Earl Conover

Cincinnati Enquirer, February 25, 1949:

Cincinnati Post, February 25, 1949, photo of reward poster was included:

Missing Businessman's
Auto May Solve Mystery


Norwood police said Friday that their "last hope" of finding Earl Conover, missing businessman, may depend on a 1947 maroon four-door sedan.

Mr. Conover was driving this auto--a Studebaker bearing Ohio License 27-EC--when he dropped from sight at 1:30 a. m. on Feb. 9.

Detective Lee Kiley of Norwood said he believes Mr. Conover was killed when he resisted bandits. He believes the body has been sunk in a lake or buried where it may never be found.

Circulars describing Mr. Conover and the auto have been distributed throughout the nation. The Tri-State Offset Co., of 817 Main street, where he was a partner, has posted $1000 reward.

The last persons known to have seen him said Mr. Conover waved them a cheery "good night" and called "See you in the morning." This happened at the Mardi Gras cafe, 6118 Hamilton avenue, where Mr. Conover, Buford Payne, of Greenhills, and Russell Smith, of 3616 Herbert avenue, had stopped after attending a lithographing club meeting.

Mr. Payne is production supervisor and Mr. Smith is a pressman at the Tri-State firm. "We miss Earl's big smile," Mr. Payne said.

Authorities discount possibility that Mr. Conover disappeared voluntarily. He had little money with him, no extra clothes, and the bill of sale for the auto was at his home, 2600 Marsh avenue, Norwood. His wife, Mrs. Ruth Conover, clings to the hope he is an amnesia victim.


Cincinnati Enquirer, March 30, 1949:

The red automobile of Earl E. Conover, 34-year-old Norwood businessman, missing since February 9, was picked up by the Ohio State Patrol on Sixth Street near State Street in Columbus at 7 p. m. yesterday, Police Chief Charles Fritz of Norwood reported.

No trace of Conover, who was using the car the night of his disappearance, was found. But Norwood police said they regarded this discovery of the car as a "break" that would lead to an early solution of the mystery. Detective Lee Kiley, who has held to a theory of violence, and Detective Clifford Wolf were on their way to Columbus last night to retrieve the car.

Found covered with a heavy layer of city dust, the car evidently had been parked in the same sport for over a month. It was reported to patrol officers by John Gibbons, 311 E. State St, Columbus, an elevator operator at St. Francis Hospital.

Gibbons said he had seen the car parked on Sixth Street beside the hospital "since some time in February." Deciding to "do something about it," Gibbons said he had notified the patrol, instead of the police, because he was friendly with one of the patrol officers.

The car was taken to a lot at patrol headquarters for an intensive investigation. Preliminary examination showed it still bore itís original red coat of paint and bore Conoverís license number 27-EC.

Conoverís key was found in the ignition. His driverís license was found in the key case. A repair bill, dated February 3, from Andy Schain, Inc., 318 E. Eight St., Cincinnati, was found lying on the front seat of the car. The mileage listed on the bill showed that the car had been driven only 301 miles after it was repaired. Patrol officers said they assumed that Conover had driven the car at least 100 miles before he disappeared. Distance from Cincinnati to Columbus would account for another 100 miles.

A fingerprint expert went over the car thoroughly. A report on this phase of the investigation was to be given later.

Conover, a partner in the Tri-State Offset Co., Cincinnati, lived with his wife, Mrs. Ruth Conover, and his two daughters, 1 1/2 and 9, at 2600 Marsh Ave., Norwood.

He was in the company of his partner, Buford Payne, Greenhills, and an employee of the concern, Russell Smith, when he was last seen leaving the Mardi Gras Cafe, College Hill, at 1:30 a. m., February 9.

Conoverís associates said they were with him when he attended a meeting of the Cincinnati Lithographing Club at the Hotel Gibson earlier in the evening. Later they went to the cafe where they passed several hours.

The three men left the cafe together. Payne and Smith got into their cars and drove off. They said Conover told them he was "heading for home" when he got into his car, which was parked behind theirs.

Detective Kiley, who has been investigating Conoverís disappearance, said on a number of occasions that he believed the Norwood businessman was held up and slain. The detective reasoned that an amnesia theory to account for Conoverís disappearance was discredited by his long absence. He added that the possibility of a voluntary disappearance was belied by the fact that Conover had not withdrawn any money from his bank.


Cincinnati Times-Star, July 2, 1949:

Furniture vans pulled away from 2600 Marsh Avenue, Norwood, late Friday, hauling with it furniture and personal belongings of Mrs. Ruth Conover, closing the home that she and her husband, Earl, 35, missing executive of the Tri-State Offset Co., 817 Main Street, had made, but not blasting her hope the he eventually will return to her and their children.

Mrs. Conover, weakened by months of worry since her husband disappeared Feb. 9, went to the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Purdy, 10170 Jackson Road, Park Hills, KY., late Friday, to await the birth of her third child expected soon.

When Conover disappeared he left two daughters, 9, and 18 months.

Mrs. Edgar Conover, 1950 Hopkins Avenue, Norwood, is storing the household goods of her son and daughter-in-law in her home. Her residence was cluttered with furniture, boxes, and barrels when she was interviewed late Friday.

"That was a happy home," Mrs. Conover Sr. stated, "Earl was so much in love with his wife and two daughters and I know he expected the third child with much joy. Earl didnít leave of his own accord. His home life was ideal.

Girl Questioned

"Why, police have questioned a girl about his disappearance," the mother went on. "Ruth, my daughter-in-law, knew about this girl. She lived in Oakley and Ruth knew he hauled her back and forth from work and thought nothing of it. Earl loved her too much to care for another."

Norwood Detective Cliff Wolf and Lee Kiley said they questioned the girl and her mother. The girl was employed by the Tri-State Offset Co. for nearly three years. She seemed disturbed, Conoverís mother says, but no more so than other workers at the Cincinnati plant.

Meanwhile, police learned that the girl left her employment of the firm in May and reportedly went to El Paso, Tex., to live with a sister on a ranch. The Tri-State Co, received a letter from her, mailed in St. Louis, stating the she was not returning and not to hold her position open.

The mother of the girl, who resides in Oakley, said she never saw Conover and denied that he brought her daughter home nightly. Neither he nor his automobile were ever seen by her or the neighbors in the vicinity of the Oakley home, the mother said.

"I was in Texas with my married daughter for a long time, and my daughter worked and kept house for her brothers," the mother said. "When I returned, my sons told her to go to Texas to rest up. She did, and is remaining because my older daughter is building a new home on the ranch and needs help."


It was disclosed Saturday that the Tri-State Co. had withdrawn its offer of $900 for information concerning Conoverís whereabouts. The firm originally offered $1,000, but paid out $100 to a Columbus (O.) man who found Conoverís missing automobile. The automobile, a new model, was not driven five miles beyond the distance from Cincinnati to Columbus, officials say. Fellow workers verified this by knowing the mileage Conover had on the car.

Norwood police say the former girl worker admitted riding home with Conover once. His family said he conveyed her nearly every day. She was a stenographer and, police say, once was engaged to a fire captain or fire lieutenant in the Cincinnati department. The cause of the broken engagement was never learned.

Conover, the night before he disappeared, attended a banquet of the Cincinnati Litho Club at the Hotel Gibson. From the banquet he, a partner, Buford Payne, Greenhills, and an employee of the firm, Russell Smith, Cheviot, went to the Mardi Gras Cafe, 6118 Hamilton Avenue, College Hill. The three left the cafe at 1:30 a. m., Feb. 9. Conover said he was going home. Detectives say they traced him back to his office on Main Street, and lost all trace of him.


The firm reported that Conoverís financial connections was in no way involved and members said they were as mystified as others over his absence. He was believed to have had but a small sum of money on him. His joint banking account with his wife was not disturbed, and has not been since his disappearance.

Recently the Tri-State Co. advertised his absence in the Billboard, national amusement world magazine. In the advertisement it was stated that he might seek employment ina band. Conover played several instruments while a member of the Norwood High School Band.

It has been suggested that Conover might be a victim of amnesia but his family discounts this, although members disclosed that he had been seriously injured as a youth in an automobile accident.

Among his injuries were four fractures of his vertebra.

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