Jerry Shed, 24, was broke and wandering the streets of Ardmore, Oklahoma, when police charged him with vagrancy.
When they searched his belongings and found a skull in his suitcase, he became front-page news.
Shed said he bought the skull for a dollar from a 12-year-old kid in Clovis. He said he was delivering it to his father, who operated a museum in Holdenville, Oklahoma, the Ardmore newspaper reported.
Police didn’t believe him, especially when they discovered Shed’s father owned a grocery store.
They asked him to repeat his story multiple times, even awakening him from sleep once at 2 a.m. to grill him again.
Shed told police he wasn’t married, then admitted he was married, the Clovis News-Journal reported.
Clovis authorities were contacted to help with the investigation.
They went to Shed’s home at 919 Axtell to check on his wife and children.
All were OK.
Finally, inspection of the skull showed it was held together by wire and had a number attached. While newspaper accounts were not clear about whether the skull was human, authorities learned it had been stolen from the office of a Clovis chiropractor.
The drama ended 50 years ago this week — on July 7, 1964 — when Shed received a suspended sentence and was released from police custody, about a month after the skull was discovered.
“Boy, if you want nationwide publicity, just put a fake skull in your suitcase and get caught,” he told a reporter.
From the Editor’s Desk was compiled by Clovis News Journal Editor David Stevens. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org