Cold Case - Murder or Suicide in Gainesville?

3-3-04 - A 59 year old Cold Case in Gainesville was originally thought to be a suicide, but the strange circumstances surrounding the death of a young merchant have prompted new investigations.

Twenty-five-year-old Harold "Buddy" Vest was found hanged in his own business. But his feet were tied, and earlier that day he’d been seen laughing outside his cabinet shop with friends. Vest was just out of the military in those days after World War II, and had moved to Gainesville after he’d been stationed at Camp Howze in Brownwood, Texas.

Originally from Chicago, Buddy and his young wife, Ruth, and 18-month-old son, settled in Gainesville and started his business. But less than five months later, on June 28, 1946, he was found dead, hanging on a nail with a machine belt wrapped around his neck. His feet were tied, and a box was below his body. For years, his family has wondered why this man, with so much to live for, might have taken his own life.

Last year, Buddy's son hired a team of private investigators. In October, they put an ad in the Gainesville newspaper offering a $10,000 reward for anyone who had information about Buddy's mysterious death.

The lead investigator on the case is not ready to share his new leads yet, but says his team has uncovered information that may prove Vest did not kill himself, but was murdered.


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