Daily News from New York, New York on November 10, 1957 · 15
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Daily News from New York, New York · 15

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New York, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 10, 1957
Page:
15
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SUNDAY NEWS, NOVEMBER 10, 1957 -V Audrey Moate disappeared. : n -- eiiusiicc ' -' j ; ' ' , . ! , . ' .. ' '.; i -. ..: - .,' r. r ... -- -.-', - . s. . ;--; -: .. :, . . . a, .t . . . . .. . - 'I: - "1! ... 1 . ' . I 5 t - - "5 . - J . ' ! - Deputy shows woman's shoes found near murder scene. BeatW Kee Eiiciiieer slain willi sliotjum and Iiib partly clad girl friend disappears By MARJORIE ROEHL and RUTH REYNOLDS 1 NKWS OF Thomas A. Hotard'a death would have reached his wife sooner if she had not kept her telephone busy on Sunday night, Nov. 23, 1956. She wa3 calling: friends to ask whether anybody had seen Tom in the last 43 hours. Finally, h?r telephone was Mia long enough for a call to coma through from n nuiiitnce. "Mr. Hotard." he aaid, "I hate to be the on to tell you, hut the body of m Tnan thouirht to he Tom hat jiMt been found at Frenier Beach, near Laplace. He was murdered." en when Cretna, La., police told Beulah Vicknair Hotard that her hutand had been killed at Frenier Beach, he aimply roudn't belieye it. No the Type Htard, she tolj investigator, just waan't th typ to be at Frenier Heath dad or alive. The spit of sand and shells juttinic Into Iwike Pontrhartrain from tanglmi w(mxI and desolate swamps is isite.J only by hunters in search of game nd lovers seeking privacy. But 40-year-old Tom Hotard wis no hunter and he aemed devoted to his wife and two children, Thnma Jr.. 19. and Susan Kllen, I I. About the only time Tom wasn't puttering about his house in Gretna, accord ing to his wife, wefc the hours Saturday mornings included when he worked s safety engineer at the Celotex plant. But police knew that instead of coin? to work on Saturday, Nor. 24, Hotard went to Frenier Keach with a woman. Alxut 10 o'clock on Saturday morning, trapper Henry Monaret and his teen, aged son, David, mw a blue four-door aedan parked approximately five yard from the walcr. A they approached the head of a man end a woman suddenly tmhhed up from the back seat. The Monaret backtracked ,n embarrassed haste. Three hours lattr, another hunter noticed the sedan. The right rear door wai open and he saw a man "sleeping, in a trange position" on the back seat. But the hunter was a good distance way, so he didn't Invettigate. Alx.ut 10:. to Sunday morning, the Monarets, hunting rabbits and squirrel, teturned to the area. To their surprise, the automobile was still there. They could see the man lying on the back seat, which was opened into a car bed. Moving closer they saw a woman's comb, a vanity rase and other odds and ends usually found in a handbag, scattered on the ground near the open right rear door. "Something is maybe kind of funny here, no?" mused Monaret. "Come on, David. We make, sure if anything is going on." They went to the car for a closer look and then they went for the sheriff. For a dead man with a shotgun wound in his back was 1ing face down on the rear seat. CHERIFF PERCY HEBERT (pro- nounced A-bear) found Hotard's identification papers in one of the dead man's pockets. From the location of the wound and the position of the body, Hebert theorized that Hotard, while prone, heard someone coming and rose slightly just before the shot ripped into him. There was a small hole in the rear window of the car, indicating that the shotgun was pressed against the glass when it was fired. Scattered over the front seat and floor was a woman's clothing shoes, stockings, sweater, coat, gloves, slip and pants. Empty Vienna sausage cans, potato chips and the remnants of a loaf of bread littered the car. Leading from the sedan toward the woods were the prints of bare feet small enough to be a woman's. The footprints were spaced wide apart, indicating that the woman was running. Mingled with these footprints were the tracks of a man's boots. About 150 feet along, the sheritf came upon a set of automobile keys. Snagged on a bush was a piece of bright plaid sport shirt. Trail Ends Abruptly All the marks ended abruptly In a gravel patch at the road which leads out to the main highway. And here Hebert found a single tire track, the kind that might have been made by a motorcycle. The automobile keys carried the name of Mrs. Audrey Moate, Baton Rouge. Did Hotard know Mrs. Moate? "Whit, yet . . . fveral yrar ago when A worked at Celotex," anturred Mr: Hittard. "Hark in iH5!, while Celotex was oh ttrik. the $tnyed with u for $ix rmtfthi. Hut thert wasn't anything between Tom and Audrey. Tom and I ttrer married for S3 yearn. H wat such a good man ha never could see anything bad in anybody." The investigators felt that Mrs. Hotard had been deceived. When they found Mrs. Moate's ear standing in a restaurant parking lot in Laplace, nearest town to Frenier Beach, they found bills addressed ' to "Mrs. Audrey M. Hotajrd" in the glove compartment. ' Information about the missing Mrs. Moate was given by her mother, Mrs. Minnie Smith of Baton Rouge. During World War II, blonde, gray-eyed Audrey married George Moate, a New Orleans boy. He joined the Navy and Audrey moved to California to be near him. War's end found them back in Louisiana with two children and growing incompatibility. After several brief attempts at reconciliation, the Moates' marriage finally ended in divorce in 1954. A Common Interest Audrey met "Mr. Hotard." as Mrs. Smith called him, in 1950 while she was working at Celotex. They had a common interest in scouting. Hotard was a scoutmaster and district commissioner for Boy Scout camping and allied activi- ties in his area. Audrey led a Girl Scout troop. The groups met on the same night nd often merged afterward for informal dancing. Then, according to Mrs. Smith, Audrey decided to become a safety engineer, like Mr. Hotard. He helped her with a correspondence course and with her arithmetic," said Mrs. Smith. "Then he took her into his home while Celotex was on strike. After the strike, she quit Celotex and brought her two children down here to me in Baton Rouge, and she took clerical job with the Kaiser Construction Co. in Gramercy. "Even after Audrey left Celotex, Mr. Hotard took an interest in her. He used to see ber a lot Saturday mornings to help her with her studies. He surely was a fine man." Between her job and her studies (be- sides her responsibilities at home), Audrey had a nervous breakdown. That was in July, 1955. She told her mother that ber doctor advised her to get away, so he went to St. Louis for five months. "Welt, two day before Christmas Audrey came home with i-dayVold baby girl," Mrs. Smith told defectives. "Tha baby's parents didn't want heir, Audrey said, and she was going to adopt Jacqueline that's what she Grilled the baby. Mr. Hotard came to see Iher right away. He wanted to sponsor the adoption and he thought it would be a good idem for Audrey to use his name. So she did. "I tell you, Mr. Hotard was certainly good to that baby. Why, he took as good care of it as though it had been his own always bringing things to Audrey and Jacqueline." D Y the time Mrs. Hotard learned about Jacqueline, she also knew Celotex records showed that her husband had worked only one Saturday in the last four years. With less restraint than she had previously shown, the widow talked about . A r O iff r 5 ' I i ; : h , ' f ..... - ' 'J ;: v la s" ' . t V i ; - V ,:r , Henry Monaret

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