Lu Hall, a white man, about twenty-four years of age, is held at the Fairfax county jail, accused of the murder of little Eva Roy, the fifteen-year-old daughter of Peter Roy, a farmer living near Burke Station, Virginia.
The young girl’s body was found Wednesday afternoon tied to a tree in a wood near her father's farm. Her apron strings had been used to hold her in a sitting position against the tree trunk. A bloody trail leading from an open meadow to the wood showed where her body had been dragged to its hiding place.
Little Miss Roy had been missing since the day before, and her parents and the neighbors had been searching the countryside for the past twenty-four hours. She had taken her father's cow Into the meadows to pasture, and had failed to return at the usual time.
Sheriff Allison and two deputies suspected Hall of the crime from the first, and late last night found him at the home of his brother and arrested him. The prisoner had been seen by a number ot the neighbors in the wood where the girl's body was found, a short time after the time of her disappearance.
The murder followed a criminal assault, physicians stated yesterday. The body has been taken to the home of the girl's father for burial.
Who killed Eva Roy?Picture is the photo montage that accompanied this article.
Deputations of citizens and county officials of Fairfax county. Va., are today guarding the jail in Fairfax Court House, where Lou Hall, a, white man, is held charged with one of the most brutal crimes in the history of the State.
Attacked and murdered Tuesday before noon, Eva Dagmar Roy, the fourteen-year-old daughter of Peter Roy, a farmer of Burke's, Va., a few miles from Fairfax Court House, was found in a sitting position tied to a tree Wednesday morning shortly after 8 o'clock by members of a searching party who had been beating the woods all night long. The girl was dead.
Her body showed marks of the struggle with the assailant before she died, and the ground bore evidence of the unequal fight. Weeds were trampled underfoot and branches of small trees were broken.
A garter and torn bits of her clothing were found In the underbrush. A path through the high weeds into the thicket where the body was found showed the course of the murderer when he dragged her from the spot where the attack occurred.
Evidence against Lou Hall is purely circumstantial. He is officially charged with the murder and will be brought to trial In September. A preliminary hearing will be arranged within ten days by the commonwealth attorney, J. Vernon Forrest.
Woodcutters who had worked with Hall gathered In the quiet village last night There were threats of a lynching. In the darkness about the court house square, on one corner of which the little brick jail is situated, the crowd gathered half-silent, sullen. From his cell In the jail, Lou Hall sat and watched the men. Sheriff J. R. Allison and Deputy Sheriffs Resin and White and Jailer Tom Cross stood guard all night long.
Lou Hall lived within 50 yards of the spot in which the body of Eva Roy was found murdered. He has a wife and two children, whom he supported by chopping wood.
On the day of the murder, Tuesday. he went home about noon, took his wife and one child away to her father's .home, and himself took the other child and went to his brother's home in Accotink, several miles from Burk's. There he was arrested about 6 o'clock Tuesday afternoon, when Sheriff Allison discovered circumstances which pointed to him as the logical man to solve the mystery of the little girl's death. He denies all knowledge of the crime.
Suspected by Father.
In the home of Eva Roy it Is openly charged that Lou Hall is guilty. Peter Roy, the father, a Dane who moved to Virginia from Minnesota about five years ago, bringing his family, is silent. Today, his comment was:
"Ah, well! It Is one of those.things one does not easily get over."
In an interview with a reporter for The Times as be sat under the wide spreading oak trees that shade his quiet farmyard, he told the story of the hours during which with neighbors and friends he searched the deep woods for his daughter, finally to find her murdered.
"As far as I know, it was 9 o'clock Tuesday morning when she left home," he said. "She went to herd the cows. I had told her to bring them home a little after 12 o'clock, but at noon I was not at home. I had gone to Burke's. I was surprised when I found that she was not at home when I got there.
"As soon as I could get ready, I started over. I think I walked over forty-five minutes before I found the cows. When I found them they were near the Hanse place, as it is called, and I looked all around but didn't find her. I then went to the house to inquire of the people if they had seen
her, but they were not at home.
Neighbors Help Search.
"Then I went home, as I was tired out, to get a horse to ride. I also got Mr. Monroe and Eli Larsen, neighbors, to go with me. I looked around for some time and then told Mr. Monroe that I should go to Mrs. Hall's parents' home to find out if she had seen anything of my girl and the cattle during the day. Her father said that she and her husband, Lou Hall, had come there about 3 o'clock In the afternoon. I then went to see Mr. and Mrs. Hall. Lou's father and mother. They said he had gone to his brother’s home, in Accotink, with his little boy. She, with her little girl, stayed there.
"Then I came back and met a lot of other men and we were looking through the woods all night long. We went home to get a little breakfast at daylight and were back on the search shortly after daylight. We found her about half-past 8 o’clock.
Paul Marshall, of Burke's, found the body. He was searching with Hillery Harrison and Russell Hughes. An exact description of the finding of the body was furnished today by Mr. Hughes.
"Paul Marshall found the body about thirty yards from the spring." he said. "I was walking around the other side of the thicket and heard him say, “Here she is."
"She was laying with her back against a tree. The belt which goes around her apron was tied In a hard knot around her neck and close up to her chin. You couldn't get a knife blade between the flesh and string to cut it off. Her lower limbs were partially bare. Her right foot was doubled under her left. Her chin rested on her left shoulder. Her clothing was not torn very much, but there were heavy scratches on the neck and body. Her face was disfigured, and on her chin were the marks of teeth, as on her ears.
Shoe Tracks Found.
"The surface of the little tree above her head was unmarked, showing that she was not struggling when tied to the tree. After finding the body, the searching parties were called in from every direction, and we examined the ground. Papers from her lunch were scattered about the ground around the spring. Tracks of a man's shoe were traced from the spring to a deserted house on the hillside. The shoe appeared to be about a size 11. Before finding her. we traced her footprints as she followed her herd of cows."
Bloodhounds were brought into play after the body was found. In Hall's deserted house a piece of clothing was found which was still smelling of his body. The hound was given the scene and started to bay, but later the plan of running the murderer down was abandoned as unadvisable because the scent was more than twelve hours old.
"From the condition of the body," said Sheriff J. R. Allison, who placed Hall under arrest, "the crime must have been committed early in the day."
“The fact that the girl had eaten her lunch indicates that it must have been before noon. The belief that an escaped convict from Occoquan committed the crime is not plausible. These woods are ten miles from Occoquan. Two prisoners were reported to have escaped shortly before the murder of Eva Roy took place.
"The district where the crime was committed, is, on the whole, a very poor section. The girl was very bright and much liked in the community. She took a number of prizes for her scholarship at school.
"Between 12 and 1 o'clock Tuesday afternoon, Lou Hall stopped at Davis' place, a country store near Barker's Crossroads, ten miles from Fairfax. In the stretch of woods where she was killed there are about 5,000 acres of the thickest timber. It is the section called Lee Chapel, and is a place of tragedy and ignorance, wild and untamed in some parts."
To complicate the case, a warrant has been issued for the arrest of a negro, Wilbur Wooster, 17 years old, charging him with a criminal attack on a negro girl. Whether there is any likelihood that Wooster committed the crime on Eva Roy isIs the subject of an investigation being made today.
Passed the Spring.
Walter Wood, a white man employed as a woodcutter, was with Lou Hall about 11 o'clock the day of the murder, according to his statement to the sheriff. He and Hall cut down a bee tree in the hope of finding some honey, and then separated, Hall going toward his home. His steps led him past the spot where the murder was committed, which was comparatively close to his home. He must have passed the spring where Eva Roy was eating her lunch since there was no other way to his house.
A coroner's jury, composed of C. P. Henry, foreman, W. P. Marshall. G. C. White, A. B. Carter, R. A. Farr and C. N. Stewart returned a verdict of death at the hands of an unknown man after the inquest Wednesday afternoon at 2 o’clock.
By inquiry, Sheriff Allison learned that Hall had gone to the home of his brother, Joseph Hall, a laborer living at Accotink. When Sheriff Allison took him into custody Hall made no protest. He did not ask any questions, according to the sheriff.
He got his hat and entered the car. He did not have a coat. He seemed worried, said the sheriff. He talked little during the fourteen-mile ride. White, who accompanied the sheriff, asked Hall why be killed Eva Roy. Hall replied:
"I didn't kill her. Is that why I am arrested?"
Told that bloodhounds had been on the search for him, Hall said he supposed they were searching for the two escaped convicts. He denied the murder, but seemed to take his arrest as a matter of course, failing to ask questions until they neared the jail, when White spoke to him.
Hall is thirty-three years old and has a wife and two children.
Eva came home one day from tending the cows and told us how she had seen Hall beating his wife," said Mrs. Jerman, the dead girl's sister. “Eva was frightened to death of Hall, but she told us she would reprimand him if she saw him do it again."
Hall is about 5 feet 11 inches tall, has light hair and eyes, and is thin and wiry. When arrested he wore a hickory shirt, overalls, a felt hat, and was barefoot.
Thursday morning, Joseph Hall called to see his brother. They talked for several minutes, but nothing was said of the crime. Hall gave his brother $2 with which to purchase some tobacco. He is the only visitor the accused man has received since his arrest, with the exception of The Times reporter and county officials.
In answer to a series of questions put by the reporter. Hall steadily replied:
"I don't know."
He has no lawyer as yet.
The scene of the murder is one of the wildest spots in this section of the country. After leaving a cross roads near the home of the Roys, the trail leads down into a deep bottom land. Trees spread their branches overhead until there is a network of green foliage obscuring the sky. To each side are thick woods, heavy with undergrowth and small trees. Tall beeches and oaks and elms abound in the timber, and it was in here that Hall worked- when he worked at all- cutting wood. He was employed by Norman Stewart, of Burke's.
Where Hall Lived.
Pohick run, a small creek, cuts through the bottom land. On the trail taken by Eva Roy as she followed her herd Tuesday morning there are numbers of difficult crossing places where bridges have been washed away. On the old Hanse place, as some call It, there are two springs, about 500 yards apart by the winding pathway.
Between the two springs Hall lives in a little ramshackle house with his wife and children.
Although Lou Hall, thirty-three years old, a woodchopper, is being held in the county jail at Fairfax, Va., on suspicion, authorities are without substantial evidence to show who assaulted and brutally murdered fifteen-year-old Eva Roy on a deserted farm near her home at Burke Station, Va., Tuesday.
Hall told Sheriff J. R. Allison that he knew Eva was accustomed to look after her father's cows in the woods and he admits he was in the vicinity of the scene of the murder Tuesday, but since his arrest Wednesday afternoon he has steadfastly denied that he saw the girl that day.
Girl Was Strangled.
The coroner's jury, which gathered Wednesday morning at the spot where the body was found, decided that the girl died from strangulation. The verdict stated that while the perpetrator of the crime was not definitely known to them, suspicion rested upon Lou Hall.
Dr. W. I. Robey of Herndon, Va., presided at the inquest, and the members of the jury were C. P. Henry, O. C. White, C. Norman Steward. A. E. Carter, Paul Marshall and R. A. Farr.
On the strength of the verdict Justice of the Peace C. P. Henry gave Sheriff J. R. Allison a warrant, directing him to take Hall into custody and hold him as a suspect. Armed with this warrant, the sheriff found Hall at the home of his brother, Joseph Hall, at Accotink.
Question of Holding.
The grand jury will not meet until September 16, when the county court convenes, but the question of whether Hall is to be held for the grand jury may be decided at a preliminary hearing within a few days. At noon today no arrangements had been made for the hearing.
Sheriff Allison is desirous of tracing every clue before arraigning Hall. "A stranger might have passed through the woods, committed the murder and kept on going," the sheriff pointed out. He called attention to the fact that the evidence against Hall is purely circumstantial.
One theory brought to the sheriff's attention is that a convict, who was reported to have escaped from Occoquan a few days ago, might have been hiding in the woods and committed the crime. Sheriff Allison is working on the case today, but so far as could be learned had not uncovered any additional information up to noon.
Only the child's father, Peter Roy, her sister, Carolyn Jerman, and brother-in-law, William Jerman, attended the simple burial ceremony yesterday afternoon in the graveyard of Lee Chapel, about two miles from the Roy farm.
Assuming that news of the murder had not yet reached Accotink, which is twelve miles from Burke, Sheriff Allison said:
"Hall, I've got a warrant for you for a little mix-up at Burke."
Denies He's Slayer.
According to the sheriff, Hall showed little emotion, and did not make much inquiry about why he was arrested. When asked at the jail later if he killed "the girl," he denied any knowledge of the murder.
Hall has only a limited education and earns a living cutting wood in the woods where Eva was murdered. His home, where his wife and two little children live, is not more than 500 yards from the scene of the murder.
Questioned by the sheriff about his movements on the day of the murder, Hall said he left his home some time in the morning- he could not place the time- and went into the woods. The spot where Eva was found is [but] a few feet from the path which Hall took from his home to where he chops trees for C. Norman Steward. A few feet opposite, where the girl was found, is a spring.
Passed Near Murder Scene.
Hall admitted he passed the spring in going through the woods. He had not been cutting long, he told the sheriff, when he decided it "was too hot to cut wood," and he started back home. He admits he again passed the spring, but denies he saw Eva. According to Sheriff Allison, he could not approximate the time he returned home. Others who were chopping wood Tuesday say it was about 11 o'clock in the morning when he quit.
Continuing his story to the sheriff, Hall said he was not home long when he decided to go to Accotink and try to get work at Camp Humphreys. Accordingly, about 1 o'clock, he took his wife and two little children to the farm of his father-in-law, James E. Taylor, about two miles from Burke. Leaving his wife at a creek near her father's home, Hall continued on his journey to Accotink.
Story of Eva's Sister.
Back at the little red farmhouse of the Roys the pitiful side of the tragedy was being related. Mrs. Carolyn Jerman, only sister of the murdered girl, told the following story:
"Eva started out with the cows early that morning, taking a package of lunch and a bottle of coffee. She was to come back at noon, and had intended taking her father's watch to tell the time, but she forgot the watch. When 1 o'clock came and Eva did not return I grew worried. But father had gone down to Burke Station for some feed, and it was late in the afternoon when he returned. I told him I was worried about Eva and he said he would go down and help her home with the cows. A neighbor came over and delayed him and it was about 5 o'clock when he left.
"When he bad not returned at 7 o'clock, I became alarmed and followed him. I had not gone far into the thick woods, when I heard the familiar jangling of the cowbells, and I breathed a sigh of relief. A few minutes later I heard father calling me, and I cried back:
" 'It's all right, father, I hear Eva coming now with the cows.' But he called back to me, 'No, child. I found the cows, but Eva was not with them.'".
Discovery of the Body.
Farmers in the vicinity organized searching parties and beat the woods all of Tuesday night. The first place the father, Peter Roy, went was to the Hall farm, but it was deserted. It was 8 o'clock Wednesday morning when one of the parties, led by Paul Marshall, found the body.
The body was in a sitting position against the trunk of a slender tree. Her belt was drawn so tightly around her throat that it could not be released until cut. Her clothes were half torn from her and black bruises on her hands and arms gave mute testimony of the straggle which she made to escape from her assailant.
The body was found behind thin underbrush on a slight elevation about fifteen feet from the path running through the woods. Trampled grass and broken twigs indicated that the child was chased around the tree and fought with all her strength before she was overpowered.
Beside the spring on the other side of the path the searchers found the bit of paper in which her lunch had been wrapped and the bottle she used for her coffee.
A bloodhound was brought to the scene from Occoquan. A blue working shirt and an ax were taken from Hall's home and brought to the scene, but the searching parties had traversed the surrounding ground so much that the hound was unable to follow the scent. A few hours later it was learned Hall had gone to Accotink, and the sheriff Immediately went for him.
Murmurings Against Hall.
By Wednesday afternoon murmurings against Hall were being heard in Burke, and Sheriff Allison took a round-about way in his automobile in getting the suspect to the Fairfax jail.
Eva Roy was an amiable and studious child, and was much liked and admired. She attended school in Burke and took a number of prizes for her school work at the county fair at Fairfax last year.
Her father is a Dane, and was a farmer in Redwood county, Minnesota, until five years ago, when he bought the farm at Burke. Eva's mother died in Minnesota.
"It is one of those things a man never gets over," was all the heartbroken father could say as he tried to divert his mind by working about his farm yesterday afternoon.