Our Recent Posts

Tags

Alleged Sightings of Lee Harvey Oswald (Part 2)





[Photo: Downtown Mexico City, where LHO arrived at 10 a.m. September 27, 1963]


Disclaimer: The following analysis of Warren Commission (WC) testimony consists of my opinion, calculation, and independent research into the contents of the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission Hearings and Exhibits. These observations are part and parcel of my opinion.


SEPTEMBER 26, 1963 – A TRIP TO MEXICO


The WC testimony given by Pamela Mumford (Pam) reflects an interesting case of mistaken identity. Pam met a young man, a stranger on a tour bus to Mexico City. The date was Thursday, September 26, 1963, at 7:30 p.m., and Pam spoke at length with this young man for much of the 14-hour bus trip from Monterrey, Mexico, to the capital city.


Pam was a legal secretary from Los Angeles. She and her young friend Patricia Winston (Pat) enjoyed world travel together. On May 19, 1964, Pam testified that on Wednesday afternoon, September 25, 1963, she boarded a tour bus operated by Transporte del Norte in Nuevo Laredo at the Texas border. That tour bus would drive about 100 miles south to Monterrey, Mexico. Lee Harvey Oswald (LHO) wasn’t on that first bus, she stated.


That tour bus stayed in Monterrey all the next day. At night, on Thursday, September 26th, everybody boarded again at 7:30 p.m. for perhaps a 14-hour drive to Mexico City. That’s when LHO appeared to them, said Pam and Pat. Here’s a part of Pam’s WC testimony:


Miss MUMFORD: …Now, hold on. We had one day in Monterrey and one night in Monterrey. We left Monterrey, I know, on the night of September 26 at 7:30 p.m.


Mr. BALL: And you had come to Monterey from Laredo the day before, hadn’t you?

Miss MUMFORD: The day before, yes.


Mr. BALL: Now, on the way from Laredo to Monterrey you didn’t see Oswald?

Miss MUMFORD: No.


Mr. BALL: You saw him on a bus that left Monterrey?

Miss MUMFORD. That left Monterrey…


So, Pam explained that on the night of September 26, 1963, at 7:30 p.m., a few dozen Spanish-speaking passengers and six English-speaking passengers settled in for the 14-hour bus trip to Mexico City. The six English speakers consisted of a married couple from the UK, Pam and Pat from the UK, an elderly gentleman from the UK, and a young American man unknown to any of the others.


So, let’s take a closer look at the other English speakers on the bus. A 32-year-old surgeon from Liverpool, England named John McFarland sat in front with his wife Meryl. They were traveling to write a journal article on the natives of Yucatan. Behind the McFarland couple sat an elderly gentleman, John Howard Bowen (an alias of Albert Osborne, an itinerant Baptist minister). He was about 75 years old and for decades he had loved traveling through Mexico. The unknown young man was sitting adjacent to Bowen at around 7:30 p.m. while the bus was loading. Bowen silently surveyed the young man.


When Pam and Pat plodded aboard the bus with their duffel bags they were chatting away. They noticed that the other English speakers were sitting in front of the bus. So, Pam and Pat kept moving toward the back of the bus, so that they could continue chatting freely. As they walked, the young man asked the old gentleman, “How do you say, ‘can I help,’ in Spanish?” When they heard that they decided that the young man couldn’t speak Spanish.


In any case, the young man followed Pam and Pat to the back of the bus seeking some youthful conversation. Pam and Pat didn’t mind so they sized him up quickly. They noticed his striking “charcoal grey sweater” and they’d never forget it. They also noticed that he wore a wedding ring although he never spoke of his wife.


Weirdly, the young man would never introduce himself formally. He never mentioned his name at any time, even after Pam and Pat told him their names. He asked Pam and Pat where they were from. They told him that they had been college pals in Australia and they were still pals in the US.


According to Pam, the young man then sat back and told these two young women his life story – still never revealing his name. He was from Fort Worth, Texas. He joined the Marines, and he served on the Marine base in Japan. Finally, he had lived a goodly time in the USSR.


Of course, an American living in the USSR was most unusual during the Cold War. Pam and Pat were skeptical, so the young man sprang up to get his passport to show Pam and Pat his Soviet customs stamps. Gazing at his Soviet customs stamps, they never looked for his name in the passport. They never saw it and they never heard it – so they had no material evidence about what his name might be – for the entire trip – despite hours of personal interaction with him.

Pam added that the young man never spoke a word about politics. He spoke about his exciting travels and he loved big meals at bus stops, but he said nothing about politics. Also, the young man avoided the three other English-speaking passengers who were all from older generations. Shortly before their final stop, the young man asked Pam and Pat about their hotel plans and he recommended Hotel Cuba to them as “clean and cheap.”


The young man was the first to disembark at Mexico City and he ignored Pam and Pat in the customs line. Then they all went their separate ways. Pam and Pat never saw any of these passengers again. In retrospect, it was fairly ordinary – pleasant but nothing especially memorable about the event. Life went on as normal until the assassination of JFK.


NOVEMBER 24, 1963 – THE PUBLIC MURDER OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD


On November 24, 1963, two days after JFK was assassinated in Dallas, the world was glued to the daily TV news, and especially the live videotape of LHO coming out of the city jail elevator. LHO entered the Dallas Police Department underground parking garage, ready for his transfer to the larger county jail. TV reporters filmed as police escorted LHO toward his transport vehicle.


Pat was first to notice that LHO wore a “charcoal grey sweater” just like the one that they had seen on the young man on the bus in Mexico. Then Pam noticed it – it looks like the same sweater! And wasn’t LHO’s thinning hair exactly like the young man’s hair in Mexico? As the world watched, Jack Ruby suddenly sprang forward – seemingly out of nowhere – pushed a handgun into the ribcage of LHO and murdered him in cold blood on national TV.


As far as Pam and Pat could tell, Jack Ruby had just killed the young man with whom they had enjoyed conversation on a bus bound for Mexico City only two months prior. The sweater was the sign. Combined with his thinning hair they were “almost certain,” said Pam, that they had “sighted” LHO on that bus.


Pam and Pat eagerly read all the news reports on LHO that they could find. They were stunned to learn that LHO had also come from Fort Worth; had also joined the Marines; had also served at the Marine base in Japan; and had also lived in the USSR! Four out of four! It had to be him! Pat urged Pam to hurry and tell the FBI – it might be important. So, Pam and Pat went.


The FBI took their report seriously and showed two photos of LHO separately to each young woman. Pam and Pat found this part difficult. The 2nd photo was unfamiliar to them, they said, separately. But the 1st photo was familiar, they said, separately. They were unable to positively identify LHO by face alone.


Still, they were “almost certain” that LHO had been the young man they met on that bus, said Pam, because of that charcoal grey sweater. Also, the thinning hair. Also, these four identical points in their life stories. And even though lots of young men came from Fort Worth; several of those joined the Marines, and many of those served at the Marine base in Japan, yet very few of those had lived in the USSR. It was worth reporting, said Pam and Pat.


Pam and Pat had no way of knowing that many LHO character witnesses before the WC had testified that LHO was sullen, unfriendly, private, and his only public passion was for politics.

The young man on the bus was the opposite! Friendly, outgoing, talkative, and extroverted enough to engage total strangers in a friendly conversation – weather, travel, entertainment, anything but politics.


By contrast, LHO spoke of politics continually. Here’s what Marina testified to the WC:

Mr. McKENZIE. Mrs. Oswald, you said a few minutes ago that Mr. Paine knew or knows more about your husband’s attitude about the United States than you do. Why did you say that?


Mrs. OSWALD: Because my husband’s favorite topic of discussion was politics, and whoever he was with he talked politics to them, and Mr. Paine was with him a fair amount…

It was out of character for LHO to speak with others about anything but politics. Also, Pam remembered that the young man recommended Hotel Cuba in Mexico City. Yet the WC had established that LHO had never been to Mexico City before. So, LHO knew no hotels in Mexico City at all. A different person was speaking.


Further, the young stranger on the bus said that he had rented an apartment in Moscow. Pam and Pat did not know that LHO had lived in Minsk, Belarus, 515 miles away, and never had an apartment in Moscow. Finally, that charcoal grey sweater wasn’t the same one that they saw in Mexico. In reality, LHO first saw that sweater 5 minutes before he died. Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry admitted that he was the one who had loaned that grey sweater to LHO from police lineup wardrobes, only minutes before Ruby shot him.


Without a face match, without a name match, without a character match, without a home match, and without that charcoal grey sweater, Pam and Pat had for all practical purposes nothing upon which to base their claim that the young man on that Mexican bus had been LHO.


This was most likely another case of mistaken identity.


In other words, the young man on the bus was most likely irrelevant to the history of the JFK Assassination. Let’s keep exploring.


OTHER PASSENGERS – THE OLD MAN


Aside from Pam, Pat, and the unknown young man, there were three other English-speaking passengers on that bus, namely, John Howard Bowen, John McFarland, and Meryl McFarland. Notice how the affidavits of the two gentlemen here canceled each other out.


John Bowen (itinerant Baptist minister) was reportedly the alias of Albert Osborne (itinerant Baptist minister). He told the FBI that he took a bus from Nuevo Laredo to Mexico City on September 26th and 27th, 1963. He sat in the 3rd seat from the front on the right side. Bowen said an unknown young man came inside the bus and sat down adjacent to him. The young man spoke English.


Bowen had a good view and described the young man as 29 years old, sturdy, 150 pounds, thinning blonde hair, and quite dark-skinned. At first sight, Bowen said, he thought the young man was a Mexican or a Puerto-Rican because of his dark complexion. By contrast, on that date, LHO was 23 years old, weighed 135 pounds, with thinning brown hair, and quite a pale complexion


Bowen told the FBI that he never spoke at any length with this young man, and he never heard the young man speak at length with anyone else on the bus. Bowen said that the young man promptly went to sleep in that adjacent seat, saying virtually nothing to anybody.


After 2 hours of driving, the bus made a diner stop; perhaps at Sabinas-Hidalgo, said Bowen. The young man kept entirely to himself, exited the bus, ate a big meal at the bus station, and when he returned, he moved to the rear of the bus where he reclined on a rear seat and went to sleep again. That was the last that Bowen had seen or heard of the young man. Bowen spoke with no one during the rest of the journey, he said.


OTHER PASSENGERS – THE SURGEON


John McFarland’s affidavit to the US Embassy in England clashed loudly with John Bowen’s affidavit. McFarland sat just one seat away from Bowen, yet he challenged Bowen’s claim that the young man spoke at length with nobody on the bus. Instead, the young man spoke at length with McFarland himself during that trip. In my reading of McFarland’s affidavit, when the young man entered the bus he sat down near McFarland, a total stranger, and began a friendly conversation that quickly exceeded small talk and escalated to serious political beliefs and plans.


This extroverted young man revealed to this total stranger his full name and that he just came from New Orleans. The young man added that he was the New Orleans secretary of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He added that he was traveling to Mexico City in order to get into Communist Cuba legally – as it was illegal to do so from the US. Furthermore, the young man was on his way to Cuba to meet Fidel Castro himself, he said.


There it was – word for word what FBI agents (and the Radical Right) were hoping to hear; a full confession of a Communist plot. Never mind that it was given to a total stranger on a public bus.


John McFarland also reported that the young man had spoken at length with two young Australian women. That part was true. McFarland also reported that the young man also spoke at length with the elderly John Bowen. That part, however, was denied by Bowen himself. The clash between these affidavits is so striking that we should review part of McFarland’s affidavit here. These questions were asked by Wilfred V. Duke, Consul in the US Consulate in Liverpool, England, on May 28, 1964:


Q: When and where did you first see the man later identified as Lee Harvey Oswald?

A: We changed buses at Houston. Texas, at. 2:00 a.m. September 26th and it was probably about 6:00 a.m. after it became light that we first saw him.


Q: What reason did Oswald give for traveling to Mexico?

A: He stated that he was en route to Cuba and that he could not travel there from the United States as it was against the law.


Q: Did you see Oswald speaking to any other persons?

A: Yes. We observed him conversing occasionally with two young Australian women who boarded the bus on the evening of September 26th at Monterrey, Mexico. He also conversed occasionally with an elderly man who sat in the seat next to him for a time.


Q: When did it first occur to you that Lee Harvey Oswald was the man you had met on the bus?

A: When we saw his pictures in the newspapers…


Q: …Did he mention any names or places either in the United States or Mexico, in any connection whatever?

A: Only New Orleans, whence he said he had come. In the course of the conversation, we worked out that he must have left New Orleans at about the same time we had left Jackson, Mississippi, i.e., 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25th, 1963.


Q: Did he show you any documents, such as a passport or Fair Play for Cuba Committee Card, or letters, newspaper clippings, or other similar material? If so, describe them as fully as possible.

A: We saw no document, but he said he was the secretary of the New Orleans branch of the Fair Play for Cuba organization, and that he was on his way to Cuba to see Castro if he could…

The Consul failed to ask McFarland how the young man (allegedly LHO) came to start a confessional conversation with a perfect stranger like McFarland in the first place. The Consul presumed that a conversation between LHO and McFarland was already in progress when he asked McFarland his next question, “What reason did Oswald give for traveling to Mexico?”


McFarland alleged that LHO himself immediately confessed – to a total stranger – that he came to Mexico to get to Communist Cuba; that he was the New Orleans secretary of the well-known pro-Castro FPCC, and he claimed to seek a Cuban visa because he strove to meet Fidel Castro in person. This was tantamount to a confession of a Communist plot.


The Consul in Liverpool now demanded documentary evidence, like handbills, FPCC cards, newspaper clippings, anything. McFarland admitted that he had seen none of those. He was reporting only what he saw and heard.


CONCLUSION


We’ll close by summing up the two final English-speaking passengers – Meryl McFarland and Pat Winston. Meryl signed her husband’s affidavit; otherwise, she was silent. Pat Winston agreed with Pamela Mumford on every point; yet she submitted no documents, no depositions, no affidavits of her own.


I find McFarland’s affidavit too pat. LHO, a lone nut on this bus, simply confessed everything that the FBI wished he would say. It’s too pat. McFarland contradicted John Bowen on multiple points. The young man really was LHO, insisted McFarland, and LHO really did confess his evil intentions to McFarland – a total stranger – John Bowen to the contrary.


The WC leaders chose to accept Pam’s deposition as sufficient evidence that LHO was on that bus from Monterrey, Mexico, to Mexico City. The WC leaders also accepted John McFarland’s affidavit as evidence supporting Pam’s deposition. Yet since Mumford and McFarland lacked material evidence upon which to base their claims that LHO was on their bus, we are justified in asking to see official bus company records of bus passengers, luggage registries.


Researchers have indeed looked at length at these records and found no other evidence of sightings of LHO on that bus. Any eyewitness account from those Spanish-speaking passengers would be welcome, yet no Spanish-speaking passengers claimed to have seen LHO on that bus.


On the contrary, we have Mexican Immigration records showing that LHO crossed the Mexican border as a passenger in an automobile, not a bus. Yet to accept those immigration records would imply that LHO, who had no driver’s license, had a driver. It would imply that LHO traveled into Mexico with one or more accomplices who spent days driving LHO to and from Mexico City. This is exactly the sort of evidence that the FBI and the WC struggled so mightily to conceal.


Any Lone Shooter who went to Mexico City went alone. Any Lone Shooter who lacked a driver’s license took a bus. The FBI and WC seized upon Pam’s WC testimony to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that LHO was on that bus and without accomplices.


Best regards,

--Paul Trejo

© Copyright 2021 by Paul Edward Trejo. All Rights Reserved.


Sources:


Pamela Mumford’s WC deposition in Los Angeles.

https://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/russ/testimony/mumford.htm


John Bowen’s US Embassy affidavit in Liverpool.

https://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh25/pdf/WH25_CE_2443.pdf


John McFarland’s US Embassy affidavit in Liverpool.

https://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh11/pdf/WH11_McFarlands_aff.pdf