As reported in the Riverside Enterprise – Wednesday, August 19, 1936
Buried, Stained Clothing Believed Further Clue To Murder Mystery
Discovery of blood-stained clothing, some of it buried, and other articles hidden or showing evidences of attempts to burn them, was made yesterday afternoon by sheriff’s officers at the Temecula ranch where Mrs. John McNeill was fatally beaten Aug. 13.
According to Undersheriff Stephen Lynch, who with Deputy Sheriffs Boller, Walrath, Labrum and Pierce, conducted the new investigation at the ranch home, preliminary tests of the stains on the clothing showed them to be human blood. Pieces of the clothing have been sent to chemists for further tests.
The finding of the garments was believed by Undersheriff Lynch to tighten further the net of circumstantial evidence about McNeill, blacksmith, who was named in his wife’s dying statement as her assailant.
Although McNeill has stoutly denied all knowledge of the woman’s death, many conflicting statements have been made by him, the undersheriff stated.
Undersheriff Lynch said that two persons who fix the time of McNeill’s arrival at his home the day of the fatal beating considerably before the time he says he arrived there, have been located. Their names are being withheld pending further investigation of the case.
McNeill, former sailor whose past life is said clouded with secrecy during the 30 years he was married to the woman whose life he is suspected of having ended by blows from a washing machine wringer roller, has maintained his innocence in his cell at the county jail. He is held without bail pending completion of the investigation. Dist. Atty. Earl Redwine said filing of any charges in the case will wait the result of the investigation being pushed by the sheriffs officers.
McNeill claims he arrived hme an found his wife lying unconscious on the floor, the probable victim of fiendish attack by prowlers.
The new witnesses say, however, that he was in the house of a considerable perid before the time he represents his arrival.
Accused Her Husband
Mrs. McNeill, dying from blows about the head and a stab in the side from the point of the wringer roller, accused her husband of the attack in a statement to her 16-year-old son, John Jr., when he talked with her at the county hospital.
The county officers hope that a report from the Federal Department of Identification may throw some light on the early life of the blacksmith and former sailor. He kept to himself the details of his early life, even to the identify of his brothers and sisters, the investigators have learned.