The mother of one of suspected serial killer Felix Vail’s possible victims speaks out on this week’s episode of The Real Story With Maria Elena Salinas on Investigation Discovery.
Vail was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty in 2016 of murdering his first wife Mary Horton Vail in October 1962. Her body was found in Louisiana’s Calcasieu River.
He claimed the pair had been boating and he swerved to avoid a stump in the water when 22-year-old Mary fell out the boat and he couldn’t save her.
However, a jury unanimously found him guilty of killing her — after just 33 minutes of deliberation.
It’s believed he may also have killed at least two other women including Sharon Hensley, who was last seen in 1973, and Annette Vail (nee Craver), who vanished in 1984 — a year after she married the killer.
The Real Story With Maria Elena Salinas looks at the case from the viewpoint of Annette’s mother Mary Rose.
She tells how she was concerned when Annette shacked up with Vail, then 41, when she was just 15, after they met while she and her daughter had a yard sale.
But Mary Rose didn’t uncover Vail’s dark past until after Annette suddenly disappeared.
Asked by Maria Elena Salinas whether it ever occurred that Vail could pose a danger to her daughter when they first met, she says: “No. It did not occur to me, unfortunately.
“I’ve worked really hard to forgive myself for all the mistakes. In hindsight I would have done things a lot differently.”
The episode recreates Annette and Vail’s relationship, and looks at how he ended up being convicted after Mary Rose teamed up with Clarion-Ledger reporter Jerry Mitchell to look into Vail and his past.
Vail’s story has previously been looked at in depth on 20/20.
The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas airs Mondays at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.