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E. R. Walthers

Walthers pointing at mystery agent picture

Walthers looking at a picture of himself investigating a possible fourth bullet in Dealey Plaza.

E.R. Walthers: Searching for the Evidence

Introduction

Eddie Raymond ‘Buddy’ Walthers (July 17th, 1928 – January 10th, 1969) was a detective in the Dallas Police Department who was one of the first officers to arrive in Dealey Plaza following the assassination of President Kennedy. Walthers was also involved in the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald and the search for evidence in the Ruth Paine house (where Oswald's family had been staying).

Buddy Walthers’ birth certificate

Walthers' birth certificate

Early Life


Walthers was born in Dallas, Texas on July 17th, 1928 to Charlie Walthers and Ella Roseberry. A lifelong resident of Dallas, Walthers worked as a taxi driver before joining the Dallas Police Department. After joining the police force in 1955, Walthers was quickly promoted several times. This meteoric rise was later attributed to the patronage of Sheriff Decker rather than Walthers’ own performance.

Deputy Walthers was married to Dorothy Robinson. They had three children prior to his untimely death in the line of duty. He was a veteran of the Second World War.

The Day of the Assassination

Map of Buddy Walthers’ activities on 11/22/1963

Map of Walthers' movements on the day of the assassination.

Walthers standing over “bullet” with mystery agent

Walthers standing over what he initially claimed was a bullet in Dealey Plaza.

At Dealey Plaza

Deputy Walthers was watching the parade from the Dallas Sheriff’s office, when he heard gunfire from Dealey Plaza. He proceeded to the scene of the assassination on foot through the nearby railyard. While investigating the portion of the plaza near the triple underpass, Walthers approached a man – James Tague – who had been superficially injured during the shooting. Walthers searched the area and found a damaged section of the roadway and what he initially reported to be a bullet. Walthers would later deny ever claiming to have found a bullet.

After finding what he then believed to be a bullet, Deputy Walthers determined that its most likely point of origin was in the Texas School Book Depository. At that point in time, the building was already being investigated by a number of other officers, and so Walthers collected several witnesses to the assassination from Deputy Sweatt and took them to the Sheriff’s office. That was when he learned about the murder of Officer Tippit in Oak Cliff.

Picture of the Oak Cliff branch of the Dallas Public Library

The Oak Cliff Public Library

En Route to the scene of Officer Tippit's Murder

Upon hearing that an officer had been shot, Walthers, along with two other deputies, began traveling to the scene of the murder. On the way to Oak Cliff, Walthers received word of the suspicious man who Officer C.T. Walker had seen running into the public library near the site of Officer Tippit’s death. Deputy Walthers took part in the questioning of the occupants of the library that followed before the man in question was confirmed to not have been involved in Officer Tippit’s shooting.

At the Texas Theater

After leaving the library, Walthers again set out for the site of Officer Tippit’s murder. Before he could arrive, he was diverted again – this time by Deputy Courson’s report of a suspect in the Texas Theater. After proceeding to the theater, Deputy Walthers ordered the manager on duty to turn on the main lights. Hearing a struggle from the center of the theater, Walthers went downstairs to attempt to assist the officers who were struggling to disarm Lee Harvey Oswald. 

Oswald being placed into an unmarked police cruiser

Oswald being taken into custody.

After Oswald was restrained, Deputy Walthers escorted Oswald out of the theater and through a hostile crowd which had gathered outside of the building. Walthers reported that the only thing that Oswald said at the time was, “it’s all over.” Following the departure of the vehicle with Oswald and five officers, Walthers left to report to Sheriff Decker. He was then sent, along with Deputies Weatherford and Oxford, to the Paine house in Irving, Texas where Oswald’s family had been staying.

Ruth Paine House

Picture of the Paine house, where Oswald's family had been staying.

The Paine House

Upon searching the house, Walthers and the other officers reported that they found Cuban propaganda, several metal filing cabinets containing what appeared to be the names of people who sympathized with the Cuban government, and packaging for a rifle. These objects were placed into the custody of Captain Fritz of the Dallas Police Department and unnamed agents of the U.S. Secret Service.

Life after the Assassination

Buddy Walthers’ death certificate

Walthers' death certificate.

Newspaper article about Walthers’ death

Newspaper article about Walthers' death.

Deputy Walthers’ life was tragically cut short only a few years after the assassination. There was a bombing outside of his home in June of 1968 which has been seen, despite a complete lack of evidence, as an attempt to intimidate Walthers into remaining silent about any knowledge he may have had of an alleged conspiracy.

On January 10th, 1969, Deputy Walthers was sent to question Walter Cherry at the Eastern Hills Motel about his suspected involvement in a double murder. When he allowed the suspect to get dressed, Cherry pulled out a weapon and shot Walthers through the heart. At the time of his death, Walthers was only forty years old. He was buried three days later in Laurel Land Memorial Park in Dallas.

The inconsistencies surrounding Walthers' report of a bullet which had been found in Dealey Plaza, along with his untimely death and alleged association with Jack Ruby, caused him to come under a great deal of suspicion in the years following the assassination. He remains a key figure in the conspiracy theories which have grown up around the events of November 22nd, 1963.

References

"11 Jan 1969, Page 1 - Abilene Reporter-News at Newspapers.com." Newspapers.com. Accessed April 21, 2018. https://www.newspapers.com/image/46448686/.

Allen, William. "Mysterious Bullet Found on Infield in Dealey Plaza?" Accessed April 21, 2018. http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/slug.htm.

Allen, William. "Mysterious Bullet Found on Infield in Dealey Plaza?" Accessed April 21, 2018. http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/slug.htm.

Armstrong, John. "NOVEMBER 22, 1963." HarveyandLee.net. Accessed April 21, 2018. http://harveyandlee.net/November/November_22.htm.

Brooks, Gayla. "History: The Oak Cliff Library's Wealthy Heritage." Oak Cliff. October 19, 2013. Accessed April 21, 2018. https://oakcliff.advocatemag.com/2013/10/oak-cliff-librarys-wealthy-heritage/.

"Deputy Sheriff E. R. Walthers." The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP). Accessed April 21, 2018. http://www.odmp.org/officer/13814-deputy-sheriff-e-r-walthers.

"E.R. Walthers - Birth Certificate." Ancestry. Accessed April 21, 2018. https://www.ancestry.com/mediaui-viewer/tree/10069058/person/-557883754/media/33153_b061582-01198?_phsrc=TGf5&_phstart=successSource.

"E.R. Walthers - Death Certificate." Ancestry. Accessed April 21, 2018. https://www.ancestry.com/mediaui-viewer/tree/10069058/person/-557883754/media/33154_b062785-01600?_phsrc=TGf5&_phstart=successSource.

"E.R. Walthers - Mary Ferrell Database." A Record From Mary Ferrell's Database. Accessed April 21, 2018. https://www.maryferrell.org/marysdb.html?id=9917.

"Eddie Raymond "Buddy" Walthers (1928-1969) - Find..." Find A Grave. Accessed April 21, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/28033425/eddie-raymond-walthers.

"Guest Post: The Ruth Paine House – A Place in History." The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. November 18, 2016. Accessed April 21, 2018. https://www.jfk.org/ruth-paine-house/.

President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, “Buddy Walthers’ entire Key Person file,” JFK Witnesses, accessed April 23, 2018, http://jfkwitnesses.omeka.net/admin/items/show/495

Simkin, John. "Buddy Walthers." Spartacus Educational. Accessed April 21, 2018. http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKwalthersB.htm.

Simkin, John. "Buddy Walthers." The Education Forum. July 19, 2012. Accessed April 21, 2018. http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/topic/12549-buddy-walthers/.

The Warren Commission, “Buddy Walthers’ entire Warren Commission testimony,” JFK Witnesses, accessed April 23, 2018, http://jfkwitnesses.omeka.net/admin/items/show/496

Walthers