Alvin Karpis: Pursuit of the Last Public Enemy
A few days later, agents drove eighteen-year-old Connie Morris to the Baton Rouge, Louisiana train station in the middle of the night. The FBI did not charge her with any crime and she returned to either Oklahoma or Texas-having relatives in both states.
Connie Morris was an alias; born in 1917, she might still be alive and have an untold story of her own. But her trail ends more than sixty years in the past, and it is very cold.
Fred Hunter served sixteen years in prison for a combination of the train robbery, and harboring Alvin Karpis. Paroled in 1953, he returned to the Hot Springs/New Orleans area and resumed his gambling interests. He died in the mid-1980s, and was over eighty years old.
Just a day or two after the arrest, J.Edgar Hoover received an 11% salary increase (to $10,000), and was acclaimed Public Hero # 1. A measure of Adulation and Respect instantly accrued to him and lasted for decades.
On the late night of May 1 or early morning of May 2, 1972, Hoover died at his home in Washington just hours after the precise 36th anniversary of the arrest in New Orleans. He was seventy-seven.
Alvin Karpis was paroled to Montreal in 1969 and four years later moved to the Costa del Sol (suncoast) in Spain. He died there in August, 1979 at age seventy one. The initial report from Spain said it was possibly a suicide, as sleeping pills were found. A brief correction was issued days later by the police in Spain, stating the death was from natural causes. Someone close to the situation believed that the actual cause was either an accidental mixture of alcohol and sleeping pillsor foul play. There was no autopsy.
Now, back to that intersection of Canal and Jefferson Davis Parkway. A parking lot currently occupies the corner where the apartment building stood in 1936. Every day, unknowingly, people park and walk upon the footsteps of The Director and Old Creepy and History.
The two statues on the Parkway commemorating the Civil War should be joined by another monument, with inscription reading:
At this site, on May 1, 1936, the first G-Man, J. Edgar Hoover, was among a score of agents who participated in the FBIs arrest of the last Public Enemy, Alvin Karpis.
This closed the era of the notorious and wild criminal gangs of the 1930s. And it gave an intangible boost to the FBIs evolution into one of the worlds most powerful law enforcement organizations under Hoovers complete control and unchallenged direction.
Alvin Karpis said of J. Edgar Hoover, I made that son of a bitch
J. Edgar Hoover said of Alvin Karpis, a dirty yellow rat