Bob Schieffer recalls driving Lee Harvey Oswald's mother to police station after JFK assassination

Within two and a half hours of President Kennedy's assassination -- 50 years ago today -- the suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald, was arrested while hiding in a movie theater.

Special Section: JFK's assassination

Watch CBS News' coverage of JFK's assassination from 1963

His mother heard the news at her home in Fort Worth -- and wanted desperately to get to the police station in Dallas.

YoungSchieffer.jpg
Bob Schieffer
CBS News
 

Which led to a remarkable encounter for 26-year-old Fort Worth newspaper reporter named Bob Schieffer.

Schieffer was working the Star-Telegram's overnight police beat. He wasn't assigned to cover the crime of the century. As a junior reporter, he was stuck in the newsroom answering phones. 

"I picked up the phone and a woman said, 'Is there anybody there who can give me a ride to Dallas?' and I almost hung up the phone," Schieffer recalled. "And I said, 'Lady, you know, we're not running a taxi service here. And besides, the president's been shot.' And she says, 'Yes, I heard it on the radio. I think my son is the one they've arrested.'" 

It was Lee Harvey Oswald's mother.  

LHOsMom.jpg
Lee Harvey Oswald's mother
CBS News
Within moments, Schieffer was on his way to pick up Marguerite Oswald at her Fort Worth home. 

"She was a very peculiar person and she immediately began to talk about how nobody would feel sorry for her, they'd feel sympathy to his wife and they would give her money," Schieffer said. "She was completely obsessed with money. She expressed no remorse about the president being killed."

Schieffer recalled walking Mrs. Oswald up the steps of the Dallas police station, where her son was being held.

"I just said to the first uniformed officer, 'Is there some place we can put Mrs. Oswald? I'm the one who brought her over her from Fort Worth. It's his mother.' And they actually found me a little office in the burglary squad, which was perfect."

CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley asked Schieffer if he identified himself as a reporter.

"No, and I'm sure the uniformed policeman thought I was a detective," Schieffer said. "And that's why I always wore a snap-brim hat so I would look like a detective."

YoungSchieffinCrowd.jpg
Bob Schieffer
CBS News
 Schieffer sat with Mrs. Oswald in that little office, occasionally slipping out into the hallway to feed information to his paper. 

Finally, he made a suggestion to Captain Fritz.

"I said, 'She'd like to see her son, is that doable?' and he said, 'We probably oughta do that,'" Schieffer said.

Schieffer thought he was about to get the scoop of his career -- escorting Mrs. Oswald to see her son.

"And then somebody standing over in the corner said what someone should've said a long time ago," Schieffer recalled. "He said: 'Who are you?'  And he said, 'Are you a reporter?'  And I said, 'Well, yes.' And he said, 'You, son, you get outta here.' He said, 'I never want to see you again.' And he looked like he could kill me.  And so the story for me on this particular day ended right there."


Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter