Texan Kills His Polio Victim Daughter, Self

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From Associated Press

A retired oilman shot to death his 61-year-old daughter, a polio victim who used an iron lung, and then killed himself, officials said today.

Ammy Harlin Drake, 94, opened Alta Jeanne Drake’s iron lung, shot her twice in the chest, returned to his lounge chair and shot himself with a .32-caliber revolver early Tuesday, police said.

Family caretaker Helen Jackson found the bodies Wednesday along with a note from Ammy Drake, detailing funeral arrangements.


“The (note) indicated he couldn’t take care of her anymore and that there was no one around to take care of her,” said Police Capt. E. L. Holman.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the deaths a homicide and a suicide.

Relatives said the woman’s health was failing and her father had cancer. Those who knew Jeanne Drake said her fear of being institutionalized may have led her to devise the shooting.

“Jeanne may have made the decision (to die),” said a cousin, Joeza Dailey. “My cousin had a horror of being in an institution, and she had no faith in any sort of help from the state, or any sort of governmental help.”

Paralyzed by polio, Drake had used an iron lung since 1951, one year after she was graduated from Southern Methodist University. She had married six months earlier. Her husband left her in 1956; her mother died in 1973.