Burns Sleuth Makes Report in Phagan Case

by Archivist on May 18, 2016

Burns Sleuth MakesAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, May 18th, 1913

Progress of Investigation Into Girl’s Slaying Very Rapid, Declares Felder.

After 24 hours on the scene of the Phagan muder, the head of the department of criminal investigation of the Burns Detective Agency made his first report to his client, Thomas B. Felder, last night.

The report was so satisfactory that Colonel Felder announced more had been accomplished in the 24 hours than in any week of the investigation before the arrival of the Burns detective.

The fund to secure the services of William J. Burns and defray the expenses of the investigation of his first lieutenant went above the $2,000 mark yesterday.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey said that instead of being ready for the Grand Jury the Phagan case was still far from being in shape to be presented, and it was not certain it would be presented this week.

New Arrest Unlikely.

The probability of a new arrest being ordered from the office of the Solicitor became more remote following the statement of the officer who planned it that the evidence was not sufficient.

A person who has attended almost every conference the Solicitor has had with witnesses stated that several had made misstatements, others had not told all they knew and a great many had testified reluctantly.

These were the principal developments yesterday in Atlanta’s greatest murder mystery.

The entire country about Atlanta has been searched for a trace of the mysterious girl who was said to have gone to the factory with Mary Phagan Saturday afternoon three weeks ago. A neat sum has been spent in automobile hire and detectives and deputies have spent many sleepless nights running down what at the time was thought to be positive information. Every time their work has been in vain.

City detectives have shown no evidences of weakening in their search. Baffled by many phases of the case, worn out by following clews that led them to “vacant lots” or “brick walls,” their investigation continues unabated.

The coming of the Burns man has been welcomed by the prosecution.

Expects Burns to Lift Mystery.

Solicitor Dorsey said:

“I am glad we have been able to secure their services. There are many features of the case that the great detective, or his assistant, may be able to clear up. At any rate, there is certainly a wide latitude in this case for a detective who enjoys the reputation of Mr. Burns.”

Colonel Felder confidently expects the Burns detectives to clear the mystery in short order.

“Twenty-four hours’ investigation by the best man in the Burns service has convinced me the people who have subscribed to the Burns fund will be satisfied. With much work already accomplished by the city detectives, the Burns people will complete the case in a manner that will leave no room for doubt. I want to take this opportunity of saying Atlanta’s detectives have done very well. It is a case for a master mind, however, and the public will be best satisfied when Mr. Burns himself makes his report.”

Subscriptions to the Burns fund were received yesterday from several parts of the State. There were four from Smyrna, two or three from Macon, one from Coffee County and one from Jackson. In almost every case the subscriber asked that his name be withheld.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 18th 1913, "Burns Sleuth Makes Report in Phagan Case," Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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