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Thread: NM - Double murder of Mattie Restine (13) & Patty Pritz (14), Carlsbad, 1961 - #1

  1. #801
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    Don't Go Away...

    The thing that has impressed me most with this forum is the respect everyone, for the most part, has shown one another - even when there are differing opinions. I wouldn't personally be able to continue otherwise, as I've seen how some forums lacking this premise operate. As a powerful communicator and with your experience, Pecos45, you have brought much to this discussion. You would be greatly missed if you leave.

    While some may not be as open with their personal information, I can assure you there are others on this forum who do understand how law enforcement and the legal system work. I don't believe anyone here has any preconceived notions of how this case will end or doesn't realize the obstacles in its solution. Yet we choose to do the best we can with what we have.

    Something has drawn us all here to this forum, whether personal experience, desire to help, curiosity or fate... Since all we have to go on is "wishful thinking" and "long shots," let's make the best of it. Maybe by acting as if this case could be solved, it will be.

    I don't know when or how we'll get there, but it sure would be nice to have you at the finish line, Pecos.


    P.S. A wise Websleuther once quoted to me, "Hope springs eternal." (See Post #742 attributed to Pecos45)
    Last edited by Legacy; 12-05-2009 at 08:03 PM. Reason: Add P.S.

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  3. #802
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    Pecos, I don't want you to leave either. Most of us are armchair sleuths, whereas you've got an actual background in law enforcement.

    I know in the chain of evidence all the dots have to be connected, and it is highly unlikely they are going to get connected in this case. So my theory is to do what can be done for Anne's sake, no matter how small an advance we make, and that's if we can advance this at all.

    If something can be done to narrow the field of POIs, then I'm all for it. If someone went out to the crime scene with a metal detector, and did get lucky and find a spent musket ball, we can eliminate quite a few POIs. If a spent bullet is found, we can eliminate the 3 people who may have had access to a percussion pistol. Doing so may not bring us much closer to solving this, but it would take something that had previously been in the unknown column, and put it in the known column. If the lead has deteriorated to be ballistically worthless, so be it. I do realize I'm still over-simplifying things, and it really wouldn't conclusively prove we'd found a link to the possible murder weapon, but it'd be better than the almost nothing we have now as regards to the weapon that may have fired the shots that killed the girls.

    Now, you might deflate my tires or take the wind out of my sails for a day or two with your candor, but the blunt truth is always something I want to hear.

    You have far more to bring to this case than I ever will, and your input is highly valued by me!
    Last edited by justthinkin; 12-05-2009 at 06:45 PM.

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  5. #803
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    I hope to get back to body site in January and do some metal detecting. But I agree totally with Pecos45, it’s a very, very long shot. I’ve done acres of detecting and in every acre there are tons of metal – barbed wire, tin cans, rebar, buckshot, and every type of caliber bullet you can image. There may have been few true rabbit hunters at the site, but plenty of other hunters and target shooters. I’ll get plenty of hits, but finding the actual murder bullets is remote. But metal detecting is always worth it – rebar makes good garden stakes!

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  7. #804
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    Tom, I apologize for casting Finder as our resident "metal detector." I've done enough of this to know it's tedious work at best. And you left out pull tabs and bottle tops as "finds."

    Maybe you'll find something much better than a bullet. Maybe you'll find an old ID bracelet or something more identifying that may have been dropped. I've always been curious about Blaire going out and "discovering" the scene. Considering his background and his son's, that is an annoying coincidence for me.

    Whatever he was looking for....did he find it? Maybe you will. At least this time of year I doubt you'll get snake bit for trying.

    Take your digital camera. You might see something you want to photograph.

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  9. #805
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    Thanks

    Thank you who have asked me to stay in spite of my sometimes discouraging comments. All of you have struggled longer and harder with this tragedy than I have and I have no right to discourage anyone...even if in my little mind I am trying to keep us focused on what we can and can't really expect to achieve.

    If I get too annoying, please, someone tell me to buzz off. I'll more than understand. And let me stress one more time that I am NOT the ultimate authority on anything. My comments should be taken with grain of salt the same as everyone's.

    My mind is chewing on other ideas for our efforts that could take everything in a whole new direction. Give me a day or two to put these ideas in some understandable form and I'll drop it here to see what everyone thinks.

    Stay warm and healthy. Jim

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  11. #806
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    Hello Sleuthers,
    Pecos I do have a background in law and I'm afraid I might occasionally be more blunt than you but I don't think you upset anyone. The truth is I don't care what you found at the sight today it would never be admitted into any court of law because it could never be proven where it came from. I too believe the best hope lies in the DNA. I personally don't know enough about DNA myself to know what would be needed. I would like to have the case examined by a forensic pathologist and then we might have some better answers. I am going to start looking into finding someone in the state of NM that would be merciful enough to accomodate us for free. Of course this would require cooperation from Law Enforcement and knowing the political temperature in Carlsbad far better than I wish I did, that will probably take some pressure. Those of you that cooresponded with Tom Udall keep up the pressure and if you want more names of congressman I will gladly provide those email addresses to you. The governor's office........forget about it! I've tried on other cases and been told to hire an attorney (to sue them). They do not respond to any kind of pressure that we would could offer, not even the media gets to them. Bill Richardson isn't very high on my elected officials that are trustworthy list and I'm a die hard democrat!!! Anne, Gary King is the new Attorney General have you tried contacting his office? I would say that I would do that for you but I campaigned against him pretty fiercely and I'm afraid his office might not respond to me. I still believe this case can be solved!!!
    Last edited by Jan1966; 12-07-2009 at 07:53 PM.

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  13. #807
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    Jan1966, glad to have you on board. I was never thinking of what might be found at the crime scene in terms of what would be admissible in court. I was thinking only in terms of what might be valuable to us as a group in possibly narrowing the number of POIs. I'm not entirely ready to admit defeat on that just yet. Like Pecos, I think Blair Sr. could have gone out there looking for something. ID bracelets were very popular back then with guys, and some girls wore them as well.

    If Finder50 or Tom goes out there, finds an ID bracelet with the name David Blair on it, then I think we've got something that would stand up in a court. I may be misguided in thinking that, so if you'll explain it to me, I'd like to understand why it wouldn't be valid. Can't tests be done that would prove it came from the right time period? Perhaps the particular styling was only available during X number of years around that time. Are you saying that we've arrived at a point in time where the only good evidence is dna evidence? What's wrong with good old circumstantial evidence? Does it have no credence anymore?

    Are you aware that the girls' clothing has already been submitted for dna testing, and came back negative for foreign dna of any significance? I think push would have to come to shove to get ECSO to turn over any evidence they have, if they still have it, for a second round of testing. JMO.
    Last edited by justthinkin; 12-07-2009 at 09:12 PM.

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  15. #808
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan1966 View Post
    Hello Sleuthers,
    Pecos I do have a background in law and I'm afraid I might occasionally be more blunt than you but I don't think you upset anyone. The truth is I don't care what you found at the sight today it would never be admitted into any court of law because it could never be proven where it came from. I too believe the best hope lies in the DNA. I personally don't know enough about DNA myself to know what would be needed. I would like to have the case examined by a forensic pathologist and then we might have some better answers. I am going to start looking into finding someone in the state of NM that would be merciful enough to accomodate us for free. Of course this would require cooperation from Law Enforcement and knowing the political temperature in Carlsbad far better than I wish I did, that will probably take some pressure. Those of you that cooresponded with Tom Udall keep up the pressure and if you want more names of congressman I will gladly provide those email addresses to you. The governor's office........forget about it! I've tried on other cases and been told to hire an attorney (to sue them). They do not respond to any kind of pressure that we would could offer, not even the media gets to them. Bill Richardson isn't very high on my elected officials that are trustworthy list and I'm a die hard democrat!!! Anne, Gary King is the new Attorney General have you tried contacting his office? I would say that I would do that for you but I campaigned against him pretty fiercely and I'm afraid his office might not respond to me. I still believe this case can be solved!!!
    No, I haven't written any more letters. I can write Gary King. I don't mind writing the letters. Might as well get turn down from them all. I emailed Investigator Richard Sillas on Dec. 1st and I still don't have an answer to the questions I asked him. So I'm sure he isn't going to answer my emails now.
    In order to get some hope of different DNA...that would have to come Patty's body...wouldn't it?
    Thank you for the help.

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  17. #809
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    Nichols As a Suspect

    As everyone is all too aware, my instinct leans toward Nichols as a suspect in the murders and I have probably sounded like a broken record in this respect.

    In an effort to help Sunshine and after her introduction, I was able to speak with someone in the Nichols family who shared details surrounding this family's suspicions and their origination. I have documented my conversation and our plan is to email this information to the ECSO once it is finalized and approved as to form by the family member. This will not only establish written documentation of the information, but also provide a third party witness to the family member's statements.

    The daughter who lived in Carlsbad who Nichols was visiting shared details of Nichols' visit and activities surrounding the murders with her sister during a private conversation. She may have been the only person she ever shared these details with. Although she was 94 years old, the sister who was told the information died somewhat unexpectedly this past October before the family was able to videotape her statement.

    A couple of the key details we all should know about Nichols (there may be more later):

    Nichols left town suddenly, shortly after the murders, although his plan was to have stayed longer. His daughter told her sister that she thought their father had killed the girls. There was something wrong with his car. It was a mess. It had something all over it. The 94 year old sister, by the time she shared this with her daughter, could not remember if the something was all over the outside or the inside of the vehicle.

    Nichols had scratches and marks on him as if he had been in a struggle.

    Nichols later told his daughter from Carlsbad that he had been at the beach and had seen the girls making a phone call for a ride home. He told her that whoever they wanted to come get them couldn't, so someone had offered them a ride and they went with that someone. Nichols' daughter had shared this with her own daughter before either of them had any confirmation about such a phone call being made. Once they learned that there had been a phone call made through newspaper and other accounts, it only added to their suspicion. By his own statements, Nichols placed himself at the beach and as one of the last people to see the girls alive.

    Now, we know that Linda Lou Roberts reported seeing the girls walk by her house after they left the beach, so we know Nichols' statement was not entirely true.

    As I told Sunshine recently, I just wonder if Nichols didn't himself offer them a ride which they initially refused. He then could have followed them to Mesquite Street - the first residential street they turned off after leaving busy Church Street and re-offered the ride, this time brandishing a gun. I believe this could have been the subject Bunnell saw holding something in his hand as he approached the girls on Mesquite.

    Nichols was very young in appearance and agile for his age. This family member has no doubts that he could have pulled off the murders. He was not a tall man, and like most men in the family may have worn a size 8-9 (maybe 71/2?) shoe. They mostly preferred the pull on type work boot, without laces.

    The report will show ID numbers for the 53 Chevrolet Nichols would have been driving at the time. It comes as no surprise that Nichols would have been very likely to have balding tires, as he had no money to speak of to keep his vehicle properly maintained.

    I know there will be questions. If I don't have the answers I can check with the Nichols' family member, as they have asked to be kept informed of what is going on. The family member I have been talking to is one of the nicest people to speak to, and would love to help Sunshine in any way possible. Other than Nichols, this family appears to be comprised of fine and upstanding citizens.

    I'll have more later...
    Last edited by Legacy; 12-07-2009 at 10:54 PM.

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  19. #810
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    Legacy, is he still alive?

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  21. #811
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    Nichols

    No, he died seventeen months after the girls were murdered of a heart attack at his home in Wichita Falls, Texas. Until that time he had enjoyed good health according to his family member. He was over 70 at the time, but given his family's account of his behavior and sexual molestation background - and his meanness - they think he did it. They know the sister who lived in Carlsbad thought he did. These suspicions were a large part due to the condition of the car and Nichols' condition with scratches and marks on him. This would have been even before he made the statements about seeing the girls at the beach, the phone call and someone giving them a ride...

    The daughter who lived in Carlsbad is also dead, as is her son who would have been a teenager around the time of the murders. She had a daughter who would only have been 1-2 years old at the time, but her mother never shared her suspicions with her. For some reason, this daughter never came forward, or to anyone's knowledge in the family told anyone else, except for the one sister who recently passed away at 94 years of age. There are no remaining living siblings out of Nichols' nine children.

    What I would love to see happen is the vehicle traced. What if it is sitting on an old farm somewhere, or in an auto salvage yard with specks of DNA still attached underneath, in the seats, etc.?

    Do you have any idea what that process would involve for a vehicle this old, or would records even still exist?
    Last edited by Legacy; 12-07-2009 at 11:26 PM.

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  23. #812
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    Legacy, outstanding work!! A simple thanks was just insufficient. This certainly breathes new life into this case. You can harp on anything anytime you like!!

    And if any member of the Nichols family may be reading this, I know we all sincerely thank you for your bravery in providing this information.

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  25. #813
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    Quote Originally Posted by justthinkin View Post
    Jan1966, glad to have you on board. I was never thinking of what might be found at the crime scene in terms of what would be admissible in court. I was thinking only in terms of what might be valuable to us as a group in possibly narrowing the number of POIs. I'm not entirely ready to admit defeat on that just yet. Like Pecos, I think Blair Sr. could have gone out there looking for something. ID bracelets were very popular back then with guys, and some girls wore them as well.

    If Finder50 or Tom goes out there, finds an ID bracelet with the name David Blair on it, then I think we've got something that would stand up in a court. I may be misguided in thinking that, so if you'll explain it to me, I'd like to understand why it wouldn't be valid. Can't tests be done that would prove it came from the right time period? Perhaps the particular styling was only available during X number of years around that time. Are you saying that we've arrived at a point in time where the only good evidence is dna evidence? What's wrong with good old circumstantial evidence? Does it have no credence anymore?

    Are you aware that the girls' clothing has already been submitted for dna testing, and came back negative for foreign dna of any significance? I think push would have to come to shove to get ECSO to turn over any evidence they have, if they still have it, for a second round of testing. JMO.
    Justthinkin has someone said that DB lost a bracelet or something to that effect?

  26. #814
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunshine 1950 View Post
    Justthinkin has someone said that DB lost a bracelet or something to that effect?
    No, Pecos just mentioned the possibility of finding something significant like an ID bracelet. I do remember how popular they were during that time period.

  27. #815
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    Quote Originally Posted by justthinkin View Post
    No, Pecos just mentioned the possibility of finding something significant like an ID bracelet. I do remember how popular they were during that time period.
    Justthinkin I asked that question....Sunshine

  28. #816
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    Good work, Legacy. I think you've convinced me this guy is worth adding to any SERIOUS suspects list. Ironic that both DB and Nichols didn't live long after the crime.

    Chances of that car still being in one piece would be million to one. Most likely it's been melted down and made into 15 different things since 1961. And I worry about any DNA evidence that could be gained if miraculously it were found in a field somewhere. Most likely the seat covers etc have disintegrated into cobwebs.

    Whatever DNA profile could be gathered by swabs from the Nichols family would be useless unless we can get some DNA from the victims.

    So many dots to connect. So few people left alive to connect them with.

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  30. #817
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pecos45 View Post
    Good work, Legacy. I think you've convinced me this guy is worth adding to any SERIOUS suspects list. Ironic that both DB and Nichols didn't live long after the crime.

    Chances of that car still being in one piece would be million to one. Most likely it's been melted down and made into 15 different things since 1961. And I worry about any DNA evidence that could be gained if miraculously it were found in a field somewhere. Most likely the seat covers etc have disintegrated into cobwebs.

    Whatever DNA profile could be gathered by swabs from the Nichols family would be useless unless we can get some DNA from the victims.

    So many dots to connect. So few people left alive to connect them with.
    What needs to happen is they need to exhume Patty's body and check her body for DNA. They really need to do that since she was the one that was raped and mutilated.

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  32. #818
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    Patty probably folded her own clothing as she took it off. The underclothing was probably forced off. It would be easy for one man to control two girls by threatening to hurt one if the other didn't cooperate. JMO

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  34. #819
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    Nichols

    Points well taken, Pecos. I'm aware of the possibilities and the million to one odds, but it is not the million that I'm focusing on at this point, it is the one.

    My question was geared more toward the registration tracing of a vehicle that old and I thought you or someone else here might know. I will check with the State of Texas, since that is more than likely where the vehicle was registered. That is the first step. My questions will involve generalities of antique car registration tracing.

    It would be nice to have a plate number and an indication of what the difference in the appearance of NM versus TX plates was at that time. I don't know if NM plates have always been so distinguishable with their bright yellow background, but maybe you can tell us.
    Last edited by Legacy; 12-08-2009 at 01:44 PM.

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  36. #820
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    Nichols

    Nichols' 94 year old daughter did leave cheek cell cotton swabs before she died, specifically for DNA purposes in this case.

    Further, Nichols' family member suggests that exhumation of Nichols' body from its burial place in Big Spring might also be agreeable to the family - if it would help in Sunshine's quest for justice for the girls. One less hurdle in obtaining a court order and addressing a fight from the family, if that is ever determined to be a plausible step.
    Last edited by Legacy; 12-08-2009 at 08:20 AM.

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  38. #821
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan1966 View Post
    Hello Sleuthers,
    Pecos I do have a background in law and I'm afraid I might occasionally be more blunt than you but I don't think you upset anyone. The truth is I don't care what you found at the sight today it would never be admitted into any court of law because it could never be proven where it came from. I too believe the best hope lies in the DNA. I personally don't know enough about DNA myself to know what would be needed. I would like to have the case examined by a forensic pathologist and then we might have some better answers. I am going to start looking into finding someone in the state of NM that would be merciful enough to accomodate us for free. Of course this would require cooperation from Law Enforcement and knowing the political temperature in Carlsbad far better than I wish I did, that will probably take some pressure. Those of you that cooresponded with Tom Udall keep up the pressure and if you want more names of congressman I will gladly provide those email addresses to you. The governor's office........forget about it! I've tried on other cases and been told to hire an attorney (to sue them). They do not respond to any kind of pressure that we would could offer, not even the media gets to them. Bill Richardson isn't very high on my elected officials that are trustworthy list and I'm a die hard democrat!!! Anne, Gary King is the new Attorney General have you tried contacting his office? I would say that I would do that for you but I campaigned against him pretty fiercely and I'm afraid his office might not respond to me. I still believe this case can be solved!!!
    Thank you! What is definitely needed is a forensic pathologist. In fact, the Nichols' family member recently said they have been told the difference between a regular doctor and a forensic pathologist is likened to the difference between a baby doctor and a brain surgeon.
    Last edited by Legacy; 12-08-2009 at 08:51 AM.

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  40. #822
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    The trouble with DNA is we can have a ton of it and still have NOTHING. We absolutely MUST have some DNA from the killer and taken from one of the girls, most likely Patty.

    Without the ability to complete this link, or as I've put it before, connect these dots...we have nothing for this case.

    I hope everyone can see this and realize its importance. Without this connection we are like a dog chasing his own tail and the best forensic pathologist in the land would have nothing to work with.

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  42. #823
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan1966 View Post
    Hello Sleuthers,
    Pecos I do have a background in law and I'm afraid I might occasionally be more blunt than you but I don't think you upset anyone. The truth is I don't care what you found at the sight today it would never be admitted into any court of law because it could never be proven where it came from.
    You raise a good and, I think, valid point here, J-66. It is so easy for all of us to forget the way a court of law looks at things in a criminal case is often far different than how we might view something. The difference can be very frustrating.

    Keep us on the path.

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  44. #824
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    Points well taken, Pecos. I'm aware of the possibilities and the odds, but it is not the million that I'm focusing on at this point, it is the one.

    My question was geared more toward the registration tracing of a vehicle that old and I thought you or someone else here might know. I will check with the State of Texas, since that is more than likely where the vehicle was registered. That is the first step. My questions will involve generalities of antique car registration tracing.

    It would be nice to have a plate number and an indication of what the difference in the appearance of NM versus TX plates was at that time. I don't know if NM plates have always been so distinguishable with their bright yellow background, but maybe you can tell us.

    As I recall, NM plates back in 1961 were pretty drab...red on white or black on white. Not very imaginative. I recall being somewhat shocked when N.M. changed to the bright yellow plates. I can't tell you the year it happened but it was long after 1961. We should be able to find this info on the internet pretty easily. In fact, I'll volunteer to look.

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  46. #825
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    NM License Plates

    OK, I did a very hurried check and I was right. In 1961 the plates were indeed red on a white field. This was true from the years 1961 through 1964.

    The bright yellow background plates didn't come along until 1965.

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