Ovida "Cricket" Coogler was last seen alive entering a mysterious car driven by an unknown man in downtown Las Cruces, New Mexico, around 3:00 on the morning of March 31, 1949. Seventeen days later, her body was found in a hastily dug grave near Mesquite, New Mexico. The discovery of the eighteen-year-old waitress's body launched a series of court inquiries and trials that would reshape the direction of New Mexico politics, expose political corruption, and spawn generations of rumors that have polarized opinions of what happened to Coogler that windy March morning.
Containing elements of mystery, conflict, power, fear, sex, and politics, the Coogler case has outlasted the brief amount of attention that most local unsolved murders receive. In this exhaustively researched study of the murder and its aftermath, Paula Moore provides the first objective account to examine the infamous murder and the events that unfolded in its wake.