Dora Mae <I>Smith</I> McBeth

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Dora Mae Smith McBeth

Death 27 May 1962 (aged 41–42)
Martinsburg, Keokuk County, Iowa, USA
Burial Keokuk County, Iowa, USA
Memorial ID 54434529 View Source
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Dora Mae Smith Mcbeth was the aunt, of her killer. He was her sister's boy, and he had come to live with the family, helping with farm work.

Dora and husband Andy were in their home, when they were shot from blasts that came from outside. It would come out later that Gayno Smith, had dropped his cousins off at a square dance in Brighton 25 miles away and then came back to the house. He killed his aunt and uncle, drug their bodies out to the garage, cut the phone lines, pulled the light fuses, and headed back to pick up the kids from the dance.

When they arrived home later that night during a thunderstorm and driving rain, they noticed the house was dark, their parents car did not appear to be in the garage. Things didn't seem right. The girls jumped out and ran to the house to look for candles to light their way. Amos was suspicious and went outside to take a look around. When he found the bodies of his parents in the garage, Amos did not yet realize as he rushed back to the house and told Smith what he had found, that Gayno Smith was the killer. That's when Gayno pulled out his guns and started hunting his cousins one by one.

As they dashed through the darkened house in an attempt to hide, Gayno pursued them, with his guns and using a flashlight, he shot wildly at any shadow, and blindly around corners, spraying the house with gunfire. Anna was fatally shot in the back in the livingroom. Donna was shot in the chest and head, falling near the bed where her baby lay fast asleep. Amos was shot in the head and fell but was able to get up and run from the house, and was heard pleading for his life just before another shot rang out, leaving him lifeless in a ditch.

It was days later and after a massive manhunt involving 100 law officers, that Gayno Smith was captured hiding in a barn in Wapello county. Ironically he was being returned to town, the route taking him past the gymnasium in Hedrick where a mass funeral was being held for his innocent victims.


Sigourney Ia.
from the Des Moines Register

Mass funeral services will be held on Wednesday afternoon in the High School gymnasium at Hedirck for the five members of the Andrew McBeth family.

The Revs. John Robinson and George Huffman will officiate at Methodist services.

The Reynolds Funeral Chapel here was handling the arrangements. The bodies will lie in state in the chapel beginning this morning. Burial will be in the Helm Cemetery northeast of Fremont.


Gayno Smith confessed and was convicted on all counts. He also admitted to the murder of his stepmother Juanita Smith who had disappeared months earlier and was found in a shallow grave near her home. It was speculated that Andy McBeth may have had clues and become suspicious of Gayno regarding the disappearance of his stepmother which led to the killings. Gayno Smith spent 42 years, the rest of his life, in prison, where he died at 67 years old.

Written by Dana

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  • Created by: InSearchOf
  • Added: 3 Jul 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 54434529
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Dora Mae Smith McBeth (1920–27 May 1962), Find a Grave Memorial ID 54434529, citing Helm Cemetery, Keokuk County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by InSearchOf (contributor 47282406) .