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Cold Case: Who Killed Businessman Morris Vaughn?

The 1972 murder of a high profile businessman shocked the community of Henderson Kentucky. He was a well known insurance agent who helped others make ends meet through small loans.

Morris B. Vaughn was his name and his murder has never been solved. October 17th, will mark 47 years since Morris Vaughn was last seen alive. His body was found less than a week later along Horseshoe Bend in Henderson but how Morris ended up there and who killed him are still unanswered questions decades later.

If you take a drive along Main Street in Henderson one of the first buildings you’ll see is a local insurance agency. A.B. Vaughn and Company Insurance opened in 1917. When Vaughn Sr. died in 1952, his son, Morris B. Vaughn took over, a businessman who ran around with high rollers, “He loved the high life. He ran with the big boys, he loved the horses, he loved to gamble,” said Nibby Priest.

Priest is the current owner of Vaughn Insurance and recalls Morris had a big heart always helping those in need, “Many times people would come to him when they needed to borrow money. We’re talking about people who would need to borrow money for gas, rent, food, he would loan them $5 and $10 dollars and they would pay him back whenever they could but he was known as quite a generous man.”

So who would want to kill someone so well-liked in the community? It’s a question that’s never been answered. On October 17th, 1972 Vaughn left his office just after 5pm. He drove a black Cadillac and always parked the car facing south.

Morris was also seen at the local post office that night but the next time anyone would see him would be six days later and he was dead, “His body was found in the Horseshoe Bend area of Henderson County which is close to where the former harness racing track was here in Henderson,” said Priest.

The murder of the high profile businessman made headlines. Morris had been shot at close range in the back of the neck with a shotgun and was also shot in his face.

Perhaps his affection for the high life got him caught up? That was at least one of the theories around town, “There could have been some debts he might have owed for gambling and things of that sort that got him into trouble,” said Priest.

His body was found on the edge of a soybean field face up fully clothed but several things police discovered in the investigation pointed to foul play.

Back at the insurance agency Morris had left behind his billfold and medication for his heart all found inside a safe at the business. Even more puzzling to police was his car and how it was parked. Morris always parked the car facing south but it was parked facing north, not something Morris ever did.

At the time a $1,500 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction but to this day the case remains unsolved.

Priest says people still ask about Mr. Vaughn, “It and usually comes up around October of every year, about Mr. Vaughn’s murder and I just say it’s one of those Henderson mysteries.”

Anyone with information on the murder of Morris B. Vaughn should contact Kentucky State Police.

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