Oakie's NW Corner
OKC, Oklahoma -
Do you believe in Ghosts? There are a few ghosts that haunt a certain location in Avard, Oklahoma. Some say the Old Avard Gym is a portal for those ghosts that haunt that area.
I am not sure what all buildings have occupied that place where the Old Avard Gym is now. Vina Rae's Grill & Graze Cafe occupies a part of the Old Gym at the present. If you are ever in the Avard area, stop by and chat with Nan while you graze during your lunch hour. There resides some interesting stories and ghosts with unfinished, unsettling business.
One of those ghosts is the charred, smell of the young lady that was charred to death in a fiery car incident on a lonely country road (Old Avard road) one mile south of Hopeton and 2.7 miles west of highway 281, about 1.25 miles from Mildred Ann Reynold's home near Avard. One of her legs was completely burnt off at the knee.
Mildred Ann (Newlin) Reynolds, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Newlin, Lambert, Oklahoma, was born December 25, 1933 and died 13 March 1956, 1:40 p.m. at the age of 22. Mildred Ann was a petite (5' 2", 100 lb.) nice looking, young lady and a senior attending Northwestern State College. College faculty described her as "rather shy" and a good student.
Mildred Ann Newlin married R. D. "Dee" Reynolds nine months before her violent , fiery death. Dee Reynolds was a basketball coach and teacher at the Avard High School and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Homer Reynolds of Freedom, Oklahoma. Mildred had a brother, Eddie Newlin. Mildred's body was burned beyond recognition inside a 1949 Chevrolet Tudor Sedan. Her body was lying across the frontseat with her head away from the steering wheel. The question is Why and Was it Murder or an accident?
I would like to thank all of you who have come to my assistance and helped supply me with death dates, and other information. I have started a Cast of Characters, News Clippings on the Unsolved Mystery of Ann Reynolds' Death. As you read through it, if you know of something, someone who might have some factual clues and would like to help the ghost of Mildred Ann Reynolds find the answers to this unsolved crime, I would love to hear from you. I want to assure you that if you would prefer to remain anonymous, I will protect your confidentiality. Just let me know.
I am going to leave you here to view the Readers Mailbag and contemplate some of the evidence as reported in the local Newspapers of 1956 and Steve Gilbert's Study of the case. Was this an accident or murder? There have been lots of rumors, gossip about this case, but nothing that can be published -- An intriguing, suspicous, fiery death of a young lady, married for nine months and a Northwestern College senior on her way back home to Avard about 13 miles SW of Alva. Some reported that she left Alva around 12:30 p.m. after having lunch with her 18 year-old nephew, Jim Hucklebee.
Thanks for helping us with our 1956 Unsolved Mystery. Here is hoping you have a Good Friday and Happy Easter! This is also the 8th Anniversary Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building Bombing (19 April 1995) in Oklahoma City and a Memorial to those who died.
Have a great Easter weekend. See you all next weekend. Thanks for your help this week.
~~ Linda "oaKie" ~~
NW OK Unsolved Mystery - 13 March 1956
Avard, Oklahoma -
At about 1:45 PM, March 13, 1956, the body of 22 year old Mildred Anne Reynolds was found burning in her 1949 Chevrolet Tudor Sedan, bearing Oklahoma license plate 49-2685. The incident occurred one mile South and two miles and seven tenths West of Hopeton, Oklahoma.
One of my readers said, "The car was very close to that hill on the right of the photo. I recall some men on the hill looking at the scene. The traffic going by that scene was busy considering the population and anyone could walk up to the car and stare. They didn't have any training in those days in proper law enforcement techniques, particularly in the rural areas and didn't have the benefit of television to learn even that way."
I wrote and asked Prof. Gilbert about some of his findings and about the 9mm shell casings found at the scene of the crime. He replied back, "Investigating agents discovered three 9MM shell casings at the rise about 50 in front of Reynolds first attempt to turn. The owner of these shells, who was present at the
isolated scene, admitted to firing his weapon. This was verified by firearms testing. No further mention was found in the investigation."
Steve Gilbert's Study of Reynolds' Case
Avard, Oklahoma - Steve Gilbert's Study of Reynolds' Case -- Gilbert wrote me that he reviewed the actual investigative documents, to include the coroner's
report. There were also some photographs and a film. He noted that the three 9mm shells were at the top of the rise in the road. He did not find any satisfactory answer as to why these shells were fired. According to the Oklahoma report, the shooter was a local man who had test fired his weapon a day or so before the incident.
There is no mention in the newspapers to any evidence that Mildred was shot. Some say she was alive during the fire. Some say she was already dead. There were speculation that the vehicle fire was attributed to a dislodged plug under the car that allowed gas to leak and this was caused by her erratic driving into the ditch where the car was ultimately found.
What caused her erratic driving? Was someone waiting for Mrs. Reynolds on top of the rise? Did Mrs. Reynolds backup and try to turn to get away from her attacker? Was Mildred Ann Reynolds attempting to turn the large 1949 Chevrolet Tudor Sedan while in a panic? Did she crash it into a tree on the opposite side of the road - attempt to run from the car, losing her shoe, and then get back in the car and backed it up to where it burned?
I am told by others -- that if she had done this while attempting an unhurried turn, none of this would have happened. No one reported finding any bullet holes in the car. There was a recreation -- an experiment held in an attempt to recreate the car burning. The 16mm film in which they burned a similar sedan by throwing gas cans under it and in it was no where near the fire that killed Mildred.
German POW's Castles
Alva, Oklahoma -
Castles were built by German POW's in 1943 and donated by VFW Post 1098, McAlester, Oklahoma.
Crescent, Okla. Mural
Crescent, Oklahoma -
Photo taken 15 April, 2003 on the main street of Crescent, Oklahoma
Mildred Ann (Newlin) Reynold's Death
Cherokee, Oklahoma - "Yes I remember all about that as we was living at Alva at the time. Of course it was on everyone's mind. When they brought the car in
they parked it across from my parents house in a salvage yard.
Alva, Oklahoma - "Several months ago I sent a photo of a town scene,
asking if anyone could name the town. Fairly recently you published
an account of a man named Haines who was an early merchent in Alva.
Since there was a Haines store in the photo, I'll bet the town was
Alva." -- Charles M. Cook
Wrought Iron Home Comfort Cook Stove
"Your letter July 2001 you asked about wrought iron home comfort cook stove. We have one and it has been in my husbands family since his grandparent's bought it brand new. I've been doing a lot of research on this stove and I believe it to be your CB model stove as your cookbook came from. I am trying to locate part for this stove as it's missing one hinge on the oven and the handle for lifting the burners. Other than that it is in GREAT shape and soon to be moved into our country kitchen for use. Any info I'd greatly appreciate. Thank you for your time." -- Roxane Hillock - Email: Hillockfarms2@aol.com
Tulsa, Oklahoma - "You included my 'babies' in the same
issue as your little beauty! Thanks (but no autographs please......
they are too busy playing..) Heck, if I had known they were going
to make the newsletter, I probably would have chosen some better pics
(well, that's a lie.... I meant a cleaner background - tee hee). Anyway,
just loved looking at your little one. They are so fun and funny to
watch as a puppy. I can't wait until you really get into the new mystery.
That really sounds intriguing but also so very very tragic! Must have
been some really heavy duty reason why someone would go to that kind
of extreme to hide any clues and torture a person. Will be waiting
with 'baited breath' reading your new quest! Great going, Linda!"
-- Your Forever Reader
Remembering the Reynolds Case
Avard, Oklahoma - "I remember this quite well. It was not too long before my senior year in high school, so early 1956 would be the latest that it could have occurred. I'll try to find some old newspaper accounts on it, since I've wondered about it many times myself over the years. I do remember that Mr. Reynolds was a teacher and basketball coach in Avard at the time, and I remember being convinced that he was totally innocent. Mrs. Reynolds was returning home after attending classes at Northwestern State. One of the major questions and the reason they burned another car to find out, was: How could her car have burned so fast that she couldn't get out unless she was either already dead or some flammable substance was used? As I recall the Reynolds incident took place on the Avard road. I talked to Ed Doctor (Sheriff) and Elvin White (Undersheriff) many years later and they were both still convinced that it was a case of murder." -- Jim
Avard, Oklahoma - " I remember listening about this poor lady's death on the radio. Don't remember the year, we lived northwest of Hardtner. It does seem they had a trial or inquest or something; maybe there are newspaper articles, or perhaps the radio station has some old transcripts around (doubtful, but possible I suppose). I don't recall that the mystery was ever solved -- although many held an opinion about the solution." -- Evelyn
Reynolds' Case Memories
Avard, Oklahoma - "I found some information on the web concerning the death of Mildred Anne Reynolds (car fire) on March 13, 1956, and find it quite intriguing. I was not aware of this case prior to your article in the Okie Legacy. The link to the website is included below.
13 March 1956 - Reynolds Case
Avard, Oklahoma - "Steven Gilbert's letter has a lot of useful information. She most certainly was unconscious or dead when the vehicle burned or she would have escaped. Since the body was so completely destroyed no autopsy would show many causes of death for instance strangulation . It is quite rare for a body to be so completely destroyed in a car fire without accelerants being actually pored into the vehicle. The 9mm shell casings found were fired from a semi-automatic handgun and that person was at the scene. Why would he/she fire the weapon and why were they there. There must be photos of the crime scene as well as the autopsy. This is a great "cold case" to look into, wish I were there. Wonder if Unsolved Mysteries or one of those programs would be interested. That was not a common car fire and it engulfed a large area around the vehicle."
McAlester, Oklahoma - "My name is steve DeFrange and I live in McAlester Oklahoma. I discovered the site pertaining to the WWII POW camp at Alva.
Rose of Cimarron
Oklahoma - "I enjoyed your website very much.
I am in the process of building my own, devoted to female outlaws
of the Old West. Still under construction, but you can view it at
www.desperadas.com. I am
trying to find info on Rose of Cimarron, Jennie Metcalfe. I
have also heard 'ROC' referred to as Cattle Annie, but surely
these are two different women? Info is frustratingly scarce. Would
very much appreciate any insights!
Unsolved Reynolds Mystery
Avard, Oklahoma - " Funny that this should come up. Just recently my Mother and I were talking about this as I remember seeing a picture of the car in an article in the Wichita Eagle Beacon. I was very young but for some reason remember that photo. As I am a police officer, I have a special interest in things like this and would really like to see if somehow this 'cold case' could be brought to life. After this span of time it would be interesting to see what all who remembers."
1956 Unsolved Mystery in NW Oklahoma
Avard, Oklahoma - "Keep a suspect
file... If you don't have any, then anyone could be. Double check
everything your told to find the facts. Everyone will have different
version of the story. It is a small community someone may be hiding
a piece. Glad you like puzzles because you have a few pieces with
a general idea of the whole picture. Keep good notes... This could
turn out to be your first mystery novel."
Interest in Oklahoma Ghosttowns
Okemah, Oklahoma - "Hi! I have very deep rooted experiences in some of the ghost towns in Oklahoma. I was born in Okemah, and lived in Earlsboro and Cromwell, not to mention Seminole and Guthrie. I am currently living in Skiatook. I am a Civil War buff, and I am into Old West Re-enactments. I used to go to the Old Frontier City west of Okemah on highway 48. I stumbled on to your sight by accident, and would love to receive your news letter. Thanks." -- Gerald
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