Annie Laurie Hearin – aged socialite kidnapped, allegedly walled up in a cellar. Suspect convicted of kidnapping however not homicide, her physique was by no means recovered. An area case which has at all times fascinated me. : TrueCrime


On July 26, 1988, 72-year-old Annie Laurie Swaim Hearin disappeared from her dwelling in Jackson, Mississippi. Mrs. Hearin was the spouse of a outstanding native businessman, Robert Hearin. The 2 had been fortunately married since 1940 and had two kids and 5 grandchildren. Robert, a Navy veteran, was a banker and investor within the largest oil, fuel, and insurance coverage corporations in Mississippi. In 1988 his property was valued between 100-200 million , however he was often known as a quiet, non-public one who disliked being within the highlight.

Mrs. Hearin was well-known in Jackson society as a patron of the humanities, together with the Jackson Symphony. She served as president of the Opera Guild and Junior League, and sat on the boards of many different native charities. Often called an important magnificence in her youth, she had hosted a biweekly bridge membership of the identical seven girls for practically thirty years, and was an everyday function at church luncheons and native charity occasions. By all accounts Annie Laurie and Robert lived a quiet and completely happy life.

On July 26th, Annie Laurie hosted her bridge membership as common, beginning at 10:15am. The final visitor left round 2:30pm, adopted by the Hearins’ housekeeper at 3pm.

Robert arrived dwelling by four:30pm, noting his spouse’s automotive within the driveway. When he didn’t discover her at dwelling, he assumed she had gone out with buddies.

Round 7:30pm Robert, involved by his spouse’s continued absence, contacted his daughter. His son-in-law arrived on the dwelling quickly after and the 2 searched the grounds, finally discovering a ransom notice close to the entrance door. It was typewritten and contained a number of spelling and grammar errors.

Mr. Robert Herrin, Put these individuals again within the form they was in earlier than they acquired combined up with College Footage. Pay them no matter damages they need and inform all of them this so then can no what you might be doing however dont inform them why you might be doing it. Do that earlier than ten days cross. Do not name police.

College Footage of Mississippi Inc. was a yearbook picture firm owned by Robert Hearin. The letter listed twelve franchise holders of the corporate, whom Mr. Hearin was instructed to pay. In years prior these twelve individuals had been sued by the corporate to gather money owed, however Mr. Hearin denied any information of those individuals as he had not been intently concerned within the operations of College Footage in a number of years. The ransom notice didn’t listing a certain amount that ought to be paid, nor did it give directions for supply of fee.

The police had been summoned at roughly 10pm, and an investigation of the Hearin residence turned up blood droplets on the carpet and on the entrance steps of the house. The blood was decided to match Annie Laurie’s blood kind and forensic evaluation indicated it might need been from a head wound. One supply acknowledged that Mrs. Hearin had taken her sneakers off after her friends left and wouldn’t have been sporting them on the time of her disappearance, though there is no such thing as a point out of her sneakers being discovered on the scene. Her medicine for an intestinal dysfunction was lacking from the house, but when she had taken it along with her it might solely final a month. With out it her situation would turn into deadly inside days.

Twelve days after the kidnapping Mr. Hearin held a press convention to plead for his spouse’s launch.

“Like all businessman, I’ve made selections which can seem to others as unfeeling, however these appearances are simply not true. Furthermore, these enterprise selections had been mine, not my spouse’s. She had completely nothing to do with them.”

Among the many injured events listed within the ransom notice was the identify Newton Alfred Winn. Winn was a 63-year-old lawyer from St. Petersburg, Florida, who in 1984 had been concerned in a courtroom battle culminating in his paying College Footage over $150,000.

Winn, together with the opposite franchise-holders named within the letter, was interviewed by the FBI inside days of the kidnapping. Investigators had been additionally looking for a white van with Florida plates that had been noticed outdoors the Hearin’s dwelling the day of the kidnapping. Neighbors reported seeing an identical van within the space the earlier April. Data indicated that Winn had rented related vans 4 instances throughout April. Witnesses gave an outline of the driving force which matched Winn. Nonetheless, Winn’s paralegal supplied an alibi for him for the evening of the 26th, claiming that that they had been at a bar in Florida that evening.

On August 15th, Mr. Hearin acquired a letter postmarked from Atlanta, Georgia. The envelope and letter inside had been each in Annie Laurie’s handwriting.

Bob, When you do not do what these individuals need you to do, they’re going to seal me up within the cellar of this home with only some jugs of water. Please save me, Annie Laurie

The following day Mr. Hearin paid practically a million in ransom to the twelve franchisees listed within the unique ransom notice, however his spouse was by no means launched, nor did the abductors ever contact him once more. 9 of the twelve people finally returned the cash, together with Newton Winn. Upon receiving the verify Winn allegedly advised his paralegal “This isn’t what I needed”.

In the midst of the investigation towards him, Winn’s paralegal finally confessed that he had supplied a false alibi at Winn’s request. He additionally admitted that Winn had instructed him to journey to Mississippi and the Hearins’ dwelling and Mr. Hearin’s workplace.

Marilyn Taylor, a former girlfriend of Winn’s, got here ahead with info concerning the second ransom letter. She claimed that on July 31st Winn had contacted her asking for a favor. They met on August sixth and Winn paid her to journey from Florida to Atlanta to mail the second ransom letter, with particular and convoluted directions as to how she was to disguise herself and obscure her path. She was capable of determine the second letter because the one she had mailed and supplied a number of small particulars which satisfied authorities her story was real.

Winn was arrested in March of 1989 and in 1990 he was convicted of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, mailing threatening communication, and perjury. His two accomplices acquired immunity for testifying towards him. Winn was sentenced to 19 years and seven months in jail and was launched in 2006 after serving 16. He died in 2012, having maintained his innocence for 24 years. Neither of his buddies had any details about the place Annie Laurie might need been taken, or the place Winn might need disposed of her physique.

Nobody has ever been charged with truly finishing up the kidnapping or homicide of Annie Laurie Hearin.

Mr. Hearin died of a coronary heart assault in 1990 on the age of 79, leaving the majority of his property to a belief which helps varied charities and artwork associations such because the Mississippi Symphony. Mrs. Hearin was declared legally lifeless the next yr. Her case is open and stays unsolved.

As a Mississippi native, I grew up listening to about Mrs. Hearin’s disappearance. Grisly tales concerning the previous woman who was bricked up in a cellar had been staples of Halloween events and campfire story periods. The Hearins’ legacy could be very a lot alive within the state, and they’re remembered with fondness and a deep sense of pity. What retains this story so contemporary in individuals’s minds is the sheer lack of solutions. We have no idea if Mrs. Hearn was killed instantly after being taken (being stored alive simply lengthy sufficient to write down that ransom notice), or if she was stored alive with the intention of being returned. Did she die because of her sickness, forcing Winn to eliminate her physique someplace within the a whole bunch of miles of deep forest and swampland that cowl southern Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida? Did he actually brick her up in a cellar, as Annie Laurie feared he would? It appears sure that if she had been walled up alive in a basement someplace her physique nearly definitely would have been discovered by now, however who is aware of? Maybe she actually was left to die in an deserted constructing that has lengthy since been bulldozed or razed by any of the handfuls of hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes which have occurred within the years since. With the prime suspect deceased, it’s unlikely that Annie Laurie will ever be found, or that the reality will ever come to gentle.

Annie Laurie Hearin is Caucasian, 5’four” tall, and weighed 120 kilos on the time of her disappearance. She was final seen sporting a light-colored shirt and a khaki-colored linen skirt. She walked with a stoop because of scoliosis and arthritis. Anybody who has any info concerning this case ought to contact the Jackson Police.

Sources:

Charley Challenge https://charleyproject.org/case/annie-laurie-swaim-hearin

Unsolved Mysteries https://unsolvedmysteries.fandom.com/wiki/Annie_Hearin

Washington Publish article from 1988 https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1988/11/05/the-silence-of-a-womans-kidnapers/fc03b455-90ef-41fd-9ca7-0cfb53618e46/

Folks Journal article from 1988 https://people.com/archive/mississippi-magnate-robert-hearin-is-worth-a-kings-ransom-but-he-cant-buy-back-his-kidnapped-wife-vol-30-no-11/

Abstract of USA v. Newton Alfred Winn https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/948/145/286939/