At this point I have pretty much exhausted my searches for direct family members in 1940 with the exception of my granddaddy, his parents and grandparents in Memphis, Tennessee. I will just need to wait for the census records to be indexed because I just cannot figure out where everyone was!
I spent most of yesterday making phone calls in order to find records pertaining to Acra Archie Cathey’s death. Since the murder happened in Madison County, Tennessee I called the Madison County Archives, the Madison County Circuit Court and the Madison County Sheriff Department. The gentleman at the archives searched and then called to let me know he hadn’t found anything but would resume his search on Monday. The Sheriff Department said that they had nothing and assumed I was looking in the wrong county. The circuit court told me that I would have to call the archives (which, by the way, the archives said that if they don’t have anything then the circuit court should).
Since originally Gibson County, Tennessee was where everyone thought his body had been found I made a phone call to the Gibson County Sheriff Department (though I may need to call the Humboldt Police, since I think that may have been the department that responded to the initial call). I left a message for an investigator, and I am waiting for a call back.
The final calls I made were to the FBI. It is the family’s understanding that the evidence found had been sent to the FBI for testing. I first called the Jackson office in Madison County. The agent I spoke with initially seemed slightly excited, asking if I had new evidence. He then seemed slightly down when I told him I didn’t have new evidence but was instead searching for information. He had said that I would have to request information from the headquarters. I tried to look it up, but I couldn’t find who to contact. So I called the Memphis headquarters of the FBI and left a message for an agent. Man, the FBI are super prompt! I got a call back within an hour from an agent. He told me exactly how to request the information. So later today I will do that. I’m really hoping that the evidence was sent to the FBI so that I could get the report on what they found, if anything.
I’m bound and determined to find out what happened. Since I am fairly certain that all parties involved are now deceased (from Acra to the investigating Sheriff, including those that murdered Acra) I feel that it should be a bit easier to find the information than it is seeming to be. In fact, because no one seems to have any records on the case, it makes me believe the family story that there may have been a political cover-up. And that really saddens me. To think that this man, a man who was loved so much by everyone he knew, was brutally murdered and then thrown out on the highway, the murder weapon and other evidence found in a suspect’s vehicle and the suspect(s) released-no other information about it to be found-a man who had a wife and young children who, after his death, felt the need to leave the State of Tennessee out of fear…to think that his murder may never be resolved is heartbreaking. I hope to find the truth before his last living children pass.
Last Saturday my great-aunt Kat, my mother and I went to the cemetery where Acra is buried. We left two red roses on his grave. Kat stood there and cried. She said her Uncle Acra was the sweetest, kindest man and she sure did miss him.