Ohio, Miami Detectives Take New Look At Deaths of Killers’ Wives
MIAMI (AP) _ Two Ohio detectives flew to Miami on Wednesday as authorities here and in Columbus re-examined the violent deaths of the wives of the two men killed in the FBI’s bloodiest shootout.
The head of Metro-Dade County detectives termed as ″unfounded speculation″ the theory that William Matix, 34, and Michael Lee Platt, 32, killed each other’s wives.
But Maj. John Farrell said authorities aren’t ruling anything out as they seek more information on the two who last Friday battled FBI agents who had recognized them as suspects in a string of violetn bank and armored car robberies.
They killed two agents and wounded five others before they were killed.
Columbus Police Capt. Antone Lanata said by telephone Wednesday that Platt is now considered a potential suspect in the Dec. 30, 1983, slaying of Matix’s first wife, Patricia, and another woman at the hospital where the women worked.
And Metro-Dade detectives met with officials of the medical examiner’s office to study the Dec. 24, 1984, shotgun death of Platt’s first wife, Regina, which was ruled a suicide.
She was killed Christmas Eve 1984 by a 12-gauge shotgun blast to the head. Farrell said Platt was home at the time and told police his wife had been despondent about marital problems.
″It still appears to be a suicide. But we have re-opened it,″ Farrell said. He said it was unusual but not unprecedented for a woman to kill herself with a shotgun.
The Columbus detectives sent here will search the dead men’s suburban homes for evidence that could link them to the 1983 stabbing deaths of Mrs. Matix and Joyce McFadden, lab technicians at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus.
″I probably should be charged with incompetence if we didn’t take a hard look at Mr. Platt, to see if he was ever in Ohio, whether there is anything to connect him with our homicide,″ Lanata said. ″He figures into our case because he has been established as a close friend of Mr. Matix and it would be a terrible understatement to say he was among the class of people who kill other people.″
He said Matix’s alibi at the time was that he was home with their infant daughter. Detectives felt suspicious about him, but never had any evidence to charge him in the case, Lanata said.
″We found very minor inconsistencies in what he had told us. There was something about his demeanor that is not in keeping with that of someone whose loved one was brutally murdered. But that doesn’t make someone a murderer,″ Lanata said.
No charges were ever filed in the slayings.
The Columbus Dispatch has reported that Matix collected a $350,000 life insurance policy for his wife’s death and also had filed a $3 million wrongful death suit last Dec. 30 against the hospital. The suit was still pending.
After his wife’s death, Matix purchased a new car, motorcycle, many household items and expensive clothes, the Dispatch reported.
Both Matix and Platt remarried, but Matix’s second wife had been seeking a dissolution of their marriage.
Metro-Dade police recovered a pickup truck Wednesday that they believe was used by the two men March 12 when they apparently went to an isolated quarry, shot a target shooter, then stole his car and left him for dead.
The man survived, and his car was being driven by Matix and Platt last Friday when they were spotted by the FBI, investigators said.
The pickup was parked at an apartment complex in the southwest Miami suburb where the shootout raged.
A search of Matix’s house after the shootout turned up a gun belonging to Jose Collazo, the target shooter; three other guns; a walkie-talkie and clothes that could have been used as disguises, the FBI said in a news release Wednesday evening.
Four weapons also were found in a similar search of Platt’s house, the FBI said.
In Brunswick, Ga., FBI agent Benjamin Grogan, 53, was buried Wednesday. FBI Director William Webster and hundreds of law enforcement officers attended his funeral service Monday in Miami. Webster also attended the funeral Tuesday of slain agent Gerald Dove in Charleston, W.Va.