It took 51 years, but 73-year-old Felix Vail is finally facing serious questions in the 1962 death of his wife, Mary Horton.
Felix claimed they were out checking trout lines on the Calcasieu River when Mary fell into the water. The autopsy always painted a different picture, but the death was ruled an accidental drowning until recently. After taking a closer look, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, along with Calcasieu Coroner Dr. Terry Welke, ruled Mary's death a homicide.
Felix was arrested on Friday and charged with second-degree murder in Mary's death. Waiving extradition, he was brought to the Lake Charles Regional Airport after his arrest in Canyon Lake, Texas.
The arrest has been a long time coming for Mary's brothers, Will and Allen Horton.
"When I saw him getting off the plane, he looked like a trapped animal and he was so contorted trying to avoid having his face on the camera. I was just proud of law enforcement for following through ... On a job that needed to be done," said Will Horton, Mary's younger brother.
"As soon as they brought him off the plane I said, 'Oh, boy this is it.' No question ... He looked like a deer in headlights of a car ready to be hit. To me, there is no question about him being guilty," said Allen Horton, Mary's older brother.
Felix is now charged with second-degree murder. During his 72-hour court hearing on Tuesday, the Calcasieu Public Defenders Office was appointed to the case. Felix remains jailed without bond and officials with the District Attorney's Office said they expect his case to go before a grand jury soon.
An eight-page affidavit confirms what Will and Allen always believed - that their sister was likely dead before she even got into the boat. Other details of bruises on her body, a scarf stuffed in her mouth and a $50,000 accidental life insurance policy taken out on Mary by Felix just before her death stirs up old emotions.
"It makes me really angry with law enforcement in 1962 that they didn't come forward and do their job and would let a murderer walk away that should have been put behind bars. That's totally unacceptable," said Will.
Letting Felix walk may have led to the disappearances of girlfriend Sharon Hensley in 1973 and his second wife Annette Craver Vail in 1984. Both women were last seen alive with Felix and are presumed dead.
"I hope he has enough dignity and humanity in him to one of these days tell these two mothers what happened to their daughters and where they are. We know what happened to Mary and we know where Mary is - at least we have that. They don't even have this," said Allen.
Patiently waiting to see this all the way through, the brothers are ready to come face-to-face with the man who holds the secrets of what really happened to their sister so many years ago.
"I can look him right in the eye. I know who he is ... He's just deceived so many people. We know he's a murderer and there's no denying that," said Will.
We're told more evidence in this case is expected to be brought forward. One piece of evidence that likely won't be admissible in court is testimony from Mary and Felix's son, Bill.
As a young boy living with Felix in California, Bill claimed that he overheard Felix confess of murdering Mary to Sharon Hensley. Bill Vail died a few years of ago of cancer, but not before taping his testimony.
To hear Bill's testimony, click here. (His actual testimony does not start until a few minutes into the recording.)
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