Union, Union County, Oregon
Union Murder Still Mystery; Seek Gun
Autopsy Held: Lodged Bullet Only Clue Found, Officers Looking for Borrowed Gun
Union, – June 21. – With a bullet through his abdomen, Tex Ricker, about 50, self-described Yellowstone guide, rodeo promoter and adventurer, was found dead on the woolen mill bridge at Union, at down today four hours after neighbors had heard a shot and cries.
Discovery of the body was made by Mrs. Mildred Jory, about 40, whom Ricker said yesterday he expected to marry today. They had been together last night until 11 o’clock, half an hour before the shot was heard.
No Gun Found
No gun was found near the bridge and there was no powder burns on his body. Officers were convinced there was no evidence of suicide.
Mrs. Jory and her two daughters, Maxine and Louise, and Mrs. Louise DeVore all heard the shot fired, they said, at 11:30. They had no telephone and were too frightened to go outside to investigate. They reported hearing a car go over the bridge at the time of the shots and again at about 1 o’clock. As soon as it was light, Mrs. Jory looked out the window and saw the body on the bridge, which is a short distance from her home. She ran to the home of neighbors and called Guy Church, marshal, who immediately notified Dr. F.L.Ralston, coroner at La Grande. The body was taken to the Cock Brothers mortuary.
District Attorney Carl Helm, Sheriff Jesse Breshears and State Officer Dick Robertson were called to Union to investigate. They held but slight clues on which to start a search, they said.
Seeking Gun Ricker Carried
Where is the gun which Tex Ricker had in his possession, is the question which was being asked in Union yesterday, after officers discovered that Mr. Ricker, who was found early Tuesday morning shot dead in Union, had borrowed a gun from a Union resident. Mr. Ricker who came to Union from Jackson Hole, Wyo., two weeks before his death, stated that he was an old resident of the county and had, during his residence here, been active in promoting and officiating at rodeos.
Long-time residents of Union have delved into their memory of Union and find that they have no recollection of knowing Ricker at any former time. Mr. Ricker, it is believed at Union, had the faculty of finding events in the past lives of many persons and establishing a fictitious friendship.
Mr. Ricker was made an official at the Union Livestock show recently, and borrowed a gun for the occasion. Officers have gone through his effects and are unable to locate the firearm. Mill creek where he was found dead was dragged again this morning, and officers were still unable to locate the gun. However, officers believe that the bullet, which was found under the left shoulder blade after having entered the right side near the umbilicus, may have been fired from the gun which the deceased had in his possession before the time of his death.
Officers are still working on a theory that includes the possibility of murder, since it is believed that the position where the bullet entered hardly points to suicide. Some evidence has been found which points to a struggle before the man was shot.
Ricker, who told acquaintances that Mrs. Mildred Jory, whom he stated he intended to marry the morning after the murder, was a youthful sweetheart, told officers recently that she had never known the deceased before but that contrary to previous statements reported she intended to marry Ricker although no definite time had been set for the wedding.
A few days previous to the death of Ricker, a La Grande paper had the following story about him and his alleged experiences:
Hard riding, straight shooting cowboys, who rope a mean steer, much in the style of a western novel, really live in Jackson Hole, Wyo., one of the sites in the West where the old romantic spirit still prevails. Tex Ricker, who is a visitor in La Grande and Union this week from Jackson Hole.
North Powder News
Friday, June 24, 1932