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January 5, 2004: Marjorie Congdon Caldwell Hagen released from prison

On this day in 2004, Marjorie Hagen—the adopted daughter of Elisabeth Congdon, the youngest daughter of Chester and Clara Congdon—was released from a state prison in Goodyear, Arizona, where she had been serving time for arson after setting several fires in Ajo, Arizona. She relocated in Tucson, Arizona. Within hours of her release, a number of Ajo citizens claimed to have seen Marjorie in the tiny Arizona town. Rumors of her presence in Ajo were fueled for days by several fires that broke out in the city, each set by candles. One resident reported seeing a blue minivan whose driver looked like Ricky LeRoy, Marjorie’s youngest son. In the passenger seat was an older woman “…wearing large frame eyeglasses….  [who] looked a lot like Marjorie Congdon.” Late in the afternoon on the day of Marjorie’s release, a fire damaged the Catholic church in Ajo, the same church where Marjorie had had a run-in with a priest years earlier. The fire started when candles in plastic containers melted too low, setting the candle stand on fire. As firefighters were standing outside the church watching the smoke come out, one person quipped, “It sure didn’t take her long to get back, did it?” Over the next few days, there were two more fires caused by candles, but there was no evidence to prove that they were anything but accidents. Learn more about the crimes of Marjorie Congdon Caldwell Hagen here.

Marjorie Congdon Caldwell Hagen photographed while in prison in 202. (Image: State of Arizona)