Transcribed from The Age, Melbourne, Australia, January 18, 1960, page 4:

Bombs Indicated in Two Air Disasters

NEW YORK, January 17.–F.B.I. agents investigating the New York-Miami airliner crash 11 days ago have reported mysterious circumstances surrounding the Mexican Gulf crash of another airliner operated by the same airline.

In the investigation of the January 6 crash of a National Airlines DC-6B, agents are inquiring into indications that a lawyer, Mr. Julian Frank, might have blown up the plane killing himself and 33 others so his widow could collect nearly 900,000 doll. (about £401,700) in insurance.

The other crash occurred last November 16. All 42 persons aboard a DC-7C died in a crash in the Gulf of Mexico on a flight from Miami to New Orleans.

Very little wreckage and only ten bodies were recovered.

A letter from the F.B.I. disclosed a “theory” yesterday that a long-time criminal listed as killed in the crash may have sent another man to die in his name so that his own wife would collect a large amount of insurance.

The disclosure brought up the possibility that the man, Dr. Robert Spears, a Dallas naturopath, who once allegedly offered to blow up a hospital for 500 doll. (£223) might have sabotaged the plane.


The F.B.I. letter was read at a Civil Aeronautics Board inquiry into the crash in Miami.

It identified Dr. Spears as a man with a criminal record going back to 1917.

The F.B.I. letter quoted the chief investigator, Mr. Julian Blodgett, as advancing the theory that “Dr. Spears might have had someone travel for him to collect a large insurance for the benefit of his young wife.”

In Miami, the F.B.I. refused to comment on the case.

But police have stated that the man Spears may have tricked into boarding the plane in his name could have been William Allen Taylor, missing since the night of the crash.

A salesman, Taylor was known to be an old acquaintance of Dr. Spears.

Nothing in the F.B.I. letter or in the testimony brought out at the Civil Aeronautics Board hearing referred directly to sabotage as the cause of the crash.

A C.A.B. investigator, who asked not to be named, described as “formidable” the amount for which Dr. Spears was insured.

The main wreckage of the DC-7C is under 700 feet of water and experts say it is unlikely the cause of the crash will ever be determined from debris study.

But National Airlines executives in Miami say they now “lean strongly” toward the theory that a bomb caused the crash.–A.A.P.