The Odio Incident

Silvia Odio.
Silvia Odio.

One of the stories that greatly concerned the Warren Commission was that of Silvia Odio of Dallas, who said that in late September she had been visited by three men, one of whom was introduced as "Leon" Oswald. The three had been looking for her help regarding a letter soliticing funds for JURE, a Cuban exile organization (Mrs. Odio's father was a prominent political prisoner in Cuba, and thus her name was worth something). The visitors represented themselves as "working in the underground," and Oswald's companions used the "war names" Leopoldo and Angelo (or Angel).

The day following the visit Leopoldo phoned Mrs. Odio and discussed Oswald, saying that he was an excellent shot and that Oswald had said that President Kennedy should have been assassinated after the Bay of Pigs. When Kennedy was murdered in Dallas two months later, Silvia fainted upon hearing the news and recognizing Oswald. Her account of what had happened soon reached the FBI and later the Warren Commission. The story was corroborated by her sister Annie, who had briefly seen the visitors.

The Warren Commission, in part because its chronology put Oswald on his way to Mexico City on the dates in question, ultimately dismissed Silvia Odio's story. Just a few days before the publication of the Warren Report, the FBI responded to a Commission request by saying that they had located the three men who had paid the visit - Loran Hall, Lawrence Howard, and William Seymour. But Howard and Seymour disputed the claim, and within days Hall had retracted the story.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations reviewed the entire affair and conducted several witness interviews of its own. In its Final Report, the HSCA criticized the Warren Commission's reasons for dismissing the story, and concluded that "The Committee was inclined to believe Silvia Odio."

Some researchers, most prominently the La Fontaines in their book Oswald Talked, have focused on the account of Lucille Connell, who told authorities that Silvia had told her that "he [Oswald] had made some talks to small groups of Cuban refugees in Dallas," and that Odio personally considered Oswald "brilliant and clever." This strange idea harkens back to Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers' claim that Alpha-66 members held meetings at 3128 (or 3126) Harlendale Street in Dallas.

RESOURCES:

Essays

Sylvia Odio vs. Liebeler & the La Fontaines, by Jim DiEugenio.

Understanding Sylvia Odio: What the La Fontaines Don't Tell You, by Steve Bochan.

Did Silvia Odio Lie?, by Dave Reitzes.

The Odio-Connell Mystery, by Fair Play.

Unredacted Episode 1: Transcript of Interview with Joan Mellen, by Unredacted.


Other Links

Sylvia Odio page on Spartacus Educational.


Documents

Warren Report:

Warren Commission Volumes:

Warren Commission Exhibits:

  • CE 2390 - FBI reports dated September 8, 12, 1964, of interviews of Mrs. Robert D. Rogers; Osvaldo Aurelio Pino Pino and ...
  • CE 2907 - FBI report dated July 30, 1964, of interview of Annie Laurie Odio at Miami, Fla.
  • CE 2942 - FBI report dated August 5, 1964, concerning results of interview with Annie Laurie Odio
  • CE 2943 - Letter dated May 5, 1964, from Secret Service to Commission, concerning interview of Father Walter J. McChann
  • CE 3045 - Letter dated August 28, 1964, from Commission to FBI, concerning allegations of Mrs. Silvia Odio of Dallas, Tex.
  • CE 3108 - FBI report dated November 29, 1963, of interview of Mrs. C. L. Connell at Dallas, Tex.
  • CE 3146 - Letter dated September 21, 1964, from FBI to Commission, concerning claim of Sylvia Odio that Lee Harvey Oswald ...
  • CE 3147 - FBI report dated September 10, 1964, of interview of Sylvia Odio at Dallas, Tex.
  • CE 3148 - FBI report dated September 8, 1964, at Miami, Fla., of investigation pertaining to Sylvia Odio
 

More Documents

Warren Commission Documents:

  • CD 854 - SS Aragon Report of 24 Apr 1964 re: Sylvia Odio
  • CD 1546 - FBI Gemberling Report of 08 Oct 1964 re: Oswald - Russia/Cuba, p.177
  • CD 1553 - FBI Letter from Director of 09 Nov 1964 with Attached Reports re: Sylvia Odio

HSCA Final Report

HSCA Report, Appendix IV:

HSCA Report, Appendix X:

HSCA Report, Appendix XI:

HSCA Administrative Folder O10: Sylvia Odio. FBI Branigan to Sullivan memo of 18 May 1967, reviewing Odio matter with attachments.

HSCA Administrative Folder L2: Jack Anderson Column JFK-MLK, p.12. Includes discussion of Buddy Walthers' 11-23 report about Alpha-66 and Harlendale Street.

1968 CIA memo. Summarizes FBI investigation into the possibility that Loren Hall, Lawrence Howard, and William Seymour visited Sylvia Odio.

1978 CIA Memo from Riefe to Breckenridge. Continuation of Research for Identity of Persons who Visited the Home of Mrs. Sylvia Odio in Dallas, Texas in September 1963.

1975 CIA Memo from Brown to Chief, Security Analysis Group. Concerns intern inquiry into CIA involvement with Loran Eugene Hall.

Related Starting Points

Books of Interest

    The Second Oswald
Richard H. Popkin
Avon Books, 1966
 
    Oswald Talked
Ray and Mary La Fontaine
Pelican Publishing Company, 1996
 
    Accessories After the Fact
Sylvia Meagher
Skyhorse Publishing, 2013
 
    Coincidence or Conspiracy?
Committee to Investigate Assassinations
Kensington Publishing Corp., 1977
 
    The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond
Scott, P.D., Hoch P.L. and Stetler, R.
Vintage Books, 1976
 
    Conspiracy
Anthony Summers
Paragon House, 1980
 
    A Farewell To Justice
Joan Mellen
Potomac Books, 2005


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