The missing School Book Depository employee and the suspect who had been apprehended in the Texas Theatre were one and the same — Lee Harvey Oswald.
President Kennedy’s Assassination, featuring a series of excerpts selected from The Warren Commission Report by Chief Justice Earl Warren, Senators Richard Russell and John Sherman, future President Gerald Ford, Representative Hale Boggs, former CIA Director Allen Dulles, former President of the World Bank John McCoy published in 1964.
Previously in President Kennedy’s Assassination. Now we continue.
Time: November 23, 1963
Place: Dallas, Texas
The rifle was not touched until it could be photographed. When Lt. J. C. Day of the police identification bureau decided that the wooden stock and the metal knob at the end of the bolt contained no prints, he held the rifle by the stock while Captain Fritz ejected a live shell by operating the bolt. Lieutenant Day promptly noted that stamped on the rifle itself was the serial number “C2766” as well as the markings “1940” “MADE ITALY” and “CAL. 6.5.” The rifle was about 40 inches long and when disassembled it could fit into a handmade paper sack which after the assassination, was found in the southeast corner of the building within a few feet of the cartridge cases.
As Fritz and Day were completing their examination of this rifle on the sixth floor, Roy Truly, the building superintendent, approached with information which he felt should be brought to the attention of the police. Earlier, while the police were questioning the employees, Truly had observed that Lee Harvey Oswald, 1 of the 15 men who worked in the warehouse, was missing. After Truly provided Oswald’s name, address, and general description, Fritz left for police headquarters. He arrived at headquarters shortly after 2 p.m. and asked two detectives to pick up the employee who was missing from the Texas School Book Depository. Standing nearby were the police officers who had just arrived with the man arrested in the Texas Theatre. When Fritz mentioned the name of the missing employee, he learned that the man was already in the interrogation room. The missing School Book Depository employee and the suspect who had been apprehended in the Texas Theatre were one and the same — Lee Harvey Oswald.
The suspect Fritz was about to question in connection with the assassination of the President and the murder of a policeman was born in New Orleans on October 18, 1939, 2 months after the death of his father. His mother, Marguerite Claverie Oswald, had two older children. One, John Pic, was a half-brother to Lee from an earlier marriage which had ended in divorce. The other was Robert Oswald, a full brother to Lee and 5 years older. When Lee Oswald was 3, Mrs. Oswald placed him in an orphanage where his brother and half-brother were already living, primarily because she had to work.
In January 1944, when Lee was 4, he was taken out of the orphanage, and shortly thereafter his mother moved with him to Dallas, Tex., where the older boys joined them at the end of the school year. In May of 1945 Marguerite Oswald married her third husband, Edwin A. Ekdahl. While the two older boys attended a military boarding school, Lee lived at home and developed a warm attachment to Ekdahl, occasionally accompanying his mother and stepfather on business trips around the country. Lee started school in Benbrook, Tex., but in the fall of 1946, after a separation from Ekdahl, Marguerite Oswald reentered Lee in the first grade in Covington, La. In January 1947, while Lee was still in the first grade, the family moved to Fort Worth, Tex., as the result of an attempted reconciliation between Ekdahl and Lee’s mother. A year and a half later, before Lee was 9, his mother was divorced from her third husband as the result of a divorce action instituted by Ekdahl. Lee’s school record during the next 5 and a half years in Fort Worth was average, although generally it grew poorer each year. The comments of teachers and others who knew him at that time do not reveal any unusual personality traits or characteristics.
Another change for Lee Oswald occurred in August 1952, a few months after he completed the sixth grade. Marguerite Oswald and her 12-year-old son moved to New York City where Marguerite’s oldest son, John Pic, was stationed with the Coast Guard. The ensuing year and one-half in New York was marked by Lee’s refusals to attend school and by emotional and psychological problems of a seemingly serious nature. Because he had become a chronic school truant, Lee underwent psychiatric study at Youth House, an institution in New York for juveniles who have had truancy problems or difficulties with the law, and who appear to require psychiatric observation, or other types of guidance. The social worker assigned to his case described him as “seriously detached” and “withdrawn” and noted “a rather pleasant, appealing quality about this emotionally starved, affectionless youngster.” Lee expressed the feeling to the social worker that his mother did not care for him and regarded him as a burden. He experienced fantasies about being all powerful and hurting people, but during his stay at Youth House he was apparently not a behavior problem. He appeared withdrawn and evasive, a boy who preferred to spend his time alone, reading and watching television. His tests indicated that he was above average in intelligence for his age group. The chief psychiatrist of Youth House diagnosed Lee’s problem as a “personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive-aggressive tendencies.” He concluded that the boy was “an emotionally, quite disturbed youngster” and recommended psychiatric treatment.
In May 1953, after having been at Youth House for 3 weeks, Lee Oswald returned to school where his attendance and grades temporarily improved. By the following fall, however, the probation officer reported that virtually every teacher complained about the boy’s behavior. His mother insisted that he did not need psychiatric assistance. Although there was apparently some improvement in Lee’s behavior during the next few months, the court recommended further treatment. In January 1954, while Lee’s case was still pending, Marguerite and Lee left for New Orleans, the city of Lee’s birth.
Upon his return to New Orleans, Lee maintained mediocre grades but had no obvious behavior problems. Neighbors and others who knew him outside of school remembered him as a quiet, solitary and introverted boy who read a great deal and whose vocabulary made him quite articulate.