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Arkansas Auditor Wants To Return FBI Letter To Family

The state auditor's office wants to return a letter to the family of a late Arkansas woman who apparently wrote to former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover about having her purse examined for fingerprints.

Jordan Foster is a special projects coordinator at the auditor's office. He says a reply letter bearing Hoover's name ended up in the auditor's unclaimed property vault after it was found in Ethel Merchant's abandoned safe deposit box.

Merchant wrote to Hoover in 1947, asking if there was a place she could have her purse checked for fingerprints. A reply letter bearing Hoover's name thanks Merchant for her correspondence and suggests she consult her local county attorney.

Foster says Merchant died years ago. The Associated Press was not able to locate any of relatives of Merchant.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.