The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

November 15, 2012

Murder case resonates 38 years later

Community reacts to 1974 cold case after current technology leads to suspect’s arrest

(Continued)

OTTUMWA — A final message from Mary Jayne

A letter that Jones had sent to a friend in North Carolina was released to the press 38 years ago.

Though started in March 1974, Jones, a self-professed slow letter writer, didn’t finish the letter until April. The letter was postmarked the day she was found dead in the farmhouse near Blakesburg:

“I like it out here but I still get depressed because I can’t see all of you guys. I really miss you. I’m really on my own now. I am living in my own apartment now. Love it to death. But it can be a hassle getting the rent up sometimes. But I always seem to manage. I seem to enjoy living by myself.”

Later, she writes about a murder that occurred in North Carolina.

“I read that article about that murder to some of my friends and they couldn’t believe it. There’s hardly any excitement like that here. It’s rather a dead town.

“I’m sure I’ve told you about Art ... He’s making more money now, plus for every good day he has he gets a bonus so he’s making pretty good money. He bought me a beautiful ring for Valentine’s Day. Not an engagement ring, but it’s got a diamond on it.

“He still doesn’t want to get married, but he knows where I stand about living together. Forget it. I can’t see it. So, if he loves me enough, he’ll marry me eventually.”

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