Detroit Free Press / Newspaper Articles

The Detroit Free Press: 7/15/29

Letter Leads Police To Ax Slaying Clue

Find Lansing Man Referred to In Note; He tells of Threat by ‘Healer’s’ Patient

A person who sought out Benny Evangelist for treatment of physical or spiritual ailments later may have wielded the ax that slew the “mystic prophet and faith healer” and his wife and four children two weeks ago, it was disclosed yesterday when detectives when to Lansing to question a tailor in response to an anonymous note.

George Pricco, 38 years old, a tailor at the Vocational School for Boys, interviewed at Lansing by Detective William Johnson of the homicide squad and Sergeant Max Waldfogel of the Italian squad, said Evangelist had feared death from some person who had come to him as a patient. He was told this, Pricco said, by a Detroit woman who received treatment from Evangelist.

Denied Knowing Healer

Pricco denied knowing Evangelist and said he had not been in Detroit since February. Until a year ago he lived in Gogebic county. He said his only knowledge of the ax slaying came from the newspapers and the Detroit woman, whose name was given to detectives.

The detectives went to Lansing after a special delivery letter, unsigned, informed them that Pricco could give information that might have an important bearing on the case. Efforts to locate the writer of the note and learn his motive for sending it were unavailing. Pricco said he could suggest no one would might have sent the letter.

The letter was mailed in Lansing at 8:30 p. m. Saturday. It arrived in Detroit at 9 a. m. and was delivered to Sheriff Ira Wilson by messenger shortly before noon. He immediately turned it over to the homicide squad.

It arrived at a time when the investigation into the slaying was virtually at a standstill for lack of further clues. The family was killed with an ax the night of July 3. No arrests have been made.

Text of Letter

The text of the letter follows:

“Mr. Ira Wilson-Sheriff of Weine Co.-Detroit Mich-Sir just few line to introduce you a name of a good man of which I believe he will lead the road to discover the brutal slaughter of Evangelistas if you onley give him the power to act the investigation-This man live at 1485 E. Grand River-His name is Privcko George-Lansing.”

Although posted Saturday night, the letter was dated July 6, three days after the slayings.

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