Details: Fifty-one-year-old Dan Short was the president of the local bank in Noel, Missouri. At 8am on the morning of October 6, 1989, one of his employees came to work and found the vault open and $70,000 stolen. The FBI and two separate police agencies investigated. They found two .45 caliber shell casings on the floor. When they tried to contact Dan, they were unsuccessful. As a result, he became the first suspect in the case.
However, the investigation changed on October 11 after Dan’s body was found taped to a chair and floating in Grand Lake, twenty miles from the bank. He had apparently been dropped in the water while he was still alive. The state police were now not only searching for bank thieves but also cold-blooded killers.
Investigators found that when Dan became bank president in 1983, the local economy was in bad shape. He had to balance the needs of the local people with the bank’s need to turn a profit. In the process, he alienated a few people. Some individuals had their belongings repossessed and their credit denied. However, he was friendly with most of his customers and appeared to have no known enemies.
Dan lived in an isolated home eight miles from town. On the night of the robbery, October 5, he had a guest over his house, who left at around 11pm. Investigators believe that the killers abducted him between 11pm and 1:30am from his house, most likely at gunpoint. They believe that he and the killers arrived at the bank at around 2am, and that they forced him to turn off the alarm and unlock the doors. They damaged the security cameras and then forced him to open the vault. In the end, they took the $70,000 in there; however, they left behind at least $100,000 that they may not have known about. Witnesses heard one of the assailants shooting at one of the cameras at around 3 am.
A few minutes later, a caravan of three vehicles was seen by a trucker. The first vehicle was believed to have been Dan’s red pickup truck. The second vehicle was a blue pickup truck that later passed the trucker.
At a certain point, they ditched Dan’s pickup truck and placed him in a van and in a kitchen chair with weights attached. Authorities believe that he was unconscious but alive at the time he was thrown into the river, due to the fact that he was not gagged. Witnesses saw a dark van on the bridge which they believe he was thrown from at around 6am, but it sped off before they could obtain a license plate number. The killers remain at large.
Suspects: There were none at the time the case was broadcast, although some people believed that the killers may have been people who were angered with the bank and had taken it out on Dan. He had denied several people credit, so it was theorized that one of these people were involved in the murder.
Another theory was that Dan stumbled on something at the bank, either money laundering or some other illegal activity, and was silenced.
A witness spotted a medium blue Chevy LUV pickup truck near Dan’s red one around the time of the murder. Inside it was a heavyset white male, with long brown hair and a beard. One week before the murder, the LUV and its driver were sighted at a local gas station by the same witness that would later see them on the night of the murder. The witness noticed that the truck had a white toolbox on the back and had an Oklahoma license plate.
The Chevy LUV was seen again near Dan’s home just four days before his murder. He had told his brother that he felt that he was being staked out, and one occasion his home was actually broken into. Because of this information, investigators believe his killers planned everything in advance.
Results: Solved. In March 1992, brothers Shannon and Joseph Agofsky were arrested and charged with robbery and Dan’s murder. Shortly after the murder, Shannon had allegedly bragged to friends that he was “the richest teenager in the county” presumably due to the robbery. Investigators discovered that they owned .45 caliber firearms. However, their parents claimed that they were at home at the time of the murder so they were not considered suspects.
Shortly after the murder, a wad of duct tape was found on the shore of the river that Dan’s body was found in. Forensic and chemical testing determined that it came from the same roll that was used to tie him to the chair. Fingerprints found on it were matched to Shannon.
Investigators discovered that Shannon and Joseph had been spending large amounts of money in the months following the murder, even though they were unemployed. A witness also identified a chain hoist found with Dan’s body as one he had left at the Agofsky home. Mrs. Agofsky also owned a brown van, similar to the one seen on the bridge on the night of the murder. Based on the evidence, Shannon and Joseph were convicted of robbery and sentenced to life in prison. Shannon was convicted of Dan’s murder and given another life sentence. Joseph’s murder trial ended in a hung jury; prosecutors decided not to retry him since he was already serving a life sentence for the robbery.
In March 2013, Joseph died in prison from unknown causes at the age of 46. Shannon is now on death row for the 2001 murder of a fellow prison inmate.
(TheOdysseyOnline) I promised at the beginning of the series that I would discuss the conspiracy theories swirling around the Agofsky case. One, in particular, I found especially intriguing when you consider the current political climate and pre-election antics. You may remember from previous articles that at the time of Dan Short’s death, the State Bank of Noel had been audited on three occasions in recent years. They had been reduced to weak bank status, and after the robbery and murder, the whispers around town grew to rumbles. It was said that the bank’s shareholders had been involved in seedy dealings, and one was money laundering. Their unsavory practices are allegedly what tipped off auditors in the first place.
At trial, Dan Short’s daughter Melanie gave credence to this theory. Melanie explained that her father, usually a reserved and careful man, had begun drinking heavily the summer before his death. She recalls him telling her and her mother that he was anxious about a situation at work and he feared for his job. He said a member of the bank’s board was pressuring him to commit “an immoral act.” Melanie said Short never gave them any details about what was being asked of him.
Here’s where things get interesting, and to be honest, a little crazy. Before proceeding, I do want to clarify that many facts within this conspiracy are true. They’re matter of public record and can be easily found by any novice search-engine warrior. There are also things in this story that can’t be clearly verified, but perhaps could be by a better journalist than me. I don’t know if Dan Short’s murder is truly entangled in this web; Shannon certainly doesn’t think so. I don’t know what I think, because there is so much I can’t see and read for myself — too many people that can no longer be questioned. But all you have to do is search “Clinton Mena, Arkansas” and you’ll find a lot of people who think Short’s death is connected to our former president.
I can only give you a brief background into the Mena Scandal. To do more, I’d have to write an entirely separate series. The information is out there, and it is quite easy to fall down an insane rabbit hole of documentaries, articles, interviews, and online forums. My husband and I can attest to this fact, because while brushing up on research for this piece, we did exactly that. There is a lot of information to absorb, and a lot of it is quite sobering.
Mena is a small town in Western, Arkansas, in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by sprawling forests. Mena is only really notable because it has an airport — an airport that was allegedly used in the 1980s to bring in planeloads of cocaine. Cocaine that was then distributed and sold for large quantities of money used to purchase and supply weapons to the Contras in Nicaragua. Much of what I have learned about this story I have learned by reading transcripts and watching interviews of former IRS Investigator Bill Duncan and his partner former Arkansas State Police Investigator Russell Welch. For anyone really interested in delving into this madness, I would suggest that you start with these men. They spent so much of their time and energy completely immersing themselves into this case a feeling I can certainly relate to.
According to Duncan and Welch, the bulk of the story centers around a drug-smuggler named Adler Berriman Seal, also known as Barry. Most reports show that Barry Seal started his drug operation in 1981, and set up shop at the Mena Intermountain Regional Airport. Before long, Seal was importing up to a thousand pounds of cocaine a month. But by 1984, Seal found a different kind of gig. He became a DEA informant and eventually participated in a CIA sting operation in Nicaragua. Less than two years later, Seal was dead — murdered by Colombian hitmen in Louisiana. Eight months after his death, Seal’s cargo plane, which had been based at Mena, was shot down over Nicaragua. It was found to be full of weapons and Contra supplies.
At least ten investigations into the goings-on at the Mena Airport have been hampered or indefinitely stalled in some way. In fact, Investigator Duncan himself has a memo from several members of the attorney general’s staff, noting that he had been instructed: “to remove all files concerning the Mena investigation from the AG’s office.” This was immediately after it became known that several Arkansas newspapers were planning to file FOIA requests aimed at the Clinton administration.
As I said, it’s a rabbit hole I could easily fall down again, in regards to this article. I’m more focused on the strange deaths surrounding the Clinton administration and how they may be connected to the murder of Dan Short. If you want to investigate the Mena scandal, I sincerely encourage it. It’s just more documented evidence that the agencies and organizations that are meant to keep us safe —Congress, the FBI, the CIA — are largely concerned with only profiting themselves.
But at the very least, these are intriguing and undeniable facts:
- Several of former President Clinton’s best friends were caught and charged with smuggling large amounts of cocaine;
- Clinton intervened on their behalf afterwards in some shape or form, even giving one a full pardon;
- Clinton ordered that the monitoring of drug traffic between Colombia and the United States be stopped;
- Clinton terminated the money laundering investigation section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and;
- Clinton blatantly lied about offering $25,000 for the Mena investigation budget.
A slew of mysterious deaths forms a ring around the periphery of the Clinton administration. There are numerous sites and forums dedicated to this subject. Some random names will be present on certain lists and then missing for one reason or another on others, but they are largely similar and comprised of the Clintons’ friends, rivals, and business associates.
Though Dan worked at the State Bank of Noel in Missouri, the Shorts lived and did much of their business in Benton County, Arkansas. Three days before his death, Short allegedly told several friends (who wished to remain as unattributed sources) that he had been forced to launder drug money and was about to be in serious trouble. It was rumored that the funds were coming from the operation at the Mena Airport. Short was becoming increasingly nervous about his involvement and was having second thoughts. Before he could do anything, he was kidnapped and murdered. And the rest of the story, you know.
Did Bill Clinton have knowledge of the illegal activity at the Mena Airport? Yes, that fact is documented. Was he instrumental in stalling investigations centered on the large-scale drug smuggling operation and the laundering of the resulting funds? Also yes. Was the State Bank of Noel one of the institutions used to launder the funds? I just don’t know. Is it possible? Yes. Is there enough documented evidence to say so with certainty? In my opinion, no. But it’s an interesting theory, and one that probably should have been investigated more thoroughly. Crazier things have certainly happened, a fact that becomes glaringly apparent the further one investigates the Clinton Connection.
- Missing Banker’s Body Positively Identified
- Lingering Murder Mystery Turns Town Holiday Gray
- Money Laundering Blamed in Noel Banker’s Murder Trial
- Shannon Agofsky Admitted He Killed Banker, Jury Told
- The FBI Files Episode on Dan’s case
- Man Connected To Death Of Missouri Banker In Oklahoma Dies In Prison
- Dan Short on Find a Grave