Camden Courier-Post – March 25, 1930
One Is ‘Daughter,’ Others Say They’re Wives; Badge Mystery Unexplained
Who is the legal wife of Howard “Gimp” Thomas, under cover man for Camden police, whose death in an automobile upset early Saturday morning near Ellisburg is being investigated by county authorities?
Three women have attempted to claim the body but it still remained in the morgue of Coroner Melvin Cain last night.
A mystery woman in black appeared at the coroner’s office Sunday and attempted to claim it. She declared she was Thomas’ wife.
“The body has already been claimed by Miss Marie Olive Thomas, 18, Harrisburg, Pa., daughter of Thomas,” said Cain.
“Well he is my husband,” replied the woman.
“I’m not going to get into any controversy over the legal claimant of the body,” Cain told her. “You will have to settle that argument with Miss Thomas.”
Threatens to See Lawyers
The woman left in an angry mood and threatened to “see a lawyer.”
Mrs. Harold Thomas, 6534 Sixth Avenue, Philadelphia, told the Delaware township police yesterday she believes the dead man is her husband, who deserted her two years ago. She said she was coming to Camden to identify the body.
She said her husband’s name was, Harold and was of the opinion he had changed it to Howard. She said the description she received tallied with that of her husband.
Until late last night the woman had failed to visit Coroner Cain’s office. The newest mystery in connection with the case, however, has not yet eclipsed that impelling the question:
How did ‘Gimp’ Thomas come into possession of badge No. 188 of the Camden Police Department?
The badge, taken from Thomas’ pocket when his body was found has been the subject of numerous theories. The police, unable to arrive at a satisfactory explanation, it is understood, are continuing their efforts to learn under what auspices Thomas came into possession of the badge.
Captain Arthur Colsey admitted the man had done some work for the Camden police but not often. He has been unable to account for the badge’s having the same number as one issued James Hollis, Detective Captain John Golden‘s chauffeur.
Prosecutor Clifford A. Baldwin said he has asked the state police for a report on the death of Thomas and plans to check up reports that four men were with him instead of two on the fatal ride.
Harry McClain, 726 Kaighn Avenue, and William Hernisy, 1146 Liberty Street, who were with Thomas when he was killed, are in the county jail. Two other men, who were reported seated in the rear have escaped.
Hernisy was driving the car when Thomas was killed and is being held on a charge of manslaughter and larceny of the automobile. McClain is charged with being an accessory.
Both men claim Thomas met accidental death although McClain said the dead man was taking him “for a ride” and he “beat him to it.” The pair fled from the scene of the accident because they knew Thomas had stolen the car, they told police..