The Strange Death of Dr. Mary Sherman
On July 21, 1964 the body of Dr. Mary Sherman was found in her apartment after Juan Valdes, a Cuban customs house broker, phoned the police. According to Joan Mellen in A Farewell to Justice
Mary Sherman's body was found with unspeakable wounds: on the right side of her body, flesh and bone had evaporated so that her right rib cage and all of her right arm had disintegrated. The massive conflagration necessary to cause her bones to evaporate would have converted the entire apartment complex to ashes had her injuries been inflicted at the Patios. Yet the curtains hadn't even caught on fire.
Mary Sherman, however, was not killed by spontaneous human combustion. The immediate cause of death was a knife wound in the heart. Ed Haslam, in his book Mary, Ferrie and the Monkey Virus
, speculates that Dr. Mary Sherman was so tragically disfigured in either an accident or act of sabotage at a linear particle accelerator at the soon to be vacated U.S. Public Health Hospital, where he believes some sort of covert research took place.
Mr. and Mrs. Owen Hawes were neighbors of Juan Valdes during the summer of 1963. Mrs. Hawes got to know Valdes who asked her to accept packages for him. Also, he asked to use her phone for long distance calls, although he had his own phone. Many of the calls were to Cuba and Miami.
One day a caller appeared at her door asking, "Is this Juan's apartment?" In one of history's strange coincidences she recognized him. They had attended Beauregard Junior High School together. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald, although she had known him as "Harvey." After that, she saw Lee Oswald frequently with Juan Valdes. Victoria Hawes also observed that both Oswald and Valdes were friendly with Dr. Mary Sherman.
(According to researcher John Armstrong, in his mammoth book Harvey and Lee
, school records show that Oswald attended Beauregard Junior High School beginning in the Fall of 1953. Oddly, other records show that at the same time
Oswald attended PS#44 in New York. Armstrong theorizes that there were in fact two people sharing the identity of Lee Harvey Oswald as far back as Junior High School.) This seems unlikely but I do not have a better explanation.
CIA-linked reporter Hoke May told journalist Don Lee Keith that Mary Sherman had been a close friend of David Ferrie, an associate of Guy Banister, whose detective agency served as a focal point for CIA activities in New Orleans, some apparently involving Lee Harvey Oswald. At this time Oswald was contacting anti-Castro Cubans, while demonstrating in favor of Castro.