The Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis once received powerful politicians and even President Lincoln in 1861, when it was the Bates House. However in the years that followed it could not escape the stigma of murder that stained it luxurious and upscale reputation. In August 1943, Maoma Little Ridings was brutally killed on the seventh floor of the Claypool Hotel. Her assailant was never apprehended. In July 1954 the body of a brunette was found stuffed into a dresser drawer located in Room 665 of the hotel.
On July 18th, 1954 the lingerie clad body of a 19-year-old Dorothy Poore was found stuffed into a dresser drawer. She had been a car hop living in Clinton and had come to Indianapolis looking for work. Clad only in a slip, bra and panty she had been dead several days when she was discovered by a maid who was attracted by the smell of the putrefying remains.
Firemen with gas masks took the body from the drawer. The coroner estimated that she had been dead approximately thirty-six hours when she was found, and that the heat wave experienced in the city that summer had aided in the rapid decomposition and caused the horrid stench that caused the entire sixth floor to be evacuated. Air conditioning was being installed in the hotel, but the sixth floor had not worked on yet.
The hotel manager said the room had last been occupied by a man who registered as John O'Shea from New York who turned out to give a fictitious name and address. After the murder was discovered he disappeared.
The police believed that she had been lured to the hotel with a promise of a job and then suffocated with a pillow once she was inside the room.
A week after her body was discovered, police had put out an all points bulletin for Victor Hale Lively, 25, a native of Texas, and Jack O'Shea's real name. He was apprehended outside of St. Louis. He didn't resist but carried .32 caliber gun wrapped in a newspaper. He was the foster son of a respectable Beaumont family, and earned a living as an itnerant salesman.
Lively confessed to the murder and said it took place after an argument ensued because Dorothy demanded gin and he only had whiskey. He said that he couldn't remember well what happened, but then he found her passed out on the bed, and when he tried to revive her with a cold towel, she started gurgling and he panicked when she died. He then changed his story and said that he had killed after she refused his sexual advances. He tried to rape her three times before strangling her.
On December 2, 1954 he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer