Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dessie Keyes, Suspected Texas Serial Killer – 1921

Aug. 6, 1921 – Leslie Keyes, died
Juky – Maud Aven, died
Fannie Elbert Aven, 5-m-o, died.


FULL TEXT: W. I. Keyes of Winnsboro, Texas, is in Kinney today. He is the father of Leslie Keyes, the young man killed near Waco a few weeks ago, and whose death led to the arrest of the young man’s wife, Dessie Keyes, and and his own uncle, W. T. Aven, against whom charges of murder have been filed for the killing of Mrs. Maud Aven, Fannie Elbert, five-months-old daughter of Aven, against whom charges of murder have been removed from the Waco jail and taken elsewhere as a precaution against any violence, and that section is said to be stirred over the horrible crimes that recently have been brought to light in the alleged murder cases. W. I. Keyes who was reared a few miles southeast of McKinney and in which section his son, Leslie Keyes, was born and reared, said that he believed if the body of his son is exhumed and the stomach and other vital organs examined and an analysis made it was his candid opinion that poison would be found. Mrs. Maude Aven and her baby’s stomach contained arsenic poison sufficient to have produced death.

~ Visited at Windsboro ~

Mrs. Keyes stated that Leslie Keyes and his little three year old daughter visited at his home at Winnsboro, Texas, for two weeks recently. They returned to their home near Waco on Wednesday and the Saturday night following he was killed. Leslie had been sick before he went to visit his parents, and his father stated that he was given a dose of medicine by Aven, and became so sick that he was rushed to Dallas and placed in a sanitarium where he remained for several days and was just getting over the illness when he went to visit at Winnsboro. Mr. Keyes said that his wife told her son that he had been “doped.” Mrs. Dessie Keyes did not accompany her husband and little daughter to Winnsboro on their visit. The grape juice which Aven claims made Keyes intoxicated on the night he was found dead. Keyes’ father said was made from large grapes which his son gathered at his home near Winnsboro just before running to his home near Waco.

~ Had Fear of Passion ~

Mr. Keyes recalled the fact that Mrs. Aven had told her sister that Mrs. Aven had told her sister in Ft. Worth a few days before she died that she was going to be poisoned. A few days following Mrs. Aven’s almost instant death, Aven and his daughter and others were questioned by the county attorney of McLennan county concerning the death, said Mr. Keyes. He said today that had the officers gone ahead and exhumed the body of Mrs. Aven and found the poison in her stomach, as was the case later, that the lives of his son, Leslie Keyes, and little Fannie Elbert Aven would have been spared as Aven would have been in the strong arm of the law.

[“Father Of Leslie Keyes Visits Here Asserts That Central Texas Section Stirred Over Recent Revelations.” The Daily Courier-Gazette (McKinney, Tx.), Aug. 30, 1921, p., 1]


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