What Marion Parker's Ransom Note Really Said

Two more ransom notes were sent to Perry Parker, both on December 17. The first, topped again by Greek letters, was almost apologetic. After accusing Perry of collaborating with the police, the kidnapper now conceded: “I feel however, that you started the search before you received my warning, so I am not blaming you for the bad beginning.” He warned Perry to “dismiss all the authorities before it is too late” and stressed that Marion Parker would die if the ransom was not paid. “Be sensible and use good judgment,” the letter ended. “You can’t deal with a mastermind like a common crook or kidnapper.”

In the final letter, the Fox alias of past messages was explained: “Very sly you know. Set no traps. I’ll watch for them.” The kidnapper explicitly threatened to “handle the situation” with a Gillette razor blade if his demands weren’t met. It ended the way all the letters had: “If you want aid against me ask God not man.” A call that evening arranged another meeting. This time, the exchange was made — Parker handed over the money at gunpoint, watched his daughter’s body get pushed out of the kidnapper’s car, and fell into shrieks of despair when he saw what had happened to her.

William Edward Hickman would later confess that he killed Marion that day out of fear she might alert someone and lead to his capture. Dissecting her body was necessary, he said, to move her without suspicion. His ransom letters indicated none of this, but the detectives who handled his arrest noted how much he seemed to relish writing out his confession.

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