I dreamed I got up one morning and Dorothy was gone. I checked every room in the house but she was really gone. There was a yellow sticky note on the refrigerator door which said "Your job is finished...Wrap it up". I thought, "But we haven't even researched the third trial, if there was a third trial", and the sticky note said "The third trial is irrelevant...Wrap it up". When I woke up that morning I realized Dorothy was definitely gone: she was nowhere to be found and of course the third trial was certainly irrelevant. We know for a fact that the only jail time Newton Yarberry served was after his arrest and during the trials. We know he was never convicted of the murder of Dorothy Symons nor was anyone else. That leaves three possibilities; there was a third trial that also ended in a hung jury; there was a third trial in which Newton was found to be not guilty or as Michael believes there was a new District Attorney elected who chose not to pursue a third trial. Anyone who wants to research this may order through their public library the Corpus Christi Caller and Times microfilm for the period of time beginning with April of 1933. In the not too distant future there will be no one alive that even remembers Dorothy or Newton and at that time the inclination to do research will no doubt end. With the realization that my work was basically over I found it difficult to continue the last segment of this story. It was almost as if I subconsciously wanted the project to continue, that somehow I would be a less vital entity when the project was over. When I look at the photograph of Madeleine, OSE operative lost to the Gestapo during World War II, who looks so much like Dorothy, I know the obsession has ended. The book The Dead Girl by Melanie Thernstrom no longer holds me spellbound though Bibi Lee was killed much the same way Dorothy was by strangulation near a body of water by her "sweetheart" who was convicted of the murder. I wish I could give you the publisher but the book has disappeared. From the Aransas Pass Progress. Dated: April 20, 1933; Trial of Yarberry in Symons Murder Continued to Nov. 15. The third trial of Newton Yarberry charged with slaying Dorothy Symons, set for district court at Beeville Monday, was continued until November 30. The continuance was granted on an application of the State, based upon the illness of the girl's mother, Mrs. F. H. Symons. And so we wind down the story of a tragic waste of a beautiful life; but I've saved the best evidence for the last. Margaret Belken is a few years younger than Dorothy would have been but lived in Aransas Pass all of her life, worked for the Aransas Pass ISD for all of her working life, knew Dorothy well, knew Newton well, in fact lived within sight of Newton's home for most of her life. Margaret knew Newton until his death in 1979. Margaret saw Newton almost every day of his life after the trials were over. Margaret and I had several long phone conversations about the Dorothy mystery. Just as I had asked Jimmy Twing, I asked Margaret if she believed that Newton had killed Dorothy. One of her answers was "Who else could have done it?" and that of course leads into the still unanswered bottom line question:: Who killed Dorothy Symons? Margaret will tell you that she knew Dorothy and that Dorothy was a nice girl with a good reputation who did well in school and was well liked. Margaret and her family have always been members of the Baptist Church in Aransas Pass and about the Yarberrys, Margaret has this to say, "They were just not our kind of people". I think this means that they didn't go to church, they may have used alcoholic beverages and of course we have the newspaper report of Newton smoking cigars at his first trial and we might even believe there was a little "cussing" going on along with the alcohol and tobacco use. Margaret on the other hand will tell you that Newton was well liked at school and had a good reputation. But this is her most interesting testimony: Newton never held a job, never owned a car, was never seen driving a car, never married, never went out with girls and was seen by Margaret almost daily walking from his home to town to the store and then back. When I began this research I presumed that if Newton were guilty he would "distance" himself from the crime. A killer might move to California or leave a profession to become a wrestler, but here we have Newton remaining for the remainder of his life within three miles of the crime scene. This testimony raises some very basic questions. Was there some basic flaw within Newton that was never explored? Was Newton mentally deficient so as to never learn to drive nor hold a job? Were Newton's parents so afraid for his future that they kept him within arms reach for the rest of his life? Why did Newton never serve in the military during World War II? What happened to this young man with a seemingly healthy appetite for good companionship, good drinks and good smokes that caused him to live the life of a recluse? Could all of these questions be answered by the possibility that this behavior was a kind of "distancing" in itself from the crime? Was Dorothy pregnant? Probably we'll never know. If plaster casts had been made of the footprints; if blood types had been determined from the blood drops in the sand; if witnesses who claimed to have seen Newton with Dorothy the night she disappeared had not been impeached. If the Yarberrys had been as poor as the Symons. So many "ifs". I hope you have felt close to this case, felt like you were getting up every morning and reading the news reports of the progress of the investigation and the trials. No corrections were made of errors in the news articles. Dorothy was never named "Doris"; she was never a choir director; 'Dorothy's father did not work for Humble Oil and Refining Co. and Newton was never a barber. Anyone wanting to continue this study might want to contact Buddy Davis and his wife Charlene; Buddy was a close friend of Newton and Charlene was a close friend of Dorothy. Margaret Belken believes they are both still alive. Margaret, by the way, was fourteen years old when the murder happened and since it happened to and involving people she knew well, her memory is very clear on the subject. Margaret graduated from Aransas Pass High School in 1934 and ten years later I graduated from Corpus Christi High School. January 5, 2002 I received this communication from retired British attorney, Janet Davies, who lives on the Isle of Wight. "More thoughts: I have only this time read through word for word, there is one I have highlighted in red here that I think you might need to change. You will remember I have not read the earlier Reports. My thoughts now turn to the two sets of footprints and the defendant's foot being measured. Question: If these two had been swimming together it might be the case that Yarberry would be bare foot. The evidence seems to suggest a heavier imprint of one wearing shoes. I notice some of my earlier thoughts being mentioned in the evidence given. No one has asked where were the clothes if this young woman except that she may have left home with her swimsuit under those clothes; were they ever found? Would this suggest someone removed them, or that indeed she died in the ocean water and was carried to where she was found dead, which accounts for what I said earlier. The body is said to have been found two days later. Without an autopsy is it possible she did not die that night and could have died at the hands of Conner, or indeed anyone else who may have been wearing shoes. I am still not happy with the thought that the campers who found the body have not been called in evidence". The questions continue: Did my dad, Roy Strain, cause Dorothy to become pregnant and then kill her rather than risk the disgrace and loss of family and job? He was out during that time frame and witnessed in the early morning hours in a cafe with two friends all of whom had sand and salt water on them. Did the unknown strangler of other women in South Texas pick Dorothy up, after Newton stood her up for a swimming party, and kill her? Did Tom Conner kill Dorothy? Did Tom Conner and Newton Yarberry join together and kill Dorothy? Did Dorothy's birth father travel to Aransas Pass and kill her? Did Mr. Symons, Dorothy's step-father kill her or did someone totally unknown to the investigation kill Dorothy? You have the facts. You decide for yourself. January 2, 2002 I received this moving communication from Ruth Hamilton, noted British author who honored me with a foreword for "Dorothy": "I have sat this afternoon watching Gandhi, the second time I have endured the pain of it. There are no tears left in me. just like the first time, I saw what my country did to India, what Muslim did to Hindu afterwards - and vice versa. Why it is that the road we choose to walk to God, to goodness and eternal life - why should that cause the most war? When I watch this film, I am overwhelmingly relieved about my father's death. A regular soldier who served seven years in India as a military policeman before WW2, he would have been a part of that filth, of the massacre of innocents, of the vainglorious attempt of Britain to maintain power in a country so huge and divided. Had he survived Italy, he would have dragged us to India, would have taken his commission, might have been one of those who shot and killed women and babies. Worse still, he might have been one of the bastards issuing the orders. At times like this, I do not understand the world. And what have we learnt? Nothing. We still have people who do evil in the name of God. Now, India and Pakistan quarrel all over again. There is no end to it. And was Jerusalem builded here, in England's green and pleasant land? Was it bollox? Those arrogant, blind bastards who tried to contain the ungovernable taught us nothing. And we don't listen. We choose not to hear. Despair is a sin but I cannot help it. Gandhi was shot just now on my TV screen. And no one will ever be able to answer to my satisfaction that monosyllabic question. Why? Love, Ruthie xxx" The passion that Ruth Hamilton expresses is the same passion I feel about the murder of young girls at the hands of predators who deny them the God given drive to procreate and continue the species. So I'll end the story of Dorothy. I began the story by saying this might be a love story, a story of obsession perhaps or maybe even a story of possession; and then again it may be just a very long obituary. There only remains the choosing of a closing sentence and there are so many closing sentences. I want to say "Good-bye, Dorothy, you're gone now but I'll be seeing you soon...we'll talk." And then I want to say, "Adios, Dorothy, Vaya con Dios!: But I think the words that will ring back to the beginnings of time and on into the future of the world are the simple words of Blanco County Deputy Sheriff, Leo Hudgens: "Why did he have to kill her, Bill?" l

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