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Authorities Hunt For Suspects in Killing of Banker’s Wife

September 19, 1985

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) _ Investigators questioned residents of an affluent neighborhood Thursday for leads in the slaying of a woman whose bank president husband had been ordered to come up with a large amount of money to keep her alive, authorities said.

The body of Rebecca Jo Patton, 42, was found sprawled in a hallway of her home in suburban Alamo Heights moments after her husband, the president of a San Antonio bank, received the threat Wednesday from an anonymous telephone caller.

Frank Patton Jr. called police immediately, but Mrs. Patton was dead when they arrived at the home.

On Thursday, officials focused on a van that was seen in the neighborhood, FBI spokesman Pat Cowley said.

″What, if any, connection it has to this event is unknown, but we are trying to identify that van and the driver,″ Cowley said.

Investigators also questioned residents in the neighborhood about the van and whether they had noticed anything suspicious, he said.

Mrs. Patton was shot several times with a small-caliber weapon and there were no signs of a struggle, Cowley said.

Patton, president of Castle Hills National Bank, had gathered some money from the bank and taken it to North Star Mall, where the alleged extortionist told him to wait for a telephone call, Cowley said. The call never came.

Cowley, who would not say how much the caller had requested or how much the banker had gathered, said he could not theorize on why the woman was shot before the extortion money was turned over.

Authorities have no suspects and are not sure how many people were involved, Cowley said.

″There was one phone call. One person on the phone. The possibility exists there were accomplices,″ he said.

An autopsy was ordered on the body, but results were not available Thursday.

Mrs. Patton’s death was announced during Wednesday night services at First Presbyterian Church, where the Rev. Jim Singleton said the Pattons were active.

″We all prayed. There were lots of tears,″ said Singleton. ″She was so loving, caring and compassionate. ...

″She has been about as model a youth adviser as you’d want to see,″ he said. ″She’s a tremendous mother. Those kids are so well-adjusted,″ Singleton said.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Patton is survived by daughters, Amy, 14, and Kathleen, 10.

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