burns investigation into the Phagan murder mystery began Friday.

William J. Burns, who personally will conduct the case some time shortly after his arrival from Europe on June 1, cabled his orders to the New York office and one of his best men was dispatched to Atlanta to get as much evidence as possible before the arrival of the great detective chief. He left New York shortly after midnight Wednesday and should have been in Atlanta Thursday night or Friday morning.

He will make every effort to keep his identity and the result of his findings secret until the time for him to report to his chief or to Colonel Thomas B. Felder.

The fund to secure the service of the great detective and his assistants from New York, being raised by public subscription, was considerably swelled following the announcement in The Georgian Thursday that an appeal had been made to the public.

Colonel Felder said Friday morning that a number of substantial subscriptions had been pledged by telephone and he had directed the donors to send their checks to Charles I. Ryan, cashier of the Fourth National Bank. He said he had not learned the exact sum subscribed so far, but that he had no doubt it was several hundred dollars.

“I know of more than six subscriptions that will be made this morning, but I promised the people their names would not be published. The fund will be raised all right, and we are so confident of it one of the Burns men should be on the scene now.”

Hugh M. Dorsey, Solicitor General, held a secret conference at his office Thursday night with city detectives and members of his staff. It was understood the conference followed the finding of valuable information or evidence in connection with the Phagan case, but the Solicitor would make no announcement.

The examination of witnesses by Mr. Dorsey will be continued to-day. J. Williams, ex-policeman, who operates a livery stable near the pencil factory plant on South Forsyth Street, will be examined to-day.

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Atlanta Georgian, May 16th 1913, “Secret Probe Began by Burns Agent into the Phagan Mystery,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)