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Investigators Solve 80-Year-Old Cold Case With Ties To Cheyenne

Fox Photos, Getty Images
Fox Photos, Getty Images

On June 17, 1937, the Sheriff and Constable of Boone County were shot while investigating reports of a suspicious vehicle parked outside of Albion, Nebraska. The car was later found in Cheyenne, abandoned and riddled with bullet holes.

80 years later, investigators have finally confirmed the identities of the killers, who were their prime suspects all along.

MSN reports the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office said Marion Cooley and Charles Doody had stolen a car in Denver. When they were approached by Boone County Sheriff Lawrence Smoyer and Constable William Wathen, one of them shot Smoyer in the head. Wathen returned fire, but was wounded in the gun fight and died 108 days later.

After dumping the stolen car in Cheyenne, Doody disappeared. By the time Nebraska lawmen had collected enough evidence to issue an arrest warrant, Cooley was already serving ten years in a Colorado prison for another crime. In those days, authorities had to wait until convicts were released to bring charges in another state.

As time passed, the case was forgotten until three years ago, when investigators received a phone call from Doody’s son, urging them to reexamine the evidence.

They learned that Doody had assumed the alias Charles Simms. He married twice and had children. Although he did prison time in Colorado and California, he was never brought to justice for his role in the killings and he died in 1995. Cooley was released from prison in 1948 and died in 1965.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s announcement was made on the 80th anniversary of William Wathen’s death.



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