Two atheist organizations, formerly controlled by Madalyn Murray O'Hair, have reported in Internal Revenue Service documents that $627,500 disappeared about the same time O'Hair, her son Jon Garth Murray, and daughter Robin Murray-O'Hair vanished in August 1995.

Some speculate that the trio may be hiding in New Zealand. Spike Tyson has become director at American Atheists headquarters in Austin, Texas, in O'Hair's absence.

O'Hair, 78, became the nation's best-known atheist in 1962 by filing a lawsuit that led to the U.S. Supreme Court's prohibition on public-school prayer. She filed suit in behalf of her then 16-year-old son Bill Murray, now a Christian evangelist. He filed a "request to find" order after his mother's disappearance. Police say they have no evidence of foul play. In January, Bill Murray filed a petition to become guardian of the estates of his mother, brother, and sister. United Secularists of America, reports that $612,000 in missing assets is "believed to be in the possession of Jon Murray, former secretary." American Atheists reported that he is suspected of taking $15,500.

February 3, 1997 Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 75

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