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Police concluded the 60’s musician committed suicide, but his family suspects he was murdered.
On July 18, 1966, the lifeless body of a popular, young rock star was found in the front seat of his car in Hollywood, California. His name was Bobby Fuller. His band, The Bobby Fuller Four, hit it big when, “I Fought The Law” shot to the top of the charts. They were four country boys from El Paso and Bobby was the star. Randy Fuller is Bobby’s brother:
Bob Keane, owner & president, Del-Fi Records:
Edna Gunderson, Pop Music Critic, USA Today:
When police suggested that Bobby Fuller committed suicide, it was the beginning of a mystery that continues to this day. Radio host Casey Kasem knew him well:
Bobby Fuller was born with music in his blood. His idols were Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and especially fellow Texan, Buddy Holly. When Bobby came to Hollywood and signed with Del-Fi Records, he seemed destined to be the next big star. By 1966, the band was headlining at hot spots across the country.
From the moment his body was discovered, police thought it was suicide, even though Bobby’s body was in full rigor mortis when they found him. This suggested that he had been dead for several hours. And according to Bobby’s mother, suicide just didn’t make sense. She also claimed that Bobby’s car had been gone all night and was still not there when she checked during the following day. It wasn’t until 5 P.M., when Bobby’s mother went to pick up the mail, that the car had mysteriously appeared with her son’s body inside. Edna Gunderson:
The death scene itself was strange. There was blood on Bobby’s face and chest and on the car seat. His body and clothes were soaked with gasoline. On the floorboard, was a partly full gas can with a rubber hose attached to the spout. Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records arrived while police were still investigating:
At first, it was thought that Bobby died after drinking gasoline. But the autopsy revealed no gasoline in his stomach. His death was then attributed to inhaling gasoline fumes.
Nothing seemed to point to suicide, but the police were insistent. Edna Gunderson says that an offhand remark made by Bobby’s mother led to the ruling:
Those closest to Bobby admit that in the days leading up to his death, he was unhappy with Bob Keane and Del-Fi Records. Bob Keane responds:
But if it wasn’t suicide, was it murder? The answer may lie with a beautiful young woman known as Melody, someone Edna Gunderson says fuller kept a secret:
Some believe Bobby kept the affair secret because Melody’s boyfriend – who may have had ties to the mob – was still in the picture. Edna Gunderson:
Randy Fuller remembers that Bobby had planned to go to a party with Melody the night before he was found dead:
What happened at the party is unknown, but soon after Bobby’s death, there were rumors of a drug overdose and a possible cover-up. Bob Keane said he heard the stories:
However, there were no drugs in Bobby’s system. And no one could explain why he was doused with gasoline or how the car got back to his apartment. Randy Fuller:
After the initial broadcast of this story, Unsolved Mysteries received a call from the mysterious woman known as Melody. She confirmed many of the facts we presented in our story, but she disagreed with two important details.
First, she says she was never involved with anyone who had ties to the mob. And second, she insists that she was not with Bobby the night he died and that she has no knowledge of the alleged party. She also believes that Bobby did not commit suicide.
More recently, the cause of Bobby’s death was officially changed from suicide to accident. His family would like to exhume his body, in hopes that new technology might be able to solve the mystery of his death.