1947 Beckley, W.V. Lover’s Lane Cold Case

Discussion of crimes & cases NOT RELATED to the Zodiac Killer

1947 Beckley, W.V. Lover’s Lane Cold Case

Postby Soze » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:28 pm

This case, despite the length of time, is still an open investigation.

On November 5th 1947, two men were traveling along what was locally known as Penman Rd., when they happened upon the site of something at the bottom of an embankment. The two men, O.G. Goodson and Raymond Goodson, stopped to see what it was and then immediately high tailed it to the local police station. What they had found were the bodies of a man named E. Ray Bailey (50) and a woman named Nellie May Rand (39).
E. Ray Bailey was a married man with two children who lived at 106 Johnstown Street in Beckley, West Virginia. He was a WW1 Vet and manager of the local hardware store called Beckley Hardware that was started by a relative of his, presuming his father, in 1907. Mr. Bailey had dinner with his wife at 5:30 pm on the night of his murder, cleaned up and shaved, before heading towards his office at the Beckley Hardware. He was last seen at a filling station getting gas at 7 pm.

Mrs. Rand was a housewife and lived at 1532 Harper Road in Beckley, West Virginia. She was the wife of a local prominent dentist named Kenneth K. Rand. The two had been married in 1929; he was 35 and she was 21. The pair had two children during their marriage; Carolyn and Kyra. On the day that she was killed she was seen at the local beauty parlor by Mrs. Bailey getting her hair done. Mrs. Bailey was doing the same. At about 4 pm she was in the doorway of her husband’s office having an unknown discussion. This was the last time that Mr. Rand states that he saw his wife. Mr. Rand did speak with his wife by phone at about 6 pm letting her know that he would attend a Lion’s Club meeting from 6 to 8 pm and would either go to a show or home afterwards. At the time of this call Mrs. Rand was getting ready to attend an 8 pm shower/party at her husband’s receptionist’s home on Anne Street. According to their two children Mrs. Rand left the home with a gift at about 7 pm.

Mrs. Bailey was a housewife. I know nothing other than that.

Mr. Rand was a prominent local dentist. He was a graduate of Ravenswood High School, Ohio College of Dental Surgery and a 1927 graduate of the University of Louisville Dental College. He practiced dentistry in Coalwood and Coretta in McDowell County at first but moved his dental practice to Beckley in 1932. He retired in 1968. He had served in the Navy during the Korean War and left service at the rank of captain. He was also a member and ordained deacon of First Baptist Church of Beckley, member of the Baraca Sunday School Class, active member of the Gideon Bible Program and was one of the founders of the Flat Top Lake Association. He was also a member of Black Knight Country Club, Elks and Moose lodge, Lions Club and New River Dental Society.
When officers arrived at the scene of where the bodies of Bailey and Rand were found, Mrs. Rand’s shoes and panties, were at the top of the embankment. Officer’s searched around for footprints but found nothing due to rain. They were able to spot where a vehicle had pulled to the location, then went up about 30 feet and, turned around heading back in the direction they first came. It would appear that Mr. Bailey went over the embankment first and was found lying face down at the bottom of a 20 foot embankment. Mrs. Rand was the last to go down, also landing face down, across the legs of Mr. Bailey. Both had been shot in the head at another location and dumped at this location.

The location of where the bodies had been found was stated in the press as “Penman Road”. There is no such road that I can find. The body location was about 500 feet from what was known as the Penman mine. It is my belief that “Penman Road” was just a name that the locals used to refer to the road that led to the Penman mine. It took quite a bit of digging to locate where this mine was as this mine was long gone by the time the crime occurred. But I was able to find a map showing that the mine was due west of a town called Stanaford which was due north of the town of Beckley about 8 or 9 miles. I can’t list an image of the mine location at present but will list it in the coming days.

One of the officers that had went to the body location had found an interesting site of his own two hours prior to the Goodson’s finding theirs. He was on route to a town called Cool Ridge to serve a warrant. Cool Ridge is about 9 miles south east of Beckley, West Virginia along highway/state road 3. On his route towards Cool Ridge he noticed a car parked at the old Raleigh Baseball field on the north side. When he returned back through the car was still there. He decided to stop and check the car out. When he arrived he found the car to be a 1941 Buick with its windows rolled partly down, the keys in the ignition and the ignition turned on. In the back window were a woman’s purse and a man’s hat. On the seat were a woman’s coat and a man’s top coat. The coats, the seat and the floorboards were saturated in blood. He noticed three bullet holes through the back of the seat. He took a handkerchief and rolled the windows up. He then took the keys and locked the door to protect all evidence. He walked around the area looking for footprints but could only find the faintest of prints due to the rain. He was able to follow the foot prints into a brushy area that led to the north edge of the park about 250 feet down an embankment to a main road.

Nothing is mentioned about the locality of the Raleigh baseball field other than the officer spotting the car at this location along his route to Cool Ridge. I can only surmise that the locality, based on the officers route of travel and the town of Raleigh in which this field was in, was in the vicinity of hwy/state road 3, hwy/state road 19 and Raleigh Ridge Road south east of Beckley, West Virginia. I speculate that Raleigh Ridge Road is the road in question.
The officer had the car towed to the headquarters garage where it was gone over for evidence. Three spent slugs were found in the trunk compartment. The caliber was a .38. Aside from the bullet evidence, the only other thing the officers could find, were prints on the rear passenger door which belong to Mrs. Rand. The car, by the way, had belonged to Mr. Bailey.

It took some hours but they did find the car that Mrs. Bailey was driving. It had been found parked on the “narrow road that cuts off the New Raleigh road at a point opposite the one leading to the back of the Black Knight Country Club and finally winds back onto the New Raleigh Road.” I can’t pin point this location based on what I have read. I have found nothing that shows a “New Raleigh Road” and can only speculate that the road in question may be S. Fayette Street.
When officers arrived at the location of Mrs. Rand’s car they found a pool of blood about 20 feet behind her vehicle and a broken wrist watch. They later determined that the blood was consistent with the blood found in Mr. Bailey’s vehicle and that the wrist watch belonged to Mrs. Rand.
Autopsies were performed on both victims. From the death certificates and later newspaper accounts the victims are described as having been shot in the head. Mr. Bailey is described as having been shot through the left parietal and that the bullet made exit through the right temporal bone near the right ear. I have no knowledge as to how many times he had been hit other than this one described. However, I also know that a bullet traveled through his left thumb and lodged in his left index finger. So once, maybe, twice. Mrs. Rand had a bullet hole in each of her temple as though a bullet had penetrated one side and passed through the other. Later accounts indicated that the bullet entered Mrs. Rand at a high point on the right cheek below the eye, coming out the left side of the neck and passing through a portion of the left shoulder. Time of death on the death certificate and through the early newspaper reporting was determined to be between 11 pm on 11/4/1947 and 3 am on 11/5/1947.

Both Mr. Rand and Mrs. Bailey were called to the mortuary to identify the bodies. This is all I can tell you about Mrs. Bailey. Mr. Rand, however, immediately injected a possible motive for the crime when he noticed upon walking up to the victim that her three diamond wedding rings were missing. He picked up his wife’s right hand and noticed that she was wearing a ring he had never seen before. Oddly, and I don’t think I have ever heard of such a thing before, but Mr. Rand was allowed to inspect his wife’s mouth for the dental bridge work he had performed. Talk about a conflict. That never should have happened.
Mr. Rand was later asked to come down to police headquarters and give a statement as to the movements of him and his wife that day. I gave all that I know about Mrs. Rand when I gave the initial description of her above. Mr. Rand stated that he left his Lion’s Club meeting at 8:30 pm and walked down the street to his office, walked over to Beckley Hardware to mail a few letters and then, went directly to the Lyric Theater where he saw the movie the Desert Fury. The theater was located at the corner of Neville and Heber Streets. Mr. Rand’s office and the Beckley Hardware were located on Main Street. Mr. Rand stated that after the movie he walked to the corner in front of Watkins drug store where he was offered a ride home by a woman acquaintance. Mr. Rand became worried when his wife failed to arrive by 12:15 am and started to call a few friends to locate her. He then called the residence of his receptionist where his wife was supposed to attend a party and found she had never arrived.

Mr. Rand admitted during his statement that his wife and Bailey had had an affair a few months before but said that his wife had promised to break it up when he threatened divorce. The morning of her disappearance and murder he had phoned the Beckley Hardware to speak with Mr. Bailey about his wife but learned he hadn’t arrived to work. At the same time that Mr. Rand was being interviewed, a yellow cab driver by the name of Tony came in and, gave a tip that he had taken a passenger to a point near the country club about 10:30 pm the night of the murder then later picked up the same man up about midnight as he walked back towards town on Kanawha St. The second he saw Mr. Rand he declared “that looks like the man.”
Mr. Rand was exonerated of any connection with the crime after each step of his story was checked thoroughly and verified by competent witnesses.

Piecing the newspaper reports together we can gleam the following investigative information:

Both Mr. Bailey and Mrs. Rand had an ongoing affair. Mr. Rand indicates that he was aware of the affair and threatened divorce if it did not end.
Mr. Bailey and Mrs. Rand both left their homes around 7 pm. Mrs. Rand was heading to an 8 pm shower/party hosted by her husband’s receptionist. Mr. Bailey was to go to his office to finish up some paperwork. Mr. Bailey was last seen filling his car with gas at a fueling station.
Police theorize that the two had turned off US RT 19-21 shortly after 7 pm onto a little used slag road and parked in a heavily wooded section in the rear of the Black Knight Country Club. It was believed that Mrs. Rand had arrived first.

Despite the death certificate and early newspaper reporting it is believed that the two had died approximately an hour after they had arrived to the secluded spot at approximately 8:10 pm. The reason for the time given is due to a witness coming forward stating that they had heard gunshots about 10 minutes after 8. The witness was a Mrs. Beulah Callahan. She lived at 2301 S. Kanawha St just around the corner from the country club. She claimed she heard two gunshots but didn’t know the direction from where it came.

In addition to the above, four youths also came forward with claims of hearing gun shots. They stated that they had left the Embassy Grill a little after 8 pm and headed for the wooded section in the rear of the country club to spy on couples parked in cars. They claim that as they came across the golf course in the rear of the country club they heard two to three shots and ran to a side road about 100 feet from where the murder scene had occurred. By the time they arrived to the location there was only one car there and it was later determined to be Mrs. Rand’s car.

Police believe that the two were shot by an unknown suspect as the two were in the backseat of Mr. Bailey’s car. They believe that a .38 caliber gun was used and that three shots had been fired based on the three slugs that had been removed from the trunk. They also believe the perpetrator fired the shots from outside the rear side window.

The police believe that the unknown suspect waited for a period of time at the scene prior to driving the victims away in Mr. Bailey’s car. They base this opinion on the pool of blood that collected on the ground outside of where they suspect Mr. Bailey’s car had been parked. There has been no address of why Mrs. Rand’s watch was broken.

The murderer then jumped inside the front seat of Mr. Bailey’s car and drove to Penman Road where the murderer dragged the victims out of the back seat and tossed them one right after the other down a 20 foot embankment. As stated previously, Penman Road is the location of Penman Mine which was due north of the city of Beckley and approximately 9 miles from the murder site. From there the murderer drove south, back towards the crime scene location and, deposited the car at the Old Raleigh baseball diamond. I don’t have the specifics of the exact location of where the car was found but it is estimated to be about 2 miles south east of Beckley and the initial crime scene location.

Initially robbery had been ruled out as Mrs. Rand had been reported in the papers a day after the crime as having on a rhinestone necklace and wearing her wedding rings. Mr. Bailey was claimed to have been found with cash in his pockets. However, two to three days after this reporting, Mr. Rand is claiming that his wife’s wedding rings were missing and there was another claim that Mr. Bailey was missing $300.00. I have seen no explanation for the discrepancies.
From this point on law enforcement appears to be at a loss as to who might have committed the crime. They did have two people to come forward claiming to be the person to have committed the crime. The first to come forward was a man named James Hobart Richardson, aged 21, and from a small town called Crab Orchard, West Virginia. James Richardson was a Navy WWII vet who had stolen a car from a man named Lawrence Chandler and drove to Cincinnati, Ohio. He was arrested in Cincinnati sometime around 11/22/1947 after he wrecked the car and was charged with auto theft. While he was in jail in Cincinnati he made and signed a statement that he had killed two people in Beckley about a month earlier.

He claimed to have started out with the intention of just robbing the couple but then shot the couple from the front seat with a .32. He said that he drove the car about three miles outside of Beckley and tossed the gun over an embankment before continuing on to Bluefield about 20 miles to the south of Beckley to dispose of the bodies. He then decided that Penman Road was the place to dispose of the bodies. From this statement it would appear that Mr. Richardson then drove 29 miles to the north to dispose of the bodies at Penman road as Penman road was 9 miles north of Beckley and he was 20 miles south of Beckley when he changed his mind. He then claimed to have abandoned the Bailey car, walked to the town of Beckley and then, took a cab from there to his home in Crab Orchard. No indication was given as to where Richardson claimed to have disposed of Mr. Bailey’s car.

A check with local taxi companies disclosed that Brent Belcher and Roy Cawley, both drivers of Radio cabs, and Don Toney, a Yellow Cab driver, all took passengers to Crab Orchard after midnight but none identified Richardson as one of the fares. Cawleys passenger was picked up at the firms lot at 117 South Fayette street at 12:12 am and Belcher picked up two fares on the street in town and took to Crab Orchard at 12:54 am. Toney took a passenger from the Yellow Cab lot at 2:13 am and took him to Crab Orchard and continued on to Helen with another passenger.

Police were not buying Richardson’s story. In addition to the above, police noted several other discrepancies in Richardson’s story. First was Richardson’s claim that he shot the victims in a parked car with a .32. Police noted that the victims were shot in a parked car with a .38. Second was the time of the shooting. Richardson claims it was about 11 pm. Police had already theorized based on witness accounts that the crime had occurred about 3 hours earlier. They suspected he gleamed the knowledge of 11 pm from the news reports. Thirdly was Richardson’s account of shooting the victims from the front seat. Police believe, based on the trajectory that the victims had been shot from the rear side window. Fourthly, Richardson was asked to re-enact the crimes. He was taken to the road the bodies were found and asked to show exactly where the bodies had been dumped. He was off by several hundred yards and identified the spot as being on the opposite side of the road. He was then asked to show where the cars of Bailey and Rand were discovered. According to authorities, Richardson, was wrong on all counts and that his re-enactment simply just didn’t fit. Lastly, Richardson’s step-father Basil Reid, came to his defense claiming that Richardson was and had not been right in the head since he came out of service. He offered the story that Richardson had come home one day claiming to have killed a neighbor girl. When he calmed Richardson he went to the neighbor’s home and found the girl safe and unharmed. Mr. Reid said that he thought the jungle rot had affected Richardson sanity. He said the boy had always been a good boy. Richardson was released on 11/24/1947 due to insufficient evidence.

The second person to have confessed to the crime was a black man named Charles Brown in 1949. He was born and raised at 330 Massey Street, Beckley, West Virginia. His version of events was that on the night of the killing he went for a walk to ease a headache. His home was several miles from where the crime occurred. He says that at one point he came upon the car parked near the Black Knight Country Club and he held the occupants up. He used a gun he had stolen from a filling station. The shooting began when Bailey jumped at him and that when Mrs. Rand started screaming he shot her too. He claims that after the crime he drove away in Bailey’s car to dispose of the bodies but then later makes the statement that he doesn’t remember driving away from the murder scene. He claims that after he pawned the gun in Bluefield he went to Chicago. After he arrived there a policeman challenged him on an unknown matter and he ran. The officer shot at him as he fled and according to him he still carries the bullets in his back. Police stated that the statements conflicted with apparent facts.

Shortly after Brown made his confession he was dismissed as a possible suspect and for several reasons. While Brown’s account of the caliber of weapon, body location and crime scene location matched, Brown placed the year of the shooting as 1948. The crime occurred in 1947. Secondly, police records show that Charles Brown had been arrested on October 9, 1947 and sentenced to 30 days in jail for larceny. He wasn’t released until, November 12th, eight days after the crime had occurred.

Interestingly though, his parents, both claim that Charles Brown was at home on the night of the killing. Mrs. Brown claims to have had a conversation with her son about the murders the next morning.

It was of both parents opinion that Charles Brown, despite their claim of him being home on the night of the killing, did not commit the crime. They claim that their son was “a great big liar.” That he had always been an ornery child and had grown up to be the black sheep in a family of two boys and nine girls. Mr. Brown stated that his son served in the Army during the war and was discharged in 1943/45. After the service “all he did was hang around the house and cause trouble.” Finally, the Browns said, “things got so bad,” that they swore out a peace warrant against Charles, and had him put in jail for a year. “After he got out,” Mrs. Brown said, “we gave a deputy sheriff some money and told him to buy Charles a bus ticket to Chicago and see that he left town.” According to, the Browns, it was their belief that Charles Brown gave the confession just simply as a way for him to be brought back to Beckley and to come home. Mrs. Brown stated “But I don’t want him around my house at all.”

Nothing else was mentioned about Charles Brown and no other suspects other than the two above have come to light.

Photo of Mr. Bailey and Mrs. Rand:



Locations pertaining to the case:


Points indicate the following:

1. Mr. and Mrs. Rand’s home location
2. Mr. Bailey’s home location
3. The approximate location of the party Mrs. Rand was to attend on Anne Street
4. The corner of Main and Kanawha Street. Main being the street of both the Beckley Hardware and dentist office.
5. The location of the theater on Neville and Heber.
6. The location of witness Mrs. Beulah Callahan home

Further Info:

When I first started reading this case, which were years ago, curiosity got the better of me and I started digging into the children. Really I was just curious as to what became of them. I started with the eldest child Carolyn and, for the most part, stayed with her. I really don’t know anything about her other than what I will list below.

1. Carolyn had, at some point, posted on a school website inquiring about hooking up with old friends. Sorry. I don’t remember the site now.
2. From there I learned she had trained to be a nurse and had moved to the town of Riverside, California sometime in the early 60’s.
3. She did marry in Riverside. I won’t mention her married name because, as of a couple of years ago, she was still living.
4. I don’t know if it was before or after she married but she acquires a home in Riverside that is or was located 1.5 miles from Cheri Jo Bates home.

I do not know the following:

1. What brought here to Riverside? Was it college or family?
2. What college did she go to and when?
3. What are the details about her home exactly? When did she purchase it?
4. Is she related to the Rand that was in Cheri Jo Bates brother’s class?
5. What other Rand’s were in this area?

If you know anything about any information presented here or don’t mind digging into the questions I have above please post it here. If it’s personal information not presently seen online please send via pm.


Information about the above case had been obtained from the following newspapers:

1. Beckley Post-Herald: 11/6/1947, 11/25/1947, 4/30/1949
2. Charleston Daily Mail: 11/7/1947, 11/9/1947, 11/10/1947, 11/25/1947, 11/26/1947
3. Binghamton Press: 11/7/1947
4. Charleston Gazette: 11/8/1947, 12/30/1951
5. Kentucky Era: 11/25/1947
6. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: 11/27/1947
Posts: 865
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:56 am

Re: 1947 Beckley, W.V. Lover’s Lane Cold Case

Postby Soze » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:35 pm

Penman Mine location:

Posts: 865
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:56 am

Re: 1947 Beckley, W.V. Lover’s Lane Cold Case

Postby DoctorS » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:32 am

Ok, knit picking here but...the Korean War was after 1947. So the dentist went to Korea after the murders?
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:42 pm

Re: 1947 Beckley, W.V. Lover’s Lane Cold Case

Postby Soze » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:46 am

From what I have read it would appear so.

Posts: 865
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:56 am

Return to NON-Zodiac Crimes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest