Twenty-Four Years After She Was Left to Die, Peggy Railey, Wife of Walker, Is Gone

Categories: Cover Story, Crime
PeggyRailey.jpg
Photo by Mark Graham
Peggy Railey in the Tyler nursing home where she's spent the last 20 years
In 1989, two years after the attack that left her in a vegetative state, People described Peggy Railey's existence as "death-in-life." Our Mark Graham documented as much years later when he visited her in the Tyler nursing home where she has spent the last two decades; today, he told me, spending time with her was eerie. "Her eyes would follow you," he said. "And she made anguishing sounds whenever they combed her hair or brushed her teeth. She was in a vegetative state, but you wondered: Was she still in there?" But her tortured existence has come to an end: The Tyler Morning Telegraph is reporting that she has died, and that her body has been taken to the Tyler Memorial Funeral Home.

Even if you were not in Dallas in April 1987, you likely know what happened: She was found strangled in the garage of the home she shared with her husband, First United Methodist Church senior pastor Walker Railey. Peggy's family told former Observer columnist and Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, then at the Dallas Times Herald, they were certain who'd put that wire around their daughter's throat: Walker, who, it was revealed, was having an affair with a woman named Lucy Papillon. Ella Renfro, Peggy's 87-year-old grandmother, told Laura there was motive: "A divorced man doesn't get to be bishop."

Railey and his attorney, Doug Mulder, always maintained his innocence; Walker said he'd lied about his whereabouts that night to cover his affair. Mulder, the former prosecutor, told Mike Shropshire in the fall of 1987: "If you're going to create an alibi, you'd better create a better one than Walker did." After he was acquitted of attempted murder in 1993, Walker hit the lecture circuit. Laura, whose coverage of the trial won her and this paper awards, wrote in 1996 that the only reason Walker walked was because of "the egregious handling of this case by our own Dallas County District Attorney John Vance ... who was ill and clueless at the time of the Railey trial [and] sent two shrubs to San Antonio to lose the case."

Walker was last seen on Facebook, claiming to work for a California church. But now, finally, Peggy Railey is at peace.

Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
31 comments
halldecker
halldecker

Lose the case is exactly right.  Story around town,  Walker had counseled some rich and powerful folks.  He sent word,  if he went down,   he'd take them with him.  

One of the best lines,  Walker's girl pal,  changed her name to Lucy Papillion,  butterfly.  Classmate explained,  "She doesn't know the French word for fruitcake."

CR
CR

Is there a crueler way to die than this dragging on for 24 yrs?  No doubt in mind she wanted to die a death with dignity and that sure wasn't it. 

Jessica
Jessica

I am a 26 years old girl, down to earth and cute but still single ... I  wanna find my lover who  can give me a real love,so I joined in the seekcasual.COM,it's the best club for  man and woman finding their intimate encounters. Well, you do not have to be lonely , you  can meet the Mr. or Miss. Right there.

Perry Moore
Perry Moore

 "If you're going to create an alibi, you'd better create a better one than Walker did."

My first memory of Walker Railey, some time before his wife's strangulation, was a news report that his fiery sermons against racism had provoked death threats. Those threats were later traced to a typewriter found, I believe, at his church. It appears that he was working on a better alibi.

Soulflower2
Soulflower2

This breaks my heart but she is at peace, beyond harm, now.  I was a kid, attending St. Luke "Community" UMC with my parents when this happened.  Through my church I had met Rev & Mrs Railey.  I thought Walker Railey was one of the best Christians, along with my own Rev Holmes, the great Billy Graham, and so on.  This shook me to my core.  Never destroyed my faith.  I am sad that she probably never got to find out what happened to her husband or kids, which is probably why she made noises.  I hope the family friends let the kids visit.  I can bet Ms. Papillion is really sorry now for her involvement with the husband.  The faith lost a charismatic man in Railey.  THe world lost a good woman in Peggy.  God bless the kids and yes, Mr. Railey too.  (shakes head)

Steve
Steve

I haven't seen any national coverage.  

Hopefully, enough people and local journalists will make enough noise to publilcize this in his current home.  He deserves no peace, and I'd rather not defer punishment to the "afterlife."

Yvonnecr
Yvonnecr

Wonder where Lucy Papillon is these days? 

Melinda_cook68
Melinda_cook68

I wonder if they kept the wire and if it's ever been tested for DNA.

Alimnassor
Alimnassor

Who writes these stories, idiots?   "She was found strangled to death in the garage"  Really?  And she died 24 years laters?

Country Crock
Country Crock

I wish you would re-run the story of Walker Railey Bailey, the cat.  That was one of the best articles you have ever published!!!

Jessica
Jessica

I am a 26 years old girl, down to earth and cute but still single ... I  wanna find my lover who  can give me a real love,so I joined in the seekcasual.COM,it's the best club for  man and woman finding their intimate encounters. Well, you do not have to be lonely , you  can meet the Mr. or Miss. Right there.

Jessica
Jessica

I am a 26 years old girl, down to earth and cute but still single ... I  wanna find my lover who  can give me a real love,so I joined in the seekcasual.COM,it's the best club for  man and woman finding their intimate encounters. Well, you do not have to be lonely , you  can meet the Mr. or Miss. Right there.

Gary
Gary

May be remembering incorrectly, but wasn't there some thought that one of the kids may have seen the attack?

Guest
Guest

I hope walker railey also gets strangled and put in a vegetative state. May he rot in hell.

RC
RC

Peggy, may you live happily ever after in the clouds of heaven playing with the angels.

RC
RC

Hello Mr. Railey, your room will be #666 near the furnace. Enjoy your stay with us.

Scott Vann
Scott Vann

Does anyone know the whereabouts and status of their children? There were two I believe.

NewsJunkie
NewsJunkie

That poor soul is finally free. I ache for her and her children who were dropped off at a friend's home by their father and never saw him again. What a tragedy. It's hard to believe no justice was ever served for Peggy.

jamal
jamal

I'M CALLING YOU FROM MY MO-BILE PHONE.  YOU HEAR THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT?  BECAUSE I'M ON MY MO-BILE PHONE, I CAN'T POSSIBLY BE AT HOME STRANGLING MY WIFE.

i assume double jeopardy unfortunately includes all aspects of a crime as they pertain to a specific victim?  otherwise, it'd be nice to take another crack at that scumbag- it's a homicide now right?

Honeybee
Honeybee

I'm not sure what Walker was charged with and tried for, but it probably wasn't for murder.

Why couldn't he now be charged with and tried for murder?  Surely her death is the result of the injuries she sustained.

sowhat
sowhat

Do a web search on Lucy Papillon. She has redefined herself as a new-age shrink in LA, and is also now a minister of "one-faith" doctrine. Just reading some of the cosmic psycho-babble on her web site is a treat in itself.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I am the idiot responsible. It was indeed in there, and I corrected the item Tuesday.

Tim Dickey
Tim Dickey

Hey Ali-   I think you got the quote wrong--there's no "to death" in that line--it just says.  "She was found strangled in the garage of the home she shared with her husband..."Merriam-Webster offers this definition of strangle: b : to obstruct seriously or fatally the normal breathing..." 

IMHO
IMHO

The article said she was found strangled ... not strangled to death.

Scott Vann
Scott Vann

It seems like I recall the same thing, now that you mention it.

SteveSandwich
SteveSandwich

I would much rather see Walker Railey pay his price in a world that actually exists.   Clouds, heaven, angels.  Do you think, if she was indeed lucid for the past 20+ years, that she held dearly to a notion of a Loving God??

Fuck Walker Railey.  I want to see his blood splattered as he stares at those eyes.

John Burton
John Burton

He also mentioned on the answering machine from his MO-BILE PHONE that he didn't know what time it was because he didn't wear a watch.  Hear that?  Just leaving a message on the home answering machine reminding my wife I don't wear a watch.

Still remember it to this day.

Scott Vann
Scott Vann

I'm certain that today she is more convinced than ever that there is a loving God.

ValerieT
ValerieT

Well, I suppose that love and sadism are compatible at some level.  Torture Peggy for 20 years and let her sing your praises her forever.  Bless Walker for 20 years and torture him with Hussein style tortures forever. And love them both with a perfect love, of course.   

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...