As most of those who read on this subject are aware, anyone looking for leads pointing towards a conspiracy would have had ample material to work with in the days following November 22, 1963. One fertile area of investigation would have been a few of the more solid indications that Oswald had been impersonated in a fashion which would have demonstrated foreknowledge of of the plans for the attack and even more specifically, incidents which would have associated him with other individuals. Ralph Yates encounter with a young man carrying a package and being dropped off outside the TSBD is on striking example of the former. The Gonzalez incident and note from Oswald in Abilene is another.
And one that gets relatively little attention is Ray January’s encounter with a young man and woman who were trying to make arrangements to rent a small plane at Red Bird airport a few days prior to the assassination. The two had some very interesting questions about the range of the airplane in question since they planned to fly it to Mexico. They didn’t volunteer much information and at the time January was suspicious that they might intend to use the plane for smuggling. As a matter of fact, January who had himself recently visited the Carousel club a few times began to wonder if he might not have attracted the attention of the wrong sorts of clientel by being seen there.
January’s suspicions were also fueled by the fact that the two were accompanied by a third person, a young man, who remained in their car. He did get a look at the man but did not recognize any of the three as anyone he had seen before. However, following the assassination, it occurred to him that the young man did look a lot like the man in custody as the President’s assassin. January did end up talking to the FBI about the matter but his recollection (verified by the FBI report itself) was that the FBI was only interested in his visits to the Carousel club and the possibility that he might himself be linked to Jack Ruby. They kept coming back to that rather than to the airplane rental incident.
However, all of this could actually have played out quite differently if several of these reports had come together at the same time and place in an investigation which was looking beyond Oswald. A note from “oswald” in Abilene, left with a Cuban exile who moved out of town quickly after the assassination (stopping only to make sure none of his local friends had any photos of him) along with an abortive attempt to charter a small plane for a flight out of Red Bird airport to Mexico (with oswald or someone looking a lot like him hanging back at the airport). Certainly that sort of thing would have fed any open ended effort to look beyond just Lee Oswald himself.
But of course after the telephone calls of November 22 and November 23, and the memos of the follow day, that simply was not the sort of thing that was being encouraged within either DPD or FBI headquarters.