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1988 Annie Hearin 7-26-1988; Jackson
Topic Started: Jan 2 2009, 01:54 PM (5,107 Views)
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Annie Laurie Swaim Hearin
Missing Since: July 26, 1988 from Jackson, Mississippi
Classification: Endangered Missing
Age: 73 years old
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair. Annie Laurie's ears are pierced. Her maiden name is Swaim.
Medical Conditions: Annie Laurie was diagnosed with ileitis, an intestinal disorder. She was required to take medications to regulate her condition, which could be fatal if not treated.
November 30, 1990
Robert Hearin, 73, Mississippi Millionaire
Robert Hearin, a millionaire businessman whose wife was kidnapped from their home two years ago and was never found, died of a heart attack at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center on Wednesday after collapsing at his office. He was 73 years old.

Mr. Hearin was a major stockholder in Trustmark National Bank and chief executive and co-owner of Mississippi Valley Gas. His worth was estimated at more than $200 million.

On July 26, 1988, his wife, Annie Laurie Hearin, 72, was abducted from her home after a bridge party. A ransom note asked that $1 million be sent to 12 people who, the note said, had been wronged by Mr. Hearin in a business deal. The money was mailed.

Nineteen months later, in February 1990, a lawyer, Newton Alfred Winn, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for conspiring to kidnap Mrs. Hearin. He was one of the 12 for whom compensation was demanded in the note.

Mr. Hearin had been prominent for years in banking, oil and gas development, insurance and other businesses. He was formerly a part-owner of the New York Jets football team.

Survivors include a son, Robert Jr. of New Orleans, and a daugher, Laurie McRee of Jackson.

** New York Times
Edited by Ell, Jan 20 2018, 02:10 PM.
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AP (NYT) 478 words
Published: February 9, 1990

HATTIESBURG, Miss., Feb. 8 - LEAD: A Federal jury here has found a lawyer from Florida guilty of plotting the vengeful abduction of a Jackson multimillionaire's wife, who has not been seen since she disappeared from her home 19 months ago.
A Federal jury here has found a lawyer from Florida guilty of plotting the vengeful abduction of a Jackson multimillionaire's wife, who has not been seen since she disappeared from her home 19 months ago.

After hearing seven weeks of testimony, the jurors took only three and a half hours to reach their verdict Wednesday. They convicted the defendant, Newton Alfred Winn, 65 years old, on one count each of conspiracy to kidnap, extortion and perjury.

Judge Tom S. Lee set April 13 for the sentencing of Mr. Winn, who prosecutors said planned the kidnapping because he had lost tens of thousands of dollars and ultimately even his St. Petersburg law office as a result of a business dealing involving the victim's husband.

Blood and a Ransom Note

The case dates from July 26, 1988, when the 74-year-old woman, Annie Laurie Hearin, who needed regular medication for a severe digestive problem, disappeared from her home in Jackson after attending a bridge party there with friends.

Spattered blood was found on the front door of the house., Inside there was a ransom note demanding that Mrs. Hearin's husband, Robert, reimburse 12 people for losses they had suffered in dealings with School Pictures of Mississippi, one of several companies in which Mr. Hearin had substantial interests.

Among the 12 people for whom the note sought compensation was Mr. Winn, who had held a franchise from School Pictures of Mississippi and ultimately had gone heavily into the company's debt.

Two principal witnesses for the Government testified under grants of immunity. One was Don Ward, who once worked in a paralegal capacity for Mr. Winn and testified that he had lied to a grand jury in giving Mr. Winn an alibi for the day of Mrs. Hearin's disappearance. The other was Marilyn Taylor, who described herself as a onetime lover of the defendant's, and said that two weeks after the disappearance, she mailed from Atlanta a letter that prosecutors described as a second ransom note.

The verdicts on the conspiracy and two other counts were the first involving the abuction of Mrs. Hearin. No one has ever been charged with her actual kidnapping.

Appeal Called Likely

After the verdicts were read, the defense continued to assert that the Government had the wrong man. John Collette, one of Mr. Winn's lawyers, said an appeal was likely. He said that the defense had built a good case to challenge the conspiracy charge and that this case had been undermined by Judge Lee's instructions to the jury - instructions that, Mr. Collette said, were too vague as to what constituted conspiracy.

Mrs. Hearin's son, Robert Hearin Jr., said the family had been told that the authorities were still searching for her. ''The investigation into whatever happened to my mother is continuing,'' he said, ''and on that basis I am pleased with the result reached today.''

** New York Times
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AP (NYT) 440 words
Published: January 31, 1990

HATTIESBURG, Miss., Jan. 30 - LEAD: Opening arguments began today in a conspiracy case against a lawyer accused in the July 1988 disappearance of a Mississippi woman whose husband is one of the state's wealthiest citizens.
Opening arguments began today in a conspiracy case against a lawyer accused in the July 1988 disappearance of a Mississippi woman whose husband is one of the state's wealthiest citizens.

The lawyer had blamed the woman's husband for the loss of his property, the prosecutor, Patricia Bennett, said.

She said that a man resembling the defendant, Newton Alfred Winn of St. Petersburg, Fla., was seen in the neighborhood of the victim in a white van a week before the kidnapping.

Mr. Winn, 65 years old, has pleaded not guilty. He has said he was in St. Petersburg when Annie Laurie Hearin was abducted from her Jackson home on July 26, 1988. Mrs. Hearin, then 72, has not been found.

Ms. Bennett, an Assistant United States Attorney, said in her opening statement that the evidence would show that Mr. Winn was not seen by his family and friends in Florida from July 23 to 28, 1988.

Nearly $1 Million Paid

Mrs. Hearin's husband, Robert M. Hearin, is among Mississippi's wealthiest people, with investments in oil, gas and banking. His fortune is estimated at $100 million.

A ransom note found in the foyer of the Hearin home listed 12 people, including Mr. Winn, who had been involved in legal battles with School Pictures, Inc., a business in which Mr. Hearin had been an important stockholder. Mr. Hearin mailed checks totaling nearly $1 million to the 12 people named in the note. Mr. Winn and the other 11 people returned their checks. Mr. Winn's was for $145,000.

Ms. Bennett charged that Mr. Winn held Mr. Hearin responsible for a 1983 lawsuit filed by School Pictures against him. As a result, Mr. Winn's property was seized and sold in October 1986.

Mr. Winn is charged with conspiracy to kidnap, mailing a threatening letter and perjury. If convicted on all charges, the maximum sentence could be life in prison.

No one has been charged with the kidnapping itself.

Ed Marger, Mr. Winn's lawyer, said: ''There's another side to the story. In this case the evidence will explicitly show that the government cannot show that my client is guilty.''

Before the opening statements, Mr. Marger argued for the admission of tape recordings that he said contain evidence of misconduct by an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Robert Hearin Jr., the missing woman's son.

''They are sensational because they reflect a relationship between the Hearin family and the F.B.I. that is improper,'' Mr. Marger said.

Judge Tom Lee of Federal District Court here said he needed to research the law before ruling on the request. He returned the tapes to the defense, saying the wiretap law apparently does not apply.

** New York Times
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Husband Mails $1 Million as Ransom for Wife
Published: August 25, 1988

JACKSON, Miss., Aug. 24 - LEAD: Officials here were hopeful of a break in the month-old kidnapping of the wife of a millionaire businessman after he sent nearly $1 million to 12 people listed in a ransom note as having been wronged by him.
Officials here were hopeful of a break in the month-old kidnapping of the wife of a millionaire businessman after he sent nearly $1 million to 12 people listed in a ransom note as having been wronged by him.

But there has been no trace of the woman, Annie Laurie Hearin, since her husband, Robert M. Hearin, mailed out the checks on Aug. 16.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday that Mr. Hearin had disbursed the money after he received a letter in his wife's handwriting on Aug. 15 urging her husband to comply with demands of the kidnappers. Wayne Taylor, the agent in charge of the bureau office here, would not disclose where the letter to Mr. Hearin, postmarked Aug. 12, had been mailed.

''I have done everything possible to comply with the vague demands given me,'' Mr. Hearin said in a statement issued Tuesday. ''I know of nothing more that I can do. My children and I pray for the prompt release and safe return of my wife and their mother.''

Mrs. Hearin, 72 years old, was described as in frail health from the intestinal disorder ileitis, which requires medication to avoid life-threatening complications. The police and F.B.I. agents here have declined to confirm a report that her medication was missing from the Hearin home, where she was last seen July 26. Maid Saw Mrs. Hearin Last

The police found blood stains near the front door of the home, which was later identified as Mrs. Hearin's blood type. She had entertained several friends at a bridge luncheon on July 26 and was last seen by a maid who left the home around 3:30 P.M. Mr. Hearin returned home a little later that afternoon but did not become concerned until about 7:30 P.M.

Mr. Hearin later found a crudely typed note listing 12 names and demanding that he ''put these people back in shape they was in before they got mixed up with School Pictures.''

All the names in the note were people from outside Mississippi involved in lawsuits brought by School Pictures of Mississippi, a student photographic company that Mr. Hearin, 71 years old, owned until earlier this year.

The note had not mentioned any specific amounts of money, but told him to ''pay them whatever damages they want'' before 10 days had passed. It told him also not to call the police.

Many of the 12 names at the bottom of the letter were misspelled but they were later determined to be people who had been franchisees and involved in litigation with School Pictures.

Law officers declined to say if any of the 12 were suspects in the case.

It was learned today that N. Alfred Winn of St. Petersburg, Fla., a lawyers who received a check from Mr. Hearin, had returned the check. Mr. Winn, against whom School Pictures had obtained more than $200,000 in judgments in 1983, had formerly been a franchisee with School Pictures in Florida. Oklahoma Man Gets Check

Victor Hanneld, an Oklahoma businessman and another former licensee of School Pictures, also said he had received a check from Mr. Hearin and was undecided as to what he would do with it.

Court records show that School Pictures had demanded $72,000 from the Oklahoma City man over a franchise disagreement, but the lawsuit was dismissed in 1984. Mr. Hanneld said he had reached a settlement in the suit but he declined to give any details.

Hiram Johnson Stutts Jr. of Irmo, S.C., confirmed he had received a check for $17,800 in a letter from Mr. Hearin last Friday.

Mr. Hearin, whose wealth has been estimated at around $200 million, is president of the Mississippi Valley Gas Company, a natural gas distribution company based here, and has been prominent in banking, oil and gas development, insurance and other business interests for many years.

** New York Times
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June 25, 2006

Socialite's 1988 disappearance remains mystery

Ex-Florida lawyer released after serving16 years in prison on charges that did not include kidnapping

By Jimmie E. Gates

It's a mystery as baffling as the disappearance of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.

Annie Laurie Hearin, 72, the socialite wife of multimillionaire Robert M. Hearin, disappeared from their northeast Jackson home on July 26, 1988.

She has never been found. The only person charged in her disappearance was released from federal prison in April after serving 16 years for extortion, lying to a federal grand jury and conspiracy to kidnap Annie Laurie Hearin. Former Florida lawyer Newton Alfred Winn, now 84, however, was not charged with kidnapping.

Winn maintains his innocence, according to his son. His father is doing well, said Mark Alfred Winn, a St. Petersburg, Fla., attorney.

"My father believes a mistake was made and he was unfairly convicted and sentenced to prison, but he is prepared now to get on with his life," he said.

The Hearins' son, Robert Hearin Jr., said the family was informed of Newton Alfred Winn's release by the U.S. Probation and Parole Service.

"It wouldn't do any good to speculate whether he kidnapped her," said Robert Hearin Jr., a New Orleans attorney. "The evidence speaks for itself in the two-week trial."

Robert Hearin Jr. said he and his sister, Laurie McRee of Jackson, miss their mother very much. "But after 18 years, there is not a lot of hope she is coming back," he said.

A Hinds County Chancery judge declared their mother legally dead in August 1991. The year before, their father died of a heart attack at age 73, only months after Winn was convicted. Robert Hearin Sr. was estimated to be worth $200 million when he died.

Annie Laurie Hearin disappeared after she had played bridge with club members at her Woodland Hills home. When Robert Hearin Sr. arrived home about 4:30 p.m. that day, he thought she was out visiting friends. But by 7:30 p.m. he became worried and before 10 p.m. the police had been called. Police found drops of blood on the carpet and a smudge of blood on the front door.

A crudely written, typed note was found folded beside the door. The letter demanded Robert Hearin Sr. right alleged wrongs against 12 franchises of School Pictures of Mississippi Inc. At the time, Robert Hearin was the company's largest stockholder and was board chairman.

Police, however, kept the kidnapping from the media until two days later when then-Jackson Mayor Dale Danks Jr. publicly announced it.

The FBI revealed on Aug. 3, 1988, that it was looking for Newton Alfred Winn for questioning in the kidnapping. On March 11, 1989, Winn's arrest was announced.

Jackson attorney John Colette, one of the attorneys who represented Winn during Winn's 1990 trial in Hattiesburg, said Winn maintained he was innocent from the beginning and never changed.

"A jury said he was responsible (for Hearin's disappearance), but a big piece of the puzzle is missing. ... There are more unanswered questions than answers," Colette said.

Winn, in seeking to overturn his conviction in 1996, cited that the mystery of Annie Laurie Hearin supported his appeal.

''Whatever happened to Annie Laurie Hearin is not known," he said then.

Mississippi College law professor Patricia Bennett, one of the federal prosecutors then, said the Winn case was largely circumstantial, but the evidence tied him to the case.

"There were physical evidence, a witness identified his van as being in the neighborhood, and there was a cooperating witness who testified she mailed a letter for him (Winn)," Bennett said.

The elder Winn didn't testify at trial. His defense team argued he was framed.

During the trial, a construction foreman from Clinton identified Winn as the man he saw near the posh Jackson neighborhood one day before Annie Laurie Hearin was kidnapped. Also, a Florida woman testified Winn paid her $500 to fly to Atlanta and mail a letter Aug. 11, 1988.

Four days later, Robert Hearin Sr. received a ransom letter with an Atlanta postmark in his wife's handwriting with the words "please save me."

He mailed nearly $1 million to the franchisees, including Winn, who returned his check.

Some say Newton Alfred Winn was a prime suspect because when his School Pictures franchise failed, a federal judge in 1984 ordered him to pay the business $153,000. When Winn failed to pay, School Pictures took legal steps to seize his personal property, including the building that served as his home and office.

Danks, who was one of the first people to arrive at the Hearins' home after family members the night of the kidnapping, said he always thinks about the case.

"It was a trying time for the city, Mr. Hearin and his family," Danks said.

** New York Times
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No One Home
$1 million later, a wealthy kidnap victim is still missing
SUBSCRIBE TO TIMEPRINTE-MAILMORE BY AUTHORRelated Blogs: Click here for blog postings from around the web that are related to the topic of this article.

Posted Monday, Sep. 5, 1988
Although he is one of Mississippi's leading businessmen and wealthiest citizens, Robert Hearin has moved quietly through his 71 years. The reclusive executive has amassed a fortune worth $200 million in oil and gas development as well as banking and insurance. To neighbors in the elegant Jackson suburb of Woodland Hills, "Big Bob" and his wife Annie were distant figures. But five weeks ago, Annie Hearin, 72, disappeared, the victim of a bizarre revenge.

The tale begins on July 26, when Annie Hearin gave a brunch at home for her bridge club. Sometime between 3 p.m., when the maid left, and 4:30 p.m., when Robert returned home, Annie vanished. Police later discovered blood on the front door and an unusual ransom note near by.

The crude, ungrammatical, typewritten letter listed twelve people allegedly wronged by School Pictures, Inc., a minor holding in Hearin's diversified empire. The company develops and prints class photos, employing contractors to handle payments between the photographers and the main office.

The note demanded that Hearin "put these people back in the shape they was in before they got mixed up with" School Pictures. Although no amounts were specified, the twelve named in the letter are former franchisees who were sued by Hearin for nonpayment of bills. "Like any businessman, I have made decisions which may appear to others as unfeeling, but those appearances are not true," Hearin said at a press conference. "Moreover, those decisions were mine, not my wife's, and she had nothing to do with them."

More than two weeks passed without further word. Then on Aug. 15 Hearin received a handwritten letter with an Atlanta postmark. In it Annie implored her husband to pay the ransom. Hearin wrote twelve checks for a total of $1 million, equal to the amount of the court judgments against those named on the list.

Despite the ransom payment, there has been no further word from Annie. The FBI continues to be baffled by the case. And the quiet millionaire continues his agonizing vigil.

From the Sep. 5, 1988 issue of TIME magazine

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History of MMA

Home is where the Art is.

As Mississippi's largest art museum, the Mississippi Museum of Art is home to some very extraordinary works of art. And it's not simply the best in local and regional art that we have on display. Every year, some of the best exhibitions in the nation come to Jackson.

In 2003, the Mississippi Museum of Art marked its 100th anniversary as the state’s repository and exhibitor of local, regional, national, and international art. Not unlike other Mississippi arts organizations, the Museum had humble beginnings. The organization’s seed was the Art Study Club founded in 1903 in Jackson by Miss Bessie Cary Lemly, an artist and art professor at then all-female Belhaven College. Twice a month, Miss Lemly invited some “town ladies” to join her and her students to enjoy tea and discuss art. In 1911, the Mississippi State Fair commissioners contacted Miss Lemly and the Art Study Club members to ask that they furnish an exhibition of paintings by local artists for display at that year’s State Fair. That request sparked the idea for an organization that could regularly exhibit artwork for public viewing. Thus, the Mississippi Art Association was created in October of 1911 at the State Fair, and its first meeting was held in a buggy tent to avoid the noise and confusion of the Fair crowd! Fast forward sixty-seven years to 1978. The current facility opened its doors in April of that year, along with a name change to the Mississippi Museum of Art, Inc.

From an initial collection of only several hundred works, the Museum’s Permanent Collection has grown to nearly 3,800 pieces with an emphasis on mid-nineteenth and twentieth-century American art. Its holdings of American art include paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photographs by such notables as Albert Bierstadt, Arthur B. Davies, Robert Henri, George Inness, Georgia O’Keeffe, Thomas Sully, and J. A. M. Whistler. Photographs and works on paper include works by Thomas Hart Benton, Alexander Calder, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Andy Warhol, and Eudora Welty. Works by Richmond Barthé, John DeAndrea, Malvina Hoffman, and Paul Manship highlight a growing collection of sculpture. Native American baskets and more than 170 Southeast folk art objects, including works by Annie Dennis, Howard Finster, Earl Simmons, Jimmie Lee Sudduth, and Mose Tolliver, are important parts of the Museum’s collection.

The Museum’s Mississippi Collection includes a comprehensive selection of works by Mississippians, including late-nineteenth century painter G. Ruger Donoho, photographer/writer Eudora Welty, and folk artists Theora Hamblett and Sultan Rogers. The Museum also collects contemporary works by Mississippi natives such as William Dunlap, Sam Gilliam, Randy Hayes, and Valerie Jaudon. And, the Museum holds several large collections of works by Mississippians including Walter Anderson, William Hollingsworth, and Mary Katharine Loyacono McCravey.

Important aspects of art history are represented with works on paper by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, and Claude Renoir.

With a mission “. . . to engage Mississippians in the visual arts,” the Mississippi Museum of Art offers year-round educational programs, often collaborating with other arts organizations, public and private schools, and community groups. Each year, the Museum hosts The Scholastic Art Awards Mississippi Regional Competition in which middle, junior, and senior high schools from around the state participate. For the adults, “Unburied Treasures” is a monthly program that features art, music, and literature. “Jazz, Art & Friends” is another popular program that combines the visual arts with the performing.

Because exhibition space is limited, works from the Museum’s Permanent Collection are rotated throughout the year in the Permanent Collection Gallery. The Mississippi Museum of Art Affiliate Network also helps to showcase the Museums’ holdings. Statewide affiliates are qualified sites that host exhibitions curated at the Jackson facility and transported to the various intra-state venues.

In 1992, the Mississippi Museum of Art initiated The Annie Laurie Swaim Hearin Memorial Exhibition Series which showcases world-class art on a biannual basis. In 2004, Paris Moderne: Art Deco Works from the Musée de la Ville de Paris drew one of the largest crowds ever to the Museum. There have been others of equal importance and popularity: Dutch & Flemish: 17th Century Paintings from the Harold Samuel Collection; Degas: The Many Dimensions of a Master French Impressionist; and The American West: Out of Myth, into Reality, to name a few.

Over a span of 100+ years, the Mississippi Museum of Art has emerged from a parlor room tea party to an outstanding regional art museum. Come see for yourself today. If it's great art you're looking for, you are sure to find it here.

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
Friday will be the 25th anniversary of the disappearance of Annie Laurie Hearin and Daphne Tullos.

No connection has ever been made between the two cases except they both disappeared on the same day in Jackson.

Annie Laurie Hearin disappeared from her Woodland Hills house without a trace July 26, 1988.

Seven-year-old Daphne Tullos disappeared from her northwest Jackson home and no trace of her has ever been found either. The National Center for Missing Children has used age progression photo technology to show how she would look now.

Annie Laurie Hearin's husband, Bob Hearin, was one of the richest men in Mississippi at the time of her disappearance, and sent out more than a million dollars to people he thought might know where his wife was. Much of the money was returned with no luck.

A 65-year-old Florida man, Newton Alfred Winn, was convicted of conspiracy to kidnap in the case. He was represented by court appointed attorney John Collette.

"Newton Alfred Winn told me he didn't do it, and I accept that," said Collette.

Collette believes the FBI did a good job looking for Hearin.

"Search Florida, search Louisiana and the Jackson-Fondren area and very little of evidentially value was discovered," add Collette.

Former Jackson Police Chief Jim Black doubts the case will ever be solved unless there is a confession.
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