VOL. CIIIL ... NO. 21 17 July 1996


MURDER SUSPECTS ABOUND

By JONAS OLSON





Though his murder is more than two decades old, it seems as if most of those who knew Chief Virgil Dubois have extremely bitter memories of the accomplished academic. After lengthy interviews with friends and acquaintances of the victim, many from the Class of '73, The Misc. has discovered a surprising number of people who had motives to kill him.

These include a number of prominent Cliffton citizens including Mayor Charlotte Cliff, Nez Percé Chief Dennis Dubois (the victim's brother), Cliff College Security Chief Dick Francis, Cliff Soc/Anthro Department Chairman Dr. McGeorge Archibald, An Inn of One's Own owner Maud Francis, and even the Cliffton Police Detective in charge of the case, Det. Elizabeth Goswell.


Karen Leigh Archibald (c. 1972) was caught by her husband-to-be
in flagrante delicto with the victim-to-be.


In alphabetical order, the suspects and their motives are:

  • Cliff Soc/Anthro Chair Dr. McGeorge Archibald - Just before Christmas break in 1972, Dr. Archibald was working late in his office when he heard what he later described to our anonymous source as "animal-like noises" from Dr. Dubois's office next door. Dr. Archibald crept into the corridor and peeked through the keyhole of the office in question, only to see his fiancé, then-T.A. Karen Leigh (now his wife), performing, according to our source, "acrobatic feats of the flesh that would make Caligula blush." At the same time, Archibald and Virgil were engaged in a bitter Academic competition for the Chair of the department, which Virgil was awarded under what Archibald characterized as "an affront to academic honesty and virtue."

  • Cliffton Mayor Charlotte Cliff - It is no secret to the Cliff College class of '73 that Professor Dubois was the man who sexually initiated Charlotte Cliff in October, 1969. What is not so well known is that she was not the only woman Virgil visited in the Biblical sense that night As a result of that second tryst, young Ms. Cliff's heart was broken, and some say that is why she is still single to this day.

  • Nez Percé Chief Dennis Dubois - Chief Dubois was known to have had a longstanding feud with his brother Virgil over the Nez Percé claim that Cliff College was built on an ancient tribal burial ground. Even today, Professor Dubois's writings on the matter are cited by the College in its ongoing dispute with the tribe over land claims. In this light, it is all the more ironic that former-Chief Virgil Dubois's body was, in fact, found buried here, under his brother's former dormitory. Dennis was also known to have been enraged at his brother's apparent preference of Greek culture to that of their own Native American tribe. And finally, rumors ran rampant, at the time, about a dispute over a common lover.

  • Cliff College Security Chief Dick Francis - Ever the lothario, Virgil Dubois seduced Dick Francis's sister Maud in 1970 (see below) while the Security Chief-to-be was in Vietnam. Maud wrote her brother about the brief affair, and upon his return from the war, Dick Francis sought out Virgil Dubois and assaulted him. They were both arrested as a result, and Virgil required dental work.

  • Maud Francis - The owner and proprietor of Cliffton's premier B&B, An Inn of One Maud Francis was seduced by Virgil Dubois in her late teens. As with others of his conquests, her romantic expectations were disappointed. As a result of this experience, she was beaten and disowned by her father, and forced to move out of her family home. Though she never publicly blamed Virgil for her fate, it was widely suspected that she harbored considerable animosity toward him. An interesting sidelight to this story was that the Cliff College student who gave Maud a place to stay was her current life-companion, Detective Elizabeth Goswell.

  • Several sources have reported that Cliffton Police Detective Elizabeth Goswell was no friend of Virgil Dubois, though no one seems to know what mysterious event transpired between them to precipitate her intense dislike of the man.

Of all these suspects, and more presumably to come, Detective Goswell's history is especially unsettling because she is in charge of the investigation. But the bad blood that was said to have flown between her and the victim was not, apparently, sufficiently public to warrant her removal from the case, presumably because she is Cliffton's only homicide investigator. When asked about this conflict of interest, Cliffton Mayor Charlotte Cliff said, "We have no intention of removing Detective Goswell because of unfounded gossip. As far as I am concerned, she is not a suspect." But two different classmates of Detective Goswell's from the Cliff College Class of '73 told The Misc. off the record that they find it unsettling that the job of sifting through the list of suspects has fallen to a woman on the list.

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