Anna Marie “Susie” <I>Miller</I> Anton

Anna Marie “Susie” Miller Anton

Washington, USA
Death 15 Dec 1986 (aged 34)
Lyons, Burt County, Nebraska, USA
Burial Greenville, Clay County, Iowa, USA
Memorial ID 101376171 · View Source
Suggest Edits

LYONS, NEB. — Citizens of this small farm town of 1,200 can recall only one other local murder in the past 30 years. Crime in the area is of such little consequence that Burt County doesn`t even have a jail.

But complacency was jolted Dec. 27, when the nude body of a woman resident was found in a field several miles from town. She had been shot.

A bigger jolt came Jan. 6, when a murder warrant was issued for Gregory Webb, 36, the town`s tall, somber police chief of nine years and a onetime soldier of fortune.

Webb, who may have fled the country, according to authorities, is now a fugitive being sought by the FBI.

Meanwhile, Nebraska state police investigators are trying to assemble the pieces of a puzzling crime for which no motive is apparent.

Webb and Anna Marie Anton, the woman who was killed, lived in separate apartments in a rented pink frame house a few blocks from Lyons` tiny downtown. Anton, 34, lived downstairs with her two Irish setters and a cat, and Webb lived upstairs. An inside stairway connected the two units.

Anton was a petite blond woman who dragged one leg and walked with a cane, the result of an automobile accident 10 years ago, say friends in Iowa. She depended on a small disability income and the kindness of her Lyons neighbors who drove her on shopping errands.

Last October, she moved to Lyons from a rural area near Spencer, Ia., shortly after a divorce.

William Slawson, an Iowa acquaintance, described Anton as a faint, late-blooming flower child who had experimented with drugs and who had attempted suicide while in her teens.

As an adult, said another Iowa friend, she was a woman ``who did not have a whole lot of things to look forward to in her life.``

In Lyons, Anton attended St. Joseph`s Catholic Church. She had come to Catholicism after a religious odyssey that took her through the Bahai faith, the Rosicrucian Society and the Episcopal Church, Slawson said.

She appeared to be a person in fear, refusing to open her door until callers identified themselves.

Several weeks before she disappeared, she gave Shirley Edgecomb, her closest neighbor in Lyons, an envelope containing the name of a woman friend in Iowa to contact ``in case anything happens to me,`` Edgecomb said Anton told her.

Mystery also surrounds Webb. The 6-foot-7, 215-pound police chief appeared aloof, unemotional and humorless, and many Lyons residents did not like him, said Mayor Mary Piper. But he was competent and cooperative, Piper said.

Webb was well-regarded by fellow Burt County lawmen as a good professional, knowledgeable of guns and the latest detection technology, and skilled at reading fingerprints.

``He was cool, smooth, not easily excited,`` said Thomas Harris, a Burt County deputy who worked with Webb. ``I`ve never seen him display ill temper.``

There was another side of Gregory Webb. He had worked as a mercenary in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) for 10 weeks in 1977, said Burt County Sheriff Leonard Canarsky, but left when he learned he could not take his money from that country.

Webb apparently continued his interest in mercenary activities. He attended a soldier-of-fortune training camp in Arizona in 1981, maintained soldiering equipment and a supply of survival foods, and kept a small cache of semiautomatic weapons. Canarsky said they included two AR-15s and a German-made Heckler and Koch rifle, favored by mercenaries in Africa.

Acquaintances in Lyons say he was an avid fan of war books and war movies.

``He was ready for the Russians to come. He was ready for it,`` said Carla Maslonka, who lived nearby.

A well-placed county source said Webb was actively involved in a burgeoning local chapter of the Committee of Ten Million, a militant anticommunist coalition of right-wing groups begun in 1980 by former 1960s Minuteman leader Robert Bolivar DePugh.

Webb was the divorced father of a 12-year-old son. He saw women in the area, but he was always concerned, said one, about his reputation.

``He was worried about gossip,`` said Linda Wells, who once occupied the apartment below Webb`s.

Acquaintances of Anton in Lyons say there was no romantic relationship between her and Webb.

``She always insisted she didn`t have anything to do with him,`` said Maslonka, who baby-sat at homes near Anton`s apartment.

But Anton`s friends in her native Iowa say otherwise. According to Slawson, Anton met Webb at a bar while he was vacationing at Lake Okoboji, Ia., last summer.

The house where Anton was living in Iowa had been sold, and she needed a place where she could take her dogs. Slawson said Webb told her of the vacant apartment below his in Lyons.

Slawson is convinced there was a relationship between the two. On the October night when he helped Anton move to Lyons, Slawson said, Anton slept with Webb in the upstairs apartment.

About a month later, Slawson said, he got a disturbing letter from Anton. She wrote that she planned to make a trip to Iowa with Webb, Slawson said, but added that ``she didn`t know if she could stand to be with him that long.``

The letter was signed, ``Lonely, in shock, and hopeful,`` Slawson said.

Dec. 15 was the last day neighbors recall seeing Anna Marie Anton alive. Two days later, Shirley Edgecomb told Webb she thought something had happened to Anton.

Webb let Edgecomb into Anton`s apartment. Groceries totaling $87 bought by Anton on Dec. 15 were gone, Edgecomb said. Anton`s dogs were locked in the basement.

Edgecomb said Webb told her that Anton had taken off on unannounced trips before. Webb waited seven days before filing a detailed missing-person report with the county sheriff.

The body was found frozen on Dec. 27 in a leased farm field on the Winnebago Indian reservation. Anton had been shot three times in the torso with a .38 caliber gun.

On the 29th, county and state investigators looked through Anton`s apartment, using a new blood-detection method called a luminosity test. A chemical is sprayed, the lights are turned off, and areas where there are even tiny traces of blood residue will become visible.

While the investigators conducted the tests, Webb walked around outside, recalled one investigator.

Blood traces were found in Anton`s apartment. More blood was found when the chemical was sprayed on the staircase connecting the two apartments. Still more blood was found in Webb`s apartment. But it took several days for laboratory tests to determine it was human blood.

Webb did not wait for the test results. He was gone a week when the warrant was issued on Jan. 6 for his arrest on charges of first-degree murder. On Dec. 29, he had cleaned out his bank account, packed up his guns and sold his car.

Then he left some suspiciously obvious clues by visiting a travel agency in Fremont, Neb., where he got an international driving permit, posed for a passport picture and inquired about carrying firearms to Costa Rica and Honduras, said Ronald Bocelman, owner of Fremont`s AAA Travel Agency.

Mayor Piper said that on the 30th Webb told her he was going to take a few days off. It was the last time anyone in Lyons saw him.

Sheriff Canarsky figures Webb will be hard to find.

``Police officers are tough to catch,`` Canarsky said. ``He knows all our moves.``

Family Members


Sponsored by Ancestry



  • Created by: Susanna Parrish
  • Added: 27 Nov 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 101376171
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Anna Marie “Susie” Miller Anton (13 Feb 1952–15 Dec 1986), Find A Grave Memorial no. 101376171, citing Liberty Cemetery, Greenville, Clay County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by Susanna Parrish (contributor 46929622) .