The fates of three women connected to Felix Vail are explored in tonight's episode of People Magazine Investigates, airing at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery
At age 15, Annette Craver quickly grew smitten with the much-older man she met when he rode up on his motorcycle to a yard sale in Houston.
She was a poetry-writing singer and songwriter, and the handsome stranger in his early 40s offered her adventure. They rode off together after she graduated from high school, and when she was 17, they married.
But the next year, 1984, she disappeared with no word to her family — and the confounding explanation given by the husband, Felix Vail, set Craver’s mother, Mary Rose, on a search that is featured on tonight’s episode of People Magazine Investigates, airing at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery. (An exclusive clip of the episode, entitled “Gone Girls,” is shown above.)
Vail told Craver’s mother that his wife had said she’d had a dream about Mexico — and that he responded by putting her on a Trailways bus alone and sending her on her way. That made little sense to Craver’s mom.
Seven years later, Mary Rose launched her own search for her missing daughter. She began by tracking down Vail’s sister, Sue Jordan.
“Sue Jordan says, ‘Oh, there was another girlfriend of Felix that turned up missing,'” Jerry Mitchell, a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger/USA Today Network, says in the episode. “And then she mentions Felix’s first wife, Mary Horton Vail, and how she drowned under suspicious circumstances.”
Mary Rose recounts her reaction, saying, “When [Jordan] told me that, my ears perked up, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, now I’ve got something to work with.'”
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Mary Horton Vail died in 1962 — a victim of drowning, after Felix Vail said she allegedly fell overboard during a nighttime outing with him on Louisiana’s Calcasieu River.
The second woman, Sharon Hensley, disappeared in 1983 after a whirlwind romance; Vail later told others that he and Hensley had married using assumed names. After Hensley went missing, he told her family that she’d left him. But no one heard from her again.
Craver’s disappearance occurred after she came into a $100,000 inheritance and signed over property to Vail that she’d previously shared with her mother.
With Vail as the sole link between the three women, Mary Rose wondered just who her daughter’s husband really was.
People Magazine Investigates: Gone Girls airs Monday (10 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.