Family Mysteries

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Two newspaper clippings were in Blanche Elizabeth (Turley) Corkins funeral memorial book, she died 7 December 1939 in Florida, unfortunately there is no notation of the names of the newspapers that they are from. If you have any other theories, newspaper clippings or other information on these cases please let me know. The clippings read as follows:

Clothing Saturated But No Fire in the Room

PALMETTO, Dec 7. -(Special)- Mrs. Blanch Elizabeth Corkins, 27-year-old divorcee, died in a Manatee hospital today of burns received last night in her home at Rubonia under circumstances which caused Peace Justice Baker to continue an investigation today. Witnesses testifying at an inquest today could not account for her flaming clothing in a room which no fire was burning, although it was apparent her clothes had been saturated with kerosene. Also unexplained was the disappearance of three rings, one of them valuable, from her fingers.
Border Rushes In
Bob Fletcher, who owned the house, was a boarder there and who testified he and Mrs. Corkins were to be married as soon as he obtained a divorce, said he was outside the house and was attracted by her piercing screams. He said he found the kitchen floor soaked in kerosene from an overturned can, but there was no fire in the room. He testfied he threw a heavy coat about the womans blazing clothes and called his mother who lives nearby, who administered first aid. Fletcher said he believed Mrs. Corkins clothes became ignited when she lighted a cigarette. The woman was taken to Manatee hospital in critical condition and died today. She is survived by two small sons, who live with relatives; by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Turley, Lakeland, and several sisters and brothers.
Mrs. Blanch Corkins Dies When Flaming Liquid Ignites Clothing

Mrs. Blanch Elizabeth Corkins, 27, died at Riverside hospital shortly after 1 o’clock this morning, from burns she received at her home at Rubonia about 8 o’clock last night. Mrs. Corkins was alone at her home and was carrying a can or bucket of kerosene to build a fire, when she slipped and fell, spilling some of the kerosene on her clothing and the floor. Lighting a match ignited the oil, her clothing caught on fire, and she was soon a mass of flames. People nearby heard her screams and extinguished the blazing garments and summoned Turners, ambulance, which rushed her to the hospital. It was stated her face and head did not appear badley burned, but the burns covered most of her body. She had resided at Rubonia only five weeks, comming from Ruskin. She is survived by two children, James Corkins, Olean N. Y., who is 12 years of age and resides with a relative; Lee Corkins 8, with a relative at Ruskin; her parents, Mr and Mrs. C. A. Turley, Lakeland; and the following sisters and brothers: Mrs. Eddie Knapp, Newark, N.J.; Mrs Essie Davis, W.T. and J.A. Turley, Lakeland; Mrs. Mabel Erwin, Ruskin; D.C. Turley, Atlanta; O.L. Turley. Proctorville, O.; A.H. Turley of Norfolk and C.A. Turley, Jr., Potsmouth, Va. She was a member of the Lakeland Baptist church. Funeral services and burial will take place in Lakeland. Local arrangements are in charge of the Edwards Funeral home, Pallmetto. C.L.Baker, justice of the peace, stated this afternoon he was investigating the case, and had not yet decided whether or not an inquest will be held.

NOTE: Family legend has it that Blanche's hair, which was considered very beautiful, was wrapped in a very wet towel as if to protect it, and that there was no burn marks on the floor where she was found. Some family members believe that Balnche was murdered.

News clipping from the
Lakeland Florida Ledger
Thursday 10 August 1944

Police Still Baffled By Mysterious Killing; All Angles Are Probed
The slaying of Tom Turley, roadside stand operator, remained as much a mystery today as ever, but with investigating officials doggedly digging into every possible feature which might assist in solving the baffling crime. Sheriff DeWitt Sinclair and Chief of Police Roy Hutchingson were frank to admit they still had practically nothing on which to work. Turley was shot in his bedroom as he reached for the rope to close the venetian blind. The assailant stood outside an open window, the bullets shattered some of the slats on the blind before striking the victim. Seven shots apparently were fired, six taking effect and one going wild through the ceiling in a corner of the bedroom and plunging through a drainpipe before going off into space. There are two windows close together and one or more shots were fired through one before the killer moved a foot to fire through the second. One large hole was made in the screen on one window and there are four holes in the other screen. The used shells were found underneath the windows. Mrs. Turley was in the bedroom at the time, sitting on the edge of the bed disrobing. Turley had donned his pajamas. The stand is located just west of the underpass on the Tampa highway and is known as “Jean and Tom’s” The shooting occurred about 11:15 o’clock Tuesday night after the stand had been closed. It was as baffling a mystery as any slaying in this section in many years. Whoever did the killing apparently stood outside the window and waited for the moment when Turley walked over to close the blinds. The muzzle of the gun probably was within two feet of the victim when most of the bullets were fired, making it impossible to miss at such point-blank range. Grady Burton, state’s attorney, went to the scene of the crime yesterday and went over the ground personally. About all the police know is what happened, but who did the killing and the motive behind it were still unknown. Officials are delving into every conceivable event in Turley’s past, hoping to bring something to the surface which might be a sufficient motive for the murder. Funeral services probably will be held Saturday afternoon with Gentry - Morrison funeral home in charge.



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