Thursday, February 18, 2010

Does the Mayor's Killer Still Walk Among Us?

Dead Bay...did anyone call the small Northwest Franklin County town Dead Bay before former Mayor L. N. Flippo and his wife Ruth were brutally murdered early that Saturday morning July 11, 1981? The blast that shook Red Bay, Alabama, at approximately 3:00 a.m changed the community forever. No one has ever been held responsible for the slayings, and after 28 years, no one may ever be.

When first awakened by the blast, neighbors assumed a natural gas line had exploded. Investigators who appeared within minutes of the blast quickly ruled out that possibility. Some were quick to mention plastic explosives since no fire was present--a ball of the highly combustible material could easily have been tossed through the picture window of the Flippo home. Others had a more practical idea.

Large amounts of explosives had been stolen from a Colbert County construction site the month before, never to be accounted for. A loose grate under the Flippos' bedroom and pieces of a shovel handle found nearby indicated to investigators that explosive material had been shoveled under the couple's bedroom and then ignited. Did the Flippos have enemies close enough to know in which bedroom they slept, or was it all a horrible coincidence? Redbay Police, Franklin County officials, and the ABI all chose to issue a gag order on any outgoing information, yet citizens of the small town were bound to talk among themselves.

Who or what had made the Flippo family the target of a lethal bombing? Whoever he was (and most bombers are male), he's never been caught.

Tomorrow: The Flippo family.