Saturday, October 22, 2022

100 Year Old Unsolved Murder of Sarasota Mayor Harry Higel on Siesta Key Has the Ingredients For a Full Length Feature Blockbuster Movie

Plenty of friction between Harry Higel and Rube Allyn from 1913 to 1921, both ran for Mayor of Sarasota 3 times, Harry Higel won all three times. Harry Higel was of direct German heritage, murdered on Friday morn January 7th 1921, case remains unsolved 100 years later. Later in July 1921 City of Sarasota breaks away from Manatee County and becomes Sarasota County mostly due to ineffective investigation of Higel's murder and possible tainted Manatee County Grand Jury that freed the 'oh so guilty' Rube Allyn. Manatee County Grand Jury was a "Kangaroo Court" at least two members of the Grand Jury were personal friends, drinking buddies, and/or newspaper associates of Rube Allyn. On top of all this you have the supposed murder weapon, a Colt revolver with a broken grip, that appears to have been used to pistol whip Harry Higel on Jan 7th, 1921, found buried on Siesta Key with 6 live bullets, 100 years after the murder

The Real Story of Unsolved Murder of Harry Higel (by Rube Allyn) and the arson of the Higelhurst Hotel (by Rube Allyn) all on Siesta Key reads like a script for an action/drama blockbuster movie. During the process of doing my research on Mr Higel's murder and all the characters linked to him and putting it all together, I felt like the story read like a screenplay for a blockbuster movie. For every dirty deal linked to newsman Rube Allyn his pal private eye pal Noel Mitchell (also short term mayor of St Pete) was always right there. The Higel story/movie would be a period piece, set from 1913 to 1921 in Sarasota, Siesta Key, Bradenton and St Pete Fl. Sarasota mayor Harry Higel and newsman Rube Allyn were neighbors and biter rivals on the north end of Siesta Key. Sarasota city residents complained of  mishandling of unsolved murder of Sarasota Mayor Harry Higel by Manatee County Grand Jury and caused split form Bradentown Politicians and Manatee County.

In the early 1900's a photo was published of an assortment of local Sarasota men in front of the Bay Island Hotel on Siesta Key Fl. In the photo murder suspect Rube Allyn is seen at the far left, he hardly ever wore a hat. In the same photo, on the far right 3rd from the end is Mayor Harry Higel, he almost always wore a straw hat and had a mustache in later years. The photo depicts the big difference in size and height between the 6' 2" Rube Allyn and the 5' 4" Mayor Harry Higel.

HARRY HIGEL MURDER TIMELINE: On Friday morn Jan 7th, 1921 at about 7:30 AM Bill Reed a carpenter driving to work on a Key house saw Rube Allyn near where Harry Higel's body was found on Siesta Key, he knew Rube. Rose Allyn, Rube's wife, later confirmed Rube was out of the house sometime before 7:30 am. Campers Charles Rodman and Herman Rosener had set up tents near the beach and were able to see and identify Rube Allyn as the man they saw a few minutes before 8:00 AM walking in the vicinity of where Harry Higel would be found at 8:30 AM. Campers Rodman and Rosener also spoke about a car parked in the vicinity near the beach, that most likely belonged to Rube Allyn. Manuel McMullen a worker at the shell pit near Mangrove Ave (Siesta Dr) spoke directly to Harry Higel at 8:10 AM, he was to deliver wood to the Higel house at 8:30 AM Friday January 1921. Rube Allyn most likely murdered Harry Higel during a pistol whipping with his Colt revolver and then drove down to the Givens Street bridge and threw the bloody Colt revolver into Bayou Louise and then returned home.

If a movie was ever cast for the 'Unsolved Murder of Harry Higel' on Siesta Key Fl, Leonardo DiCaprio would be a shoe in for the tall, erratic, hard drinking Irish newsman Rube Allyn character. Harry Higel Movie: Dirty Politics in Florida, America in WWI against the Germans in 1917, Anti-German Sentiment in America (Sarasota), RMS Lusitania Sunk by German U-boat in 1915 with Rube Allyn's best pal onboard, Harry Higelhurst Hotel arson on Siesta Key in 1917, Prohibition January 17, 1920 when the Volstead Act but Rube Allyn and his pal Noel Mitchell often drunk, unsavory private investigators in St Pete linked to Noel Mitchell who carried Colt revolvers, unsolved Harry Higel Murder on Siesta Key in 1921, rigged Manatee County Grand Jury that let Rube Allyn go in 1921, and finally a buried loaded Colt revolver with a broken grip found Buried 100 years later on Siesta Key in 2019 that links to Higel's murder. You can't make this stuff up, it all really happened.

The Higel story pivots around WWI and America's induction in April 1917 to fight the Germans in France and it's effect in Florida. Rube Allyn hated Harry Higel who was of German heritage. In the years leading up to and during World War I, the US experienced a wave of anti-German sentiment, fueled by super-patriotism (Rube Allyn) and xenophobia, that resulted in open hostility toward all things German. Rube Allyn's friend, idol and mentor Elbert Hubbard and his wife were on the RMS Lusitania passenger ship that was torpedoed by a German U-Boat killing 1,195 including 128 Americans on May 7, 1915. The disaster set off a chain of events that led to the U.S. entering World War I in 1917. Rube Allyn was devastated by his friend Elbert Hubbard's murder by the Germans. Sarasota Mayor Harry Higel murdered by newsman Rube Allyn simply because he was of German heritage, it was WWI on Siesta Key.

Former Sarasota Mayor Harry Higel had built his Higelhurst Hotel in 1915 at the very north tip of Gulfmead Dr on Siesta Key Fl, it was burned down in 1917, Rube Allyn lived next door. According to an article in the Tampa Tribune on March 30th 1917 (just days before America entered WWI against the Germans), the HigelHurst Hotel was a two story building and had an old fashioned Virginia portico extending all along the West front of the building facing Big Pass and what is now Lido beach.The Higelhurst Hotel on N Siesta Key was at the entrance to Big Pass on Sarasota Bay with an unobstructed view of the Gulf of Mexico. The Higelhurst Hotel was also near the site where Harry Higel was murdered in 1921, the case remains unsolved.

Back story on Higelhurst Hotel arson was Harry Higel's link to Germany and even the Hotel name 'Hurst' links to a region in Germany. Higelhurst Hotel was torched on March 30th, 1917 (by Rube Allyn), three days later On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson went before a joint session of Congress to request a declaration of war against Germany which was granted, Rube Allyn was ecstatic. Rube Allyn was a war hawk and hated Germans. Rube wanted to join the Army when he was in his 50's to go and kill Germans in 1917. The story also gets involved with Prohibition that began on January 17, 1920 when the Volstead Act went into effect. Rube Allyn's best pal and drinking buddy was private eye Noel Mitchell also the Mayor of St Pete, for only 1 1/2 years. 

Mayor Noel Mitchell was kicked out of office in Nov 1921 for drunken office party during Prohibition at City Hall raided by St Pete cops, Rube Allyn was there. Rube Allyn was often drunk in Sarasota or on benders with Noel Mitchell in St Pete. Noel Mitchell was a private investigator who owned the Mitchell Private Detective Agency in St Pete that employed rough and tumble guys with guns, Colt revolvers, just like the one used to kill Harry Higel. Noel Mitchell carried a Colt revolver and had a concealed carry permit from the Pinellas County Sheriff. Allyn and Mitchell both ignored Prohibition and both were arrested and jailed for public drunkenness on multiple occasions between 1913 and 1921. Both Allyn and Mitchell were connected to other unsolved violent murders.

"Loaded Gun Found Buried on Siesta Key": 1920's Era Colt Revolver Found Buried on Siesta Key Verified by Sarasota County Sheriff Cold Case Detective as Possible Link to Murder of Sarasota Mayor Harry Higel. Get real here, nobody buries a perfectly fine, loaded Colt revolver with a broken grip on Siesta Key unless it was used in the bludgeoning murder of former Sarasota Mayor Harry Higel on Friday January 7tth, 1921. The Colt revolver went into the muck and mud of salt water wetland on Siesta Key in 1921 looking real shiny and pretty as seen in the top photo and came out of the ground 100 years later a rusty mess. But 6 live bullets remained in the cylinder of the Colt revolver, I have the cylinder, Colt grips with damage, barrel parts and the bullets on my desk.

The 100 year old Colt revolver found buried in the mud on Siesta Key that most likely links to the pistol whipping murder of Sarasota Mayor Harry Higel on Jan 7th, 1921 had deep gouges and scratches and a piece missing on the bottom of the hard rubber grips. The deep gouges and scratches and the missing piece would strongly indicate the Colt revolver was used to hit a hard, sharp, jagged object like the skull and teeth of Sarasota mayor Harry Higel. According to Dr Halton's medical report the multiple blows to Harry Higel's head fractured the bones in his head thus most likely leaving marks on the weapon, especially if it was the hard rubber Colt revolver's grips.

Photo credit screenshot Tampa Morning Tribune: TALL MAN MUST HAVE HIT HIGEL: Rube Allyn was a big strong man at over 6' 2" tall, with long arms and big fists and he wore a size 13 shoe, almost always canvas shoes (sneakers) with no socks. Rube was farm tough, supposedly he did work on a farm during the summer months. Harry Higel would have been no match in a street fight with an experienced bar-room brawler like Rube Allyn who was bigger and stronger than the much smaller Harry Higel at 5' 4" tall, in what appears to have occurred at the cor of Mangove Ave and Higel Ave on Friday morn Jan 7, 1921. Harry Higel's short height is hereditary as his father Frank Higel Sr was only 5' 0" feet tall. Rube Allyn was arrested after circumstantial evidence indicated he was the correct suspect in Mr Higel's murder. 

Sarasota Dr Halton's medical report to the Coroners Jury on Friday evening Jan 7th, 1921, the day Harry Higel was murdered, indicated multiple depressed fractures to his skull, multiple broken facial bones, and at least one compound skull fracture. A Manatee County Coroners Jury inquiry convened by County Judge Cary B. Fish in Bradentown Fl found probable cause to arrest Rube Allyn Sr for Harry Higel's murder on Friday Jan 7, 1921. At a Coroners Jury inquiry investigating the murder of Harry Higel several witnesses gave testimony as to have seen Rube Allyn Sr near the Higel crime scene. Manatee County Judge Cary B. Fish convened the jury at about 3:00 pm Friday Jan 7th, 1921 in Bradentown Fl. The Coroners Jury viewed the remains of Mr Harry Higel at the Sarasota morgue and returned to the Bradentown City Hall to take testimony. Evidence discovered by the Coroners Jury was turned over to the Manatee County Grand Jury for indictment of Rube Allyn.

Sarasota Fl Jan 7th, 1921, Dr Halton's medical report on murdered Harry Higel indicates at least 5 blows to his head from a heavy solid object, most likely a pistol whipping. Harry Higel was not hit by a car, he was targeted by what appears to be Rube Allyn, his neighbor. Wounds were found on the right side of the head above the eye and on the left side of the head also above the eye indicating Mr Higel was facing his murderer (Rube Allyn) when struck. Multiple wounds were also found on the top and back of Mr Higel's head indicating he most likely was hit when he was on the ground. The multiple wounds on Mr Higel's head appear to be depressed fractures from Dr John Halton's report, possibly caused from a pistol whipping.

Dr Halton's medical report to the Coroners Jury on Friday evening Jan 7th, 1921, the day Harry Higel was murdered, indicated multiple depressed fractures to the skull, multiple broken facial bones, and at least one compound skull fracture. Mr. Higel suffered multiple depressed fractures all over his head as per Dr Halton's report. "The mark of the weapon was clearly shown with a hole in the skull made by the pointed end of the weapon". The holes in Mr Higel's skull are called depressed fractures. Mr Higel's injuries, that led to his death, most likely would have been caused by a pistol whipping, the butt of the Colt revolver has a pointed end, see photo above.

In Sarasota Rube Allyn hated 3 time Mayor Harry Higel, he could never beat him. Siesta Key was sparsely populated from 1917 to 1921 only about 40 people lived there full time. When Harry Higel's Higelhurst Hotel burned to the ground (arson) on Friday morn March 30th, 1917, Rube Allyn was there and living nearby on the north end of Siesta Key, he was a person of interest. Sarasota County residents complained of mishandling of unsolved murder of Sarasota Mayor Harry Higel by Manatee County Grand Jury caused a  split form Bradentown/ Manatee County Politicians in 1921.

Sarasota's Rube Allyn Sr appears to have been the poster boy for someone with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). Rube Allyn Sr was a hot tempered, erratic, hard drinking Irishman whose eccentrics were condemned in Sarasota. Rube was known for fierce outbursts of temper. Rube was venomously bitter when confronted or disagreed with and frequently drunk in Sarasota. Rube had been in bitter disagreements with Harry Higel for years. Rube's testimony before a US Senate Committee in Feb. 1918 reveled a racist, bigoted man who hated Jews and German speaking people. Rube acted violently and impulsively and was arrested for Attempted Murder during the commission of a Hate Crime in Philadelphia in 1918, he also shot a neighbor boy Brooks Brewer, 19, in Ruskin with a shotgun in 1929 for no apparent reason. Someone with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) could destroy property, react way out of proportion to things that happen and could attack or kill another person. Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) involves repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts in which the affected person reacts grossly out of proportion to the situation (Rube Allyn Sr.) and then going into a deep depression. Rage, domestic abuse, throwing or breaking objects, or other temper tantrums may be signs of Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). Intermittent Explosive Disorder is a chronic disorder that can continue for years, although the severity of outbursts may decrease with age. Problems with alcohol often occur along with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (Rube Allyn Sr often drunk). The explosive verbal and behavioral outbursts are out of proportion to the situation (Rube Allyn Sr), with no thought to consequences, and can include: Tirades, Heated Arguments, Shouting, Slapping, Shoving or Pushing, Physical Fights, Property Damage, Threatening or Assaulting People (Rube Allyn Sr). They're often perceived by others as always being angry. They may have frequent verbal fights (Rube Allyn Sr) or there can be physical abuse.

On Friday morn Jan 7th 1921 at about 8:30 am former Sarasota mayor Harry L. Higel was found brutally beaten around the head lying in a pool of blood at the corner of Mangrove Ave and Higel Ave on Siesta Key Fl. Witness Manuel Davis a worker for Harry Higel spoke with him from 8:00 am to 8:10 am on Mangrove Ave near the Shell pit about a load of wood to be delivered to Higel's house around the corner on Higel Ave. Witness M. L. Reed and others saw Rube Allyn between 8:00 am and 8:30 am making his way along the Key near where Harry Higel's body was found. Sarasota mayor Harry Lee Higel was murdered by newsman Rube Allyn during a pistol whipping on Friday morn Jan 7th, 1921 at the north end of Siesta Key Fl.
Why were no photographs taken of Rube Allyn's size 13 shoe prints next to where Harry Higel's body had laid in the sand that led off in the direction of Rube Allyn's house on Gulfmead Dr? Siesta Key was sparsely populated from 1917 to 1921 only about 40 people lived there full time, how many wore a size 13 shoe?

When Harry Higel was beat to death on Friday morn January 7th, 1921 on Siesta Key Fl, Rube Allyn was there and living nearby. The real Rube Allyn, a veteran newspaperman and media darling who put himself in the spotlight every chance he got, would have set up shop on the corner of Mangrove Ave (Siesta Dr) and Higel Ave where Harry Higel was found and held a press conference and lead the crowd searching for Mr Higel's killer, he did not. Rube was the correct suspect and arrested for murder. Veteran newspaper guy Rube Allyn took no part in the manhunt on Siesta Key looking for Harry Higel's murderer. Rube stayed home and hid in his Gulmead Dr house until the Manatee County Deputy Sheriff came to his front door, “That's all too coincidental to be a coincidence.” The footprints, tracks in the sand near the where the body of Harry Higel had laid at the cor of Mangrove and Higel Ave on Friday morn Jan 7th 1921 leading in the direction of Rube Allyn's house are very significant as Rube Allyn was one of the few men on Siesta Key who wore a size 13 shoe. A search of Rube Allyn's house on Friday January 7th 1921 at about 11:00 am found a pair of trousers belonging to Rube Allyn Sr that had been recently washed and were still wet. When examining Rube Allyn’s house the Deputy Sheriff noted a pair of canvas shoes with a rubber sole that appeared to be similar to those that left tracks at the scene of the crime. This was enough evidence for Rube Allyn Sr to be arrested. Apparently no photographs of the size 13 footprints in the sand next to where Harry Higel's body had laid were taken to match with Rube Allyn's size 13 canvas shoes. This would have been direct evidence that Rube Allyn was at the crime scene.

The Herald Tribune Newspaper in Sarasota did an article about the Higel murder, "100 years later, the murder of popular Sarasota mayor Harry Higel remains unsolved", by Billy Cox, Jan 7th, 2021. The Herald Tribune pointed out that "on March 9, 1921, Rube Allyn was released after a grand jury deliberated for 10 minutes. Sarasota private investigator Bill Warner claims on his website the jury was filled with Allyn’s “newspaper pals and drinking buddies.” Bill Warner says Higel’s injuries are consistent with a pistol-whipping; in fact, he says rusted fragments of a .32 caliber pocket Colt revolver – manufactured between 1907 and 1922 – were recovered near a Givens Street canal in November 2019. He says the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the make and the approximate time range of its manufacture. “You’d never throw away a revolver like that with six live bullets in it unless you’d committed a crime,” Bill Warner says. Like I said this Higel story looks like a script for a blockbuster movie. see

Bill Warner Private Investigator Sarasota 941-926-1926 - Cheaters and Child Custody Cases, website

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