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Sheriff Lawrence I. Smoyer | Boone County Sheriff's Department, Nebraska Boone County Sheriff's Department, Nebraska


Lawrence I. Smoyer

Boone County Sheriff's Department, Nebraska

End of Watch: Thursday, June 17, 1937

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 41

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Deceased, never charged

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Sheriff Lawrence Smoyer and Constable William Wathen were shot and killed while investigating a farmer's report of two suspicious men hiding behind haystacks in his meadow, 23 miles northwest of Albion.

The two men opened fire when the officers approached them. Sheriff Smoyer died at the scene and Constable Wathen succumbed to his wounds five months later.

In 1965 a monument was erected as a tribute to both officers on the spot where they were killed.

The case remained unsolved until October 2017 when the child one of the suspects contacted authorities and provided additional details of the crime. Authorities determined there was enough evidence to try both suspects had they still been living. Neither suspect was ever charged in the slayings, although Nebraska authorities went as far as obtaining an arrest warrant for one of them in 1938. But by then, the suspect had pled guilty to an unrelated bank robbery in Colorado and was sent to prison. Under the law of the time, he could not be extradited to face more serious charges in Nebraska.

Sheriff Smoyer was survived by his wife and six children.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Constable William Wathen
Boone County Sheriff's Department, Nebraska
End of Watch: Sunday, October 3, 1937
Cause: Gunfire

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