All William Edward Hickman needed to pick up 12 year old Marion Parker early from Mount Vernon Junior High School one day in December of 1927 was a pleasant personality and a friendly smile. Hickman was not the girl’s father, he was not a relative, he was not a friend of the family...he was a stranger, but he came armed with a fictitious name, Mr. Cooper, and a persuasive story - he told the office secretary, a woman named Naomi Britten, that he was there to pick Marion up because her father had just been in a horrific car accident. He’d been rushed to the hospital and they weren’t sure yet if he was going to pull through. Ms. Britten stood up and walked over to speak to this man. She noted that he was very nicely dressed, he was very polite and well-spoken, though she was pretty worried and concerned for Marion’s dad and whether or not he was going to pull through...she was very preoccupied with that terrible news. She tried to locate the school’s principal, Cora Freeman, but Ms. Britten was kind of frazzled and had a hard time locating any of the school administrators who would be the ones to decide whether or not Marion Parker was to be released from school to this man. Eventually, Ms. Britten found a teacher named Mary Holt, so Ms. Holt came to the office to discuss this matter with this man who called himself Mr. Cooper. He explained to Ms. Holt and Ms. Britten that he was a colleague of Marion’s father over at First National Bank and he offered up the bank’s phone number if they wanted to verify the purpose of his visit to the school and his instructions to pick Marion up. The man was so easy going and relaxed that they two women really didn’t give it a second thought and had Marion brought into the office from class. The man brought himself down to Marion’s level and explained who he was and why he was there. He reassured her that everything was going to be okay and he would take her to see her dad right away. The man walked out of the office and off school grounds with Marion in tow.
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Not Just Evil By David Wilson