Son Of Missing O’Hair Seeks Estate Christian Has Been Alienated From Famous Atheist Mother

SUNDAY, JAN. 5, 1997

The estranged Christian son of missing atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair wants control of her estate.

The atheism activist is best known for her lawsuit leading to the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing organized prayer in public schools. She, along with son Jon Garth Murray and granddaughter Robin Murray O’Hair, vanished mysteriously in 1995.

William J. Murray filed a court petition Friday to become guardian of the estates of all three. A hearing could come as early as Jan. 13.

“If they are alive and read this, there will be holes in the wall because Madalyn will be mad,” said Orin “Spike” Tyson, national director of the Austin-based atheists organization that O’Hair founded.

Murray, who at age 14 was named as a plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit, grew alienated from his mother after he became an active Christian in 1980. His mother adopted his daughter, Robin, as her own after the split.

He now lives in Virginia and heads a political action committee, God is Not Government, that is pushing a constitutional amendment to lift restrictions on religious expression in public schools.

The petition estimated his brother’s and daughter’s estates as worth $100,000 each. No value was put on his mother’s estate.

The trio dropped out of sight in August 1995 and maintained contact with colleagues for a few weeks, then all communications stopped.

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