Welcome back to the Hogue Connection and Part 9 of Criminal in the Family! At the end of Part 8, Marion Larner was sent to the hospital to be examined for worrisome stomach issues. He was ultimately forced to leave his trusty post as clerk-cashier of the O.S.P. canteen system.
An Audit Raises Questions.
When Warden Connor’s new secretary was appointed on 1 Apr 1945, rumors of large shortages in canteen accounts were flying around the prison. The amount of cash flowing through O.S.P. was at an all-time high, and much more than any observers expected. The warden thought it would be a good idea to audit the books so his new hire could start with a clean slate.
The case is much more complicated than I am presenting it here, but you can read the details here. Ted Masco, an auditor for the Oklahoma State Board of Affairs, found that the canteen accounts were short $7900 during Larner’s tenure as clerk-cashier. Where does that kind of cash go in a prison? How could someone profit from this operation? The warden, his secretary, and the auditor had no idea of what happened, but decided to write off the amount of missing funds and start fresh. They also had to firm up their checks and balances in the system to keep this type of thing from happening again.
A Bad Diagnosis for Larner and More Questions.
After running him through a bunch of tests, doctors found the likely cause of Marion Larner’s health issues. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer. The rest of Larner’s life after this point is full of questions I have been unable to find the answers to. It’s frustrating, but the records online just aren’t there. I’ll give you what I know for sure, and some theories and ideas about what might have been going on. Until someone digs in deep, you’ll have to develop your own conclusions. It will likely take a trip to the Washita County Courthouse in Cordell.
As of around the first of June 1946, we know that Marion Larner started treatment for stomach cancer. We know that he was suspected of embezzling almost $8000 from his prison job. I also learned, from his death certificate, that he had another wife. That might seem strange enough, but not only did the guy somehow stash money away while in Big Mac, he got married while incarcerated there, too. People do get married while in prison, but I believe this marriage was a contrived effort to possibly move the windfall of funds that came Larner’s way.
Marion Larner had a devious enough mind for it.
Who is the Mystery Woman?
I believe I know who she is, but I’m not going to reveal it here. My detective work tracked this woman down easily enough. I contacted her family to get more info, and was stonewalled. For the rest of my story here, I’ll just use her initials, which match the documentation I found, if you’re interested in digging further. I contacted FT’s granddaughter via the internal messaging system at Ancestry.com. The granddaughter, who is about my age, lives close to where FT spent her final years. She had a public tree posted and I was able to identify her relationship to FT. I sent a message asking if it were possible FT could have had another marriage that she didn’t know about.
At first, she seemed interested and confirmed the names of the husbands I found listed. I asked if she would be willing to have a phone conversation about it. I thought it would easier to communicate my theories that way. She said she would check with some of her relatives and get back to me. She didn’t respond that night and the next day, she had taken her Ancestry family tree private. Jeez. What is it with people? I’m interested in family history and getting things right, but I’m not going to steal from or stalk anybody. Oh well. My main delay in writing up this story was deciding if it was the right thing to do, privacy wise. Anyway, next week in Part 10, I’ll try to finish this story of the criminal in my family and close the books on the murder of Bertie Mae Bewley Larner.
Thanks for reading Part 9 of Criminal in the Family on my blog! See you back at The Hogue Connection soon! You can return to the Home Page here.