Gordon Stewart Northcott (1 Viewer)


Gordon Stewart Northcott

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Homosexual sadist - Kidnapping - Dismemberment
Number of victims: 3 - 20
Date of murders: 1928
Date of birth: 1908
Victims profile: An unidentified Mexican boy / Lewis, 12, and Nelson Winslow, 10
Method of murder: Beating with an axe - Shooting
Location: Riverside, California, USA
Status: Executed by hanging on October 2, 1930

Northcott, Gordon Stewart

Canadian born in 1908, Northcott would later claim that his father sodomized him at age ten.

The old man finished his life in a lunatic asylum, and one of Northcott's paternal uncles died years later, in San Quentin, while serving a life term for murder.

A homosexual sadist in the mold of Dean Corll and John Gacy, by age 21, Northcott was living on a poultry ranch near Riverside, California, sharing quarters with his mother and a 15-year-old nephew, Sanford Clark.

For years, Northcott mixed business with pleasure in Riverside, abducting boys and hiding them out on his ranch, renting his victims to wealthy Southern California pedophiles.

When he tired of the boys, they were shot or brained with an ax, their flesh dissolved with quick lime and their bones transported to the desert for disposal. Only one was ever found - a headless, teenage Mexican, discovered near La Puente during February 1928 - but homicide detectives identified three other victims.

Walter Collins disappeared from home on March 10, 1928, and Northcott's mother was convicted of his death, but evidence suggests that she was acting under orders from her son.

Twelve-year-old Lewis Winslow and his brother Nelson, 10, vanished from Pomona on May 16, 1928, and Northcott was later condemned for their murders, despite the absence of bodies. Gordon might have gone on raping and killing indefinitely, but in the summer of 1928, he visited the district attorney's office, complaining about a neighbor's "profane and violent" behavior. The outbursts reportedly upset his nephew, who was "training for the priesthood" by tending chickens at age 15. Under investigation, the neighbor recalled seeing Gordon beat Clark on occasion, and he urged detectives to "find out what goes on" at Northcott's ranch.

Immigration officials struck first, taking Clark into custody on a complaint from his Canadian parents, and the boy regaled authorities with tales of murder, pointing out newly-excavated "grave sites" on the ranch. Detectives dug up blood-soaked earth, unearthing human ankle bones and fingers on September 17.

They also found a bloodstained ax and hatchet on the premises, that Clark said had been used on human prey, as well as chickens. Northcott fled to Canada, but he was captured there and extradited back to Riverside. His mother claimed responsibility for slaying Walter Collins, but Clark fingered Gordon as the actual killer.

Convicted on three counts of murder, including the Winslow brothers and the anonymous Mexican, Northcott was sentenced to death. Spared by her sex, his mother received a life sentence in the Collins case.

Marking time at San Quentin, Northcott alternated between protestations of innocence and detailed confessions to the murder of "18 or 19, maybe 20" victims. A pathological liar who cherished the spotlight, he several times offered to point out remains of more victims, always reneging at the last moment. (Northcott also named several of his wealthy "customers" at the ranch, but their identities were never published.) Warden Duffy recalled his conversations with Northcott as "a lurid account of mass murder, sodomy, oral copulation, and torture so vivid it made my flesh creep."

Northcott mounted the gallows on October 2, 1930, finally quailing in the face of death. Before the trap was sprung, he screamed, "A prayer! Please, say a prayer for me!" His mother subsequently died in prison, of old age.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans

Gordon Northcott

The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders — also known as the Wineville Chicken Murders — was a series of kidnappings and murders of young boys occurring in Los Angeles and Riverside County, California in 1928. The case received national attention and events related to it exposed corruption in the Los Angeles Police Department. The 2008 film Changeling is based upon events related to this case.

The murders

In 1926, Saskatchewan-born ranch owner Gordon Stewart Northcott took his 13-year-old nephew, Sanford Clark, from his home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Before his sister, Jessie Clark, told the police about the situation, Northcott had beaten and sexually abused Clark. In September 1928, the Los Angeles Police Department visited the Northcott Ranch in Wineville. Police found Clark at the ranch and took him into custody.

Clark claimed that Northcott had kidnapped, molested, beaten, and killed several young boys with the apparent help of Northcott's mother, Sarah Louise Northcott. He had also forced Clark to participate. Clark said quicklime was used to dispose of the remains, and the bones had been dumped in the desert. The Northcotts had fled to Canada and they were arrested near Vernon, British Columbia.


Police found no complete bodies at the site, but they discovered the personal effects of missing children, a blood-stained axe, and body parts including bones, hair, and fingers from three of the victims that were buried in lime near the chicken house at the Northcott ranch near Wineville - hence the name "Wineville Chicken Coop Murders."

Wineville changed its name to "Mira Loma" on November 1, 1930, due in large part to the negative publicity surrounding the murders. Wineville Avenue, Wineville Road, Wineville Park and other geographic references provide reminders of the community's former name. Sanford Clark returned to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.


Sarah Louise Northcott initially confessed to the murders, including that of 9-year-old Walter Collins. She later retracted her statement, as did Gordon Northcott, who had confessed to killing five boys.

Upon her return from Canada, Sarah Louise pled guilty to killing Walter Collins. Superior Court Judge Morton sentenced her to life imprisonment on December 31, 1928, sparing her from execution because she was a woman. Sarah Northcott served her sentence at Tehachapi State Prison, and was paroled after less than 12 years. During her sentencing, Northcott claimed her son was innocent and made a variety of bizarre claims about his parentage, including that he was an illegitimate son by an English nobleman, that she was Gordon's grandmother, and that he was the result of incest between her husband, George Cyrus Northcott, and their daughter. She also stated that as a child, Gordon was sexually abused by the entire family.

On February 8, 1929, a 27-day trial before Judge George R. Freeman in Riverside County, California, ended. Gordon Northcott was convicted of the murders of an unidentified Mexican boy and brothers Lewis and Nelson Winslow (aged 12 and 10, respectively). The brothers had been reported missing from Pomona on May 16, 1928; however, it was believed Gordon may have had as many as 20 victims. The jury heard that he kidnapped, molested, tortured, killed, and dismembered these and other boys throughout 1928. On February 13, 1929, Judge Freeman sentenced Gordon to be hanged. The sentence was carried out on October 2, 1930.

Involved parties

Gordon Stewart Northcott

Gordon Northcott (c. 1906 – October 2, 1930)

Gordon Stewart Northcott was born in Saskatchewan, Canada and raised in British Columbia, Canada. He moved to the Los Angeles area with his parents in 1924. Northcott later purchased a plot of land in Wineville, California and built a chicken ranch and home.

Sanford Clark

Sanford Wesley Clark (March 1, 1913 – June 20, 1991)

Sanford's older sister, Jessie, became suspicious of the letters Sanford was forced to send home from Northcott's ranch that assured the family he was well. She went to the ranch and stayed several days. However, she became terrified of Northcott, left and told authorities her brother was in the country illegally.

Sanford Clark was never tried for murder, but was sentenced to five years at the Whittier State School (later renamed the Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility). His sentence was later commuted to 23 months. After his release, he was deported back to his native Canada. Clark's son, Jerry Clark, credits Clark's sisters June and Jessie, associate prosecution counsel Loyal C. Kelley, and the Whittier State School for helping save Sanford from Gordon Northcott.

Clark served in World War II, and then worked for 28 years for the Canadian postal service. He married, and he and his wife, June, adopted and raised two sons. They were married for 55 years and were involved in many different organizations. Sanford Clark died in 1991 at age 78.

Christine and Walter Collins

Walter James Collins, Sr. (February 1, 1890 – August 18, 1932)
Christine Ida Dunne Collins (1891 – 8 December 1964)
Walter James Collins, Jr. (September 23, 1918 – March 1928) presumed murdered at
age nine.

Nine-year-old Walter Collins disappeared from his home in Mt. Washington, Los Angeles on March 10, 1928. His disappearance received nationwide attention and the Los Angeles Police Department followed up on hundreds of leads without success. The police faced negative publicity and increasing public pressure to solve the case, until five months after Walter's disappearance, when a boy claiming to be Walter was found in DeKalb, Illinois. Letters and photographs were exchanged before Walter's mother, Christine Collins, who worked as a telephone operator, paid for the boy to be brought to Los Angeles.

A public reunion was organized by the police, who hoped to negate the bad publicity they had received for their inability to solve this case and others. They also hoped the uplifting human interest story would deflect attention from a series of corruption scandals that had sullied the department's reputation. At the reunion, Christine Collins claimed that the boy was not Walter. She was told by the officer in charge of the case, police Captain J.J. Jones, to take the boy home to "try him out for a couple of weeks," and Collins agreed.

Three weeks later, Christine Collins returned to see Captain Jones and persisted in her claim that the boy was not Walter. Even though she was armed with dental records proving her case, Jones had Collins committed to the psychiatric ward at Los Angeles County Hospital under a "Code 12" internment—a term used to jail or commit someone who was deemed difficult or an inconvenience. During Collins' incarceration, Jones questioned the boy, who admitted to being 12-year-old Arthur Hutchins Jr., a runaway from Illinois, but who was originally from Iowa.

A drifter at a roadside café in Illinois had told Hutchins of his resemblance to the missing Walter, so Hutchins came up with the plan to impersonate him. His motive was to get to Hollywood so he could meet his favorite actor, Tom Mix. Collins was released ten days after Hutchins admitted that he was not her son, and filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department. This aspect of the case is depicted in the 2008 film Changeling[6], although in the film Hutchins does not confess until after Mrs. Collins has been released.

Collins went on to win a lawsuit against Jones and was awarded $10,800, which Jones never paid. Five years after Gordon Northcott's execution, one of the boys previously thought to be murdered by Northcott was found alive and well. As Walter Collins' body had not been found, Christine Collins still hoped that Walter had survived. She continued to search for him for the rest of her life, but she died without ever knowing her son's fate. The last public record of Christine Collins is from 1941, when she attempted to collect a $15,562 judgment against Captain Jones (by then a retired police officer) in the Superior Court.

Arthur J. Hutchins, Jr.

Arthur J. Hutchins Jr (c.1916 – c.1954)

In 1933 Arthur J. Hutchins, Jr. wrote about how and why he impersonated the missing boy. Hutchins' biological mother had died when he was 9 years old, and he had been living with his stepmother, Violet Hutchins. He pretended to be Walter Collins to get as far away as possible from her. After living on the road for a month he arrived in DeKalb. When police brought him in, they began to ask him questions about Walter Collins. Originally, Hutchins stated that he did not know about Walter, but changed his story when he saw the possibility of getting to California.

After Arthur Hutchins reached adulthood, he sold concessions at carnivals. He eventually moved back to California as a horse trainer and jockey. He died of a blood clot in 1954, leaving behind a wife and young daughter, Carol. According to Carol Hutchins, "My dad was full of adventure. In my mind, he could do no wrong."

Rev. Gustav Briegleb

Dr. Gustav A. Briegleb (September 26, 1881 – May 20, 1943)

Briegleb was a Presbyterian minister and pioneer radio evangelist. He was the pastor of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Jefferson Boulevard at Third Avenue, Los Angeles, California. He took up many important causes in the City of Los Angeles in the 1920s and 1930s, most notably the poor handling of the Walter Collins kidnapping case in 1928. He fought to have Christine Collins released from a mental hospital after she was committed there as retaliation for not going along with the LAPD's version of events.

Lewis and Nelson Winslow

Lewis Winslow (c.1916 – c.1928)
Nelson Winslow, Jr (c.1918 – c.1928)

Lewis, age 12, and Nelson, age 10, were the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson H. Lewis, Sr. They went missing on May 16, 1928 from Pomona, California. On May 26, 1928, H. Gordon Moore, a local Scoutmaster, reported that they ran away to Imperial, California to pick cantaloupes and helped with the search for the two boys. Gordon Northcott was convicted of kidnapping and killing the Winslow brothers. Nelson Winslow, Sr. led a lynch mob with the intent of hanging Gordon Stewart Northcott after completion of the trial but before sentencing. The police convinced the group to disband before seeing Northcott.

Popular culture

"The Big Imposter," an episode of the radio series Dragnet, which aired on June 7, 1951, was based on these events. When the show moved to television, the radio script was adapted into a teleplay and broadcast on December 4, 1952. The plot focuses primarily on the story of Arthur Hutchins' impersonation of Walter Collins. In this version, the parental figure who reports the disappearance of the character based on Walter Collins is a widowed grandfather, raising the child on his own after the deaths of the boy's parents, rather than a single mother.

Changeling, a 2008 film written by J. Michael Straczynski and directed by Clint Eastwood, is also based on the Northcott case. The film primarily depicts the plight of Christine Collins (played by Angelina Jolie), the mother of Walter Collins, and her search for her real son. The film depicts all the major figures except for Sarah Louise Northcott. The film, however, suggests that at least one of the Winslow boys and even perhaps Walter Collins escaped the farm.

Further reading

Duffy, Clinton T. (1962). 88 Men and 2 Women. Doubleday.

Flacco, Anthony; Jerry Clark (November 2009). The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders. Union Square Press. ISBN 978-1-4027-68699.

Jenkins, Philip (2004). Moral Panic: Changing Concepts of the Child Molester in Modern America. Yale University Press. p. 221. ISBN 0300109636.

Jenkins, Philip (1994). Using Murder: The Social Construction of Serial Homicide. Aldine Transaction. p. 184. ISBN 0202305252.

Paul, James Jeffrey (September 2008). Nothing is Strange with You: The Life and Crimes of Gordon Stewart Northcott. Xlibris. ISBN 978-1-4363-6627-4.

Rasmussen, Cecilia (October 1998). L. A. Unconventional: The Men & Women Who Did L. A. Their Way. Los Angeles Times. ISBN 978-1883792237.

Gordon Stewart Northcott at age 10. From the cradle to the present, Northcott always was the pet of his mother, according to relatives, and was petted and pampered. This photo shows him when he lived on a farm in the wide open spaces of Canada.

Gordon Stewart Northcott at age 13. From a delicate, effeminate life, the boy swung to the other extreme, officers say. His father says he noticed strange tendencies. It is reported that Gordon was raised as a girl, not allowed to wear boys' clothes.

Gordon Stewart Northcott is shown in one of the automobiles which he is declared to have used in his alleged criminal expeditions. A man to whom he sold one of his cars reported finding stains resembling blood in the rear compartment. (His car is shown parked next to a dome-shaped restaurant with an open window facing the parking lot.)

Gordon Stewart Northcott when he lived on the "murder farm" and waged a career of terrorism
and murder of boys. Sanford Clark, who lived with him, identified him from photos.

Gordon Stewart Northcott, who "broke" on the train and confessed that he had killed one boy.
Ever since his capture he has called Mrs. Northcott his "poor little mother" and tried to shield her.

Northcott, who was accused by his 15-year-old nephew, Sanford Clark, of luring four boys
to a "murder farm" and killing them
with a hatchet.

Authorities have termed Gordon Stewart Northcott an "ape man," and Sanford Clark has described him as being "covered with hair." A letter and photo found in the Northcott home show, according to investigators, that Northcott worried about this asserted condition.

Northcott denies he killed Walter Collins or ever knew him. Deputy District Attorney Redwine
says Northcott killed Collins on the chicken ranch.

Northcott, center, is shown shackled to Constable F. R. Rigby of the Canadian police. At the right is Corporal Walker Cruickshank, also a member of the Canadian police force. Northcott arrived in Los Angeles November 30, 1928, and was placed in the cell Hickman occupied at the County Jail.

Gordon Stewart Northcott mug shot

Hands of Gordon Stewart Northcott.

At Kamloops, B.C., Sgt. Fraser of the British Columbia Provincial Police, left, escorts Gordon Northcott to
Vancouver after Northcott was captured in Vernon, B.C.. The Times published this photo Sept. 23, 1928.
(Los Angeles Times file photo).

Northcott signing out in the "big book" at the Los Angeles County Jail as he departed for Riverside
to go on trial as the slayer of the Winslow brothers. Soon after, his mother revealed that
he is actually the son of her daughter, Mrs. Winifred Clark



Here, he looks like a young writer. (Los Angeles Times file photo).

And here, he looks demonic. (Los Angeles Times file photo).



Deputy District Attorney Redwine says Northcott confessed that he murdered a Mexican boy in the farm house.

Northcott says, "The Winslow boys were never on my farm. I didn't kill them."

Deputy District Attorney Redwine says Northcott told him the head of the murdered
Mexican boy was buried on the farm after burning.

Deputy District Attorney Redwine says he has evidence to send Northcott to the gallows for the murder
of the Winslow boys and that the two little brothers were slain near Wineville. Redwine says he has their bones.

In going through the photographs from the Gordon Northcott case, I'm struck by how different Northcott looks from one image to another. Sometimes he appears thoughtful, even bookish. In others, he looks quite demonic. In the undated picture above, probably taken at San Quentin, he seems sensitive and reflective. (Los Angeles Times file photo).

Gordon Northcott: "Youth Convicted as Boy-Butcher."

C.F. Rayburn, left, and Jack Brown in the drawing room of the Southern Pacific's Owl train as they escort
Gordon Northcott to San Quentin, where he was hanged. (Los Angeles Times file photo).

Gordon Northcott, right, questions Rex Welch, analytical expert, about bloodstains on a bucket
introduced as evidence in a photograph published Jan. 28, 1929.

Gordon Stewart Northcott, the opposing batteries of attorneys, his four guards and some of the witnesses at his trial in Riverside for the murder of the Winslow brothers. Seated at the counsel table are, left to right, Deputy District Attorney Earle Redwine; Loyal C. Kelley, associate prosecution counsel; A. H. DeTremaudan, defense attorney; J. McKinley Cameron, defense attorney; David Sokol, defense attorney; Northcott; Norbert Savay, chief defense attorney. The four guards standing at right are, left to right, Deputy Sheriffs T. J. Burn, Ben deCrevecoeur, Carl Raeburn and Tex Boyles. In the background are witnesses and spectators.

Gordon Northcott ignores his attorneys and argues with the judge, Dec. 5, 1928.
(Los Angeles Times file photo).

From left, prosecutor Earl (sometimes spelled Earle) Redwine, Loyal Kelley, A.H. de Tremaudan
(sometimes spelled Tremandon), J. McKinley Cameron, David Sokol, Gordon Northcott and Norbert Savay.
(Los Angeles Times file photo).

Gordon Northcott, left, and Louisa Northcott in court, Dec. 13, 1928. (Los Angeles Times file photo).

Gordon Northcott led officers to an ash heap containing bones believed to be Walter Collins'
and is aiding a further hunt for the graves of his victims.


Northcott sitting in his cell at the Los Angeles County Jail on December 1, 1928, the cell which was occupied by William Edward Hickman, the "Fox". Here he was relentlessly questioned. He said, "I'm a misfit, and once a misfit always a misfit."

Gordon Stewart Northcott whiles away his hours in jail December 4, 1928, by playing cards alone and trying to read his future in the way the cards fall. He had recently confessed that nine boys were slain on the "murder farm," five by his own hand. He blames one killing on Sanford Clark. In his right hand he holds a fateful card, the joker. "There's always a joker in the game when I play," he said.

Gordon Stewart Northcott in Los Angeles County Jail. He is taking castor oil.



Portrait of Sarah Louise Northcott, murder accomplice of her son, Gordon,
at the farm, in custody in Calgary, Canada.

Sarah Northcott, Gordon's mother, held in Canada and jointly accused with her son of murder.

Mrs. Louise Northcott, Gordon's mother, holding a pet rooster on the ranch near Wineville.
Murder charges were issued at Riverside September 18, 1928, against her and her son,
who are reported under surveillance in Canada.

Mrs. Louise Northcott, mother of Gordon Stewart Northcott, accused jointly with her son of murder in connection with the probe of the "murder farm" near Riverside. She was being held in Canada for extradition. It was said she "always let him have his own way." Gordon accused both his parents of killing a boy known as Richard Gordon.

Sarah Louise Northcott, accused with her son, Gordon, of slaying four boys. The youth and his mother
have been ordered extradited to the United States by Canadian authorities.

Deputy P.H. Peterson and his wife escort Louisa Northcott to San Quentin for her role in the killings.
(Los Angeles Times file photo)

Sarah Louise Northcott, left, as she arrived at San Quentin Prison in the custody of Mrs. Clem Sweeters,
wife of the Riverside County Sheriff, to serve a life sentence following her murder confession.

Louisa Northcott, the mother of Gordon Northcott, is booked in jail. (Los Angeles Times file photo)

Louisa Northcott with one of her attorneys (she was represented by Norbert Savay, A.H. De Tremaudan
and J. McKinley Cameron). (Los Angeles Times file photo)

Mrs. Louise Northcott pleaded guilty on December 31, 1928, of murdering "the boy named
in the indictment as Walter Collins," but said the victim was another boy.

Louisa Northcott, December 1928. She was paroled in 1940. (Los Angeles Times file photo)



The Northcott chicken ranch, viewed from the south, showing house, garage, chicken coops
and high fence, near Wineville in Riverside County.

A farmhouse near Wineville, where Gordon Stewart Northcott killed his victims.

The Northcott ranch. Notice the stop sign used as a precursor to crime scene tape.

View from the road looking east along chicken coops where the three Northcott murder victims' graves were found. Gordon Stewart Northcott's environment was this lonely chicken ranch in Riverside County. He had dreamed of being a pianist and winning plaudits of concert crowds. Instead, his job was tending chickens and his associates few outside of his parents. He had too much time alone for thoughts of introspection, some investigators believe. So he began to lure boys to the ranch and turned it into a "murder farm" of horrors, according to his confession.

View of the chicken coops on the Northcott farm, where an arrow points to the room
where Walter Collins was imprisoned and killed, according to Clark.

The "murder farm" of Gordon Stewart Northcott near Wineville in Riverside County. The panorama shows in detail the exact places where dark deeds transpired, according to Deputy District Attorney Earl Redwine and Sanford Clark, Northcott's 15-year-old nephew, whose story brought about Northcott's arrest at age 24 in Canada. Clark accused Northcott of mistreating, murdering and burying boys in quicklime. Two boys were murdered and three buried in the chicken houses in the background. Arrow at right shows a coop where Clark asserted Northcott imprisoned Walter Collins, kidnapped Los Angeles boy, and finally killed him with an axe. Collins was held captive in the coop, slept there on a rude cot, and could only look into the pens at right. Slaying and burial sites of the Winslow brothers are noted.

Chicken coop on the Northcott farm near Wineville, where Walter Collins was buried. Northcott's mother, Sarah Northcott, confessed to this killing.

Deputy Sheriffs C. A. Sweeter, left, and Ben B. deCrevecoeur point out the entrance to a chicken coop at the "murder farm" in which Walter Collins was imprisoned, according to Clark, and murdered by Northcott. In his admission of killing the Collins boy, Northcott says he made his victims pray before an altar which he had built specially for the purpose before he killed them. "I wanted the little boys to make their peace with God so they would go to heaven," declared Northcott. Stains found on a rude canvas cot where Walter Collins slept have been analyzed and identified as human blood.

Murdered boys were buried inside this chicken house, according to Sanford Clark, a resident on the ranch. He said Lewis and Nelson Winslow were buried there with quicklime to destroy their bodies. Authorities found a shallow grave and in the dirt about it traces of lime.

Prosecutors say Gordon Stewart Northcott carried bodies of his victims into this chicken house for burial. In the foreground is what officers say was the Winslow brothers' grave. The photo is taken from a grave said to be Walter Collins'. The farm is located near Mira Loma (once called Wineville).

J. L. "Barney" Barnard discovers a hole of mystery inside a shed on the murder farm. It was sawed or hacked through the wooden floor and then dug into the earth. The hole was found filled with tin cans and rubbish, but underneath were papers and letters containing the name of Northcott and a mysterious telegram to "countess" in New York, whom officers were trying to find.

Accused murderer Gordon Stewart Northcott, shackled to an officer, watches the process of digging being done by Deputy Sheriff Ben deCrevecoueur of Riverside. No bodies were found, but they did unearth fragments of bones and wisps of hair, as well as scraps of clothing and charred belongings of the missing children.

Officers digging for graves where Northcott says "murder farm" victims were buried,
while he watches, handcuffed to an officer.

Officers taking specimens from a "murder farm" lime pit which yielded bones and wisps of hair. Scientists detected they were from two different boys, and comparison with samples completed identification, asserted investigators. Left is J. R. Quinn, chief investigator for the Sheriff's office, and Bert Kelly, Deputy Sheriff.

Deputy Sheriff Ben B. deCrevecoeur and Riverside Sheriff C. A. Sueeter digging beneath
the garage floor at the Wineville murder farm for Northcott murder victims.

Investigators looking for evidence in the Northcott murder case at the family farm.

Sheriff deputies digging in the desert where Gordon Stewart Northcott said he had buried slain boys.
He laughed when no graves were found.

Sheriff Clem Sweeters, left, and Deputy Bob Bailey, foreground, watch a trusty dig for bodies on the Northcott ranch.

Investigators dig in the desert in a search for Northcott's victims.



Detective Lieutenants Chester Lloyd and E. M. Hamren examining two hatchets and a blood-stained
chopping block found in the basement of the Northcott family house at 1239 Brittania Street.

Sanford Clark shows officials the chair from the "murder farm" in which he says the Winslow brothers and Walter Collins sat when they were killed, struck from behind by a hammer and hatchet wielded by Gordon Stewart Northcott. This chair was brought from the Wineville ranch to the Northcotts' Los Angeles home with other furniture, Clark informed Deputy Sheriffs A. B. Mendoza, left, and L. G. Ybarra, for whom he re-enacted the alleged killings.

Gordon Stewart Northcott points with a pencil to a chicken house at his ranch where the state contends one of his alleged boy victims was slain. Undersheriff Rayburn, left, and Deputy Brown, right, keep him closely guarded as the trial jury inspects the ranch.

Deputy J.R. Quinn and Sheriff Clem Sweeters with items recovered at the ranch.



Bones of victims of Gordon Stewart Northcott found at the "murder farm."

Collection of bones unearthed at the "murder farm" and declared to be human bones by three scientists
who examined them closely.

Bits of lime-flecked bone unearthed at the farm and identified by laboratory methods as finger bones
of a child about the age of the Winslow brothers.

Clark Sellers, criminologist, classified these bones as being from the second finger of a boy's right hand.

A piece of parietal skull bone, evidence in the Northcott case.

Dirt taken from shallow supposed graves of the victims at the "murder farm". It is streaked with lime and will be chemically analyzed. Officers reported finding two graves in a chicken coop and several small bones in a lime-filled hole. Authorities think the bodies may have been destroyed by quicklime.

Arrows show tiny craters in a piece of concrete taken from the chicken coop where Walter Collins
was killed. Though the concrete was scoured, minute specks of blood remained in the craters,
and these were sufficient to prove them human blood.

A piece of lime with a bone imbedded in it, discovered in a grave at the Wineville "murder farm".
Arrow points out the bone, which investigators declare they believe to be part of a human
skull. Scientists will examine this bone to determine positively.

Human skull bone found in lime on the "murder farm," with a blonde hair embedded in it.

Deputy Sheriff Ben B. deCrevecoeur with blood-soaked dirt and lime.

The corners of a burned carrying bag unearthed in a desert burying hole in the Northcott case.

A portion of the concrete floor at Northcott's farm, which had been scrubbed. However, in tiny pores of its surface adhered specks of discoloration which were analyzed and found to be human blood. Thus scientific criminology supplanted the "corpus delecti," for bodies of Northcott's victims never were discovered. He died on the gallows at San Quentin Prison on October 2, 1930, for the murder of Lewie and Nelson Winslow and an unidentified boy.

A hatchet supposedly used by Sanford Clark to kill Nelson Winslow and a cap found at the Northcott farm chicken coop. Under chemical treatment, the label of a Pomona store was brought out. The proprietor was questioned and told investigators that he had sold an identical cap to one of the Winslow boys.

This 22-caliber bullet was found in the ribs of a headless Mexican boy found near Puente and believed
to have been fired from a rifle found on Northcott's ranch. Sanford Clark said Gordon Northcott killed the boy.


This photo has two captions: (1) Right shoe of Collins boy and right shoe of boy who claims to be the Collins child. (2) One shoe is one of a pair found in the Northcotts' Los Angeles home. The other is a shoe of Walter Collins, who Sanford Clark says was killed by Gordon Northcott and his mother. Investigators declare the shoes are the same size and worn similarly at the heel. Caption one is dated September 18, 1928. Caption two is dated Saptember 24, 1928.


Boy Scout hat and uniform, along with other clothing found in the Northcott farm house.
Lewie Winslow was a Boy Scout.


Knives and forks, burned black, taken from a desert burying hole, evidence in the Northcott case.


A charred banjo key was discovered at the farm and compared with another in the home
of Lewie and Nelson Winslow, missing brothers. The keys were found to be identical,
thus giving evidence the brothers had been at the farm.



Charred aviation magazine page found at the Northcott farm. Two of the supposed victims,
the Winslow boys, were interested in aviation. The criminologist is comparing figures
on the page with specimens of their handwriting.

Charred fragment of an English book taken from a desert hole in the Northcott case investigation.

A dramatically ironic foreshadowing of Northcott's fate came when officers searching his Los Angeles home found a rope tied in a noose with a hangman's knot. Police Commissioner W. G. Thorpe is shown examining it. The house is located at 1239 Brittania Street, Boyle Heights.

J. Clark Sellers, criminologist, examines an axe which Sanford Clark says Mrs. Louise Northcott used in Walter Collins' murder. Rex Welsh, police chemist, declares the axe is stained with human blood. It was found in a chicken coop on the ranch. Northcott said he killed the boys with a gun.

Gordon Stewart Northcott's father, Cyrus G. Northcott, identifying a .22 rifle as that owned by his son. Police believe a Mexican youth, whose headless body was found near Puente, was slain with a .22 gun. Experts are trying to find if this gun

Sanford Clark, chief accuser of Gordon Stewart Northcott, affirms in a note that his charges
against the youth are true and he will stick to what he has said.

Authorities are trying to solve the mystery of this telegram found in the Northcott home.
It is addressed to Countess Therease Zoye Godowerintine and signed with
Northcott's middle name.



The written confession of the boy who finally revealed he was Billy Fields, not Walter Collins,
then later told juvenile authorities he was not Billy Fields. He was later identified at Arthur Hutchens.

The boy who came back wrote these words at Mr. Carlson's dictation. Arrow shows how he misspelled "like".
He also misspelled Sycamore, his supposed home town. He was later identified as Arthur Hutchens.

A letter written by the real Walter Collins. Arrows show how he twice spelled "like" correctly.
The capital letters "I" differ from those in the impostor's specimen.


Letter to Stewart from Sir Delwin Hamilton of Upland, which was evidence in the Northcott case.

Police reward bulletin for the return of the two missing Winslow brothers. It reports that they went to the Sloyd Building in Pomona on May 16 and have not been seen since. On May 28 their father received a letter from Lewie, mailed from Corona, stating they were having a good time sleeping in the day time and traveling at night and for him not to worry.

In this dramatic note to Stewart Northcott, his mother, Mrs. Louise Northcott, told him that she had pleaded guilty and concluded, "Just use your own judgment, my son." Northcott trembled and raged and laughed until he cried when he read it.

Part of a letter to Cyrus Northcott, Northcott's father, from Dr. Thomas Northcott, said to be the father's brother, telling how to bleach and thin hair. He says, "This might be sufficient to enable him to get by ." Gordon Stewart Northcott had a great deal of body hair.

Gordon Stewart Northcott's written confession of killing Alvin Gothea on the ranch.
He wrote the confession dramatically at the bedside of Sanford Clark, his 15-year-old nephew and accuser.


"I killed Alvin Gothea on the ranch..."


Letter from Lewie and Nelson Winslow sent to their parents from Corona, written on a leaf of a Pomona Library book. The letter talks of their wonderful adventure and desire to be as famous as Lindbergh. This was the second letter and received May 28, 1928.

The first letter sent by the Winslow brothers from Pomona May 19, 1928. They disappeared May 16.
The letter says they are going to Mexico and make a lot of money making yachts and aeroplanes.

Authorities have termed Gordon Stewart Northcott an "ape man," and Sanford Clark has described him as being "covered with hair." The picture of a hairy ape man is the cover of a pamphlet describing books about primitive men. This is being investigated as clues to a possible "complex" of Northcott. The pamphlet was found in the Northcott home.

was linked to the killing.



Portrait of Walter Collins, the son of Mrs. Christine Collins.

Walter Collins at age 7.

Gordon Northcott confessed he murdered Walter Collins saying, "It hurt me horribly
to have to do it. I cared for the boy, but he knew too much."

The real Walter Collins, with comments from his mother, Mrs. Christine Collins describing
the characteristics that distinguish him from the impostor claiming to be her son.

The real Walter Collins before he was kidnapped. Sanford Clark maintained he was killed on the "murder farm".
The boy impostor who came backas Collins explained he posed as Walter to break into films.

Billy Fields on a pony, looking astoundingly like the pose of Walter Collins. This led to his supposed identification as Fields because a woman who formerly lived in Decatur and owned the photo gave it to officers and declared she believed the false Walter Collins was the young Fields lad.

The boy who returned as Walter Collins pencils specimens of his writing, which proves he is not the real Walter Collins, according to Milton Carlson, handwriting expert. Later it was learned his real name is Arthur Hutchens, alias Billy Fields.

As the Los Angeles City Council investigated police treatment of Mrs. Christine Collins, who refused to accept Arthur Hutchens as her kidnapped son, Walter, young Hutchens stood admitted to the strange company of famous impostors of history.

Arthur Jacob Hutchens and his stepmother, Mrs. Violet Hutchens, who came to take him back home.
He had previously posed as Walter Collins and then as Billy Fields.

Mrs. Christine Collins, mother of the murdered Walter Collins, who was sent to the psychopathic ward after refusing to accept Arthur Hutchens, Jr. as her missing son. She brought a suit against Captain J. J. Jones and Police Chief James E. Davis on charges of false arrest. The Hutchens boy was found to be an imposter, and Gordon Northcott was convicted of killing Mrs. Collins' son.

Walter Collins' mother, Mrs. Christine Collins, who confronted Gordon Northcott in jail concerning her son. "I did not kill Walter," he told her. "I believe you," she replied. Later, when Arthur Hutchens claimed to be her son and she did not accept him, she was sent to a psychopathic ward. She later filed suit against the police for this action.

Mrs. Christine Collins, waiting at San Quentin Prison and hoping until the last moment of Northcott's life that he would tell her the truth about the fate of her son, Walter. She talked to Northcott, and he denied the killing but was so contradictory that she was not sure.




Lewie Winslow at age 3 and Nelson Winslow at 18 months.

The Winslow brothers, Lewie (left) and Nelson (right), who were murdered by Gordon Northcott. However, Northcott claimed that Nelson was murdered by Sanford Clark on his own. Northcott declared, "I felt sorry for Nelson after I killed Lewie, the little one was so distressed and wept so."

Lewie and Nelson Winslow with a neighbor girl. Sanford Clark says the boys were slain by Gordon Northcott.

Lewie and Nelson Winslow--the little brothers for whose deaths Northcott will be hanged. Their mother
seeks a word with Northcott before he is hanged. Mrs. Christine Collins also is hoping he will speak
to her again regarding her son.

Comparison of weight, grain, texture and chlorophyl grouping of hairs in evidence proves
that Nelson Winslow was at the Wineville farm, an expert declared.

Lewie Winslow holding a chicken. His hair was found and analyzed acording to weight,
grain and texture, thus identifying him as a murder victim.

A sample of Nelson Winslow's hair, furnished to police chemist Rex Welch by parents of the missing boy.

N. H. Winslow, father of the missing boys, watching and waiting, saying, "Our boys aren't dead. They'll be
along pretty soon." But the mother had given up hope, locking herself in the boys' room and weeping.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. N. H. Winslow in Pomona at 455 Center Street. They are the parents
of missing Lewie and Nelson. The porch light is on every night for them if they should return.

Every night, all night, a light burns on the porch of the Winslow home in Pomona, and the covers of a little white bed where Lewie and Nelson Winslow used to sleep are turned down, to welcome the missing boys. Their father believes they are alive and will come back, though Sanford Clark says they were "murder farm" victims.



Sanford Clark, Gordon Northcott's nephew, who first revealed the so-called "murder farm" and accused Northcott of killing at least three boys there. He declared he was held captive at the farm and made to assist in the murders. He is Jessie Clark's brother.

Sanford Clark, 15, who asserted four boys were slain on a "murder farm" by Stewart Northcott, 24. He is shown looking over photos of missing boys. He claimed Walter Collins was a victim and picked his photo out of 30 but could not identify a boy found and returned as Walter Collins.

Deputy Sheriffs Abe Mendoza, left, and Joseph Sepulveda, right, question Sanford Clark about a grain sack found on Stewart Northcott's ranch. The brand is said to be similar to that of the sack in which a headless Mexican boy was found.

Jessie Clark, sister of "murder farm" resident Sanford Clark, went to the farm to rescue her brother. Fearing for her life, she would tiptoe in the middle of the night to Sanford's bedside, where he whispered his story of the murders of several boys, according to her sworn statement.

Jessie Clark, 19-year-old Saskatoon, Canada, girl who said, "Gordon said he burned four boys on a pyre."

Mrs. Winifred Clark, mother of Sanford and Jessie, has turned against her accused relatives, the Northcotts. Sanford was Gordon's teen-aged nephew who lived for a time at the farm. Clark said, "I hope Mother and Brother can make their peace with God."

Gordon Stewart Northcott's older sister, Mrs. Winifred Clark, who had arrived at the farm
and discovered the truth. She returned safely to Calgary.

Northcott murder case witness Rorma Langworthy identified pages as from a book
she gave Lewie Winslow by the binding date on one of them.

Friend of Gordon Northcott, Delwin Hamilton, witness in the case who heard Northcott
talk about quicklime and a mysterious cavern on the farm.

Marvin K. Duley, a witness in the Northcott trial, who knew Gordon Northcott for five years. He and another witness, Delwin Hamilton, revealed how they visited the farm and heard Northcott boast of having a barrel of quicklime and a mysterious cavern there. Hamilton declared that Northcott once told him of "plugging a man's head full of holes."

Inspector Forbes Cruickshank of the British Columbia provincial police, with headquarters
at Vancouver, whose men captured
Northcott in Canada.

Corporal Walker Cruickshank, son of the internationally-famous police officer, Inspector Forbes Cruickshank, has been detailed as a special guard for Gordon Stewart Northcott, held in British Columbia. He is to guard him on his trips from Oakalla Prison eight miles from town to Vancouver County Courthouse.

Police Captain J. J. Jones, who faces a hearing before the Police Commission following his suspension
on charges growing out of the imprisonment in the psychopathic ward of Mrs. Christine Collins
for not accepting an impostor as her son.

Cyrus G. Northcott, father of the suspect and asserted owner of the farm,
was grilled by police in September 1928 and denied any knowledge of the crimes.

Prosecutors asked for an all-male jury, saying that the evidence would be too gruesome for any woman.
(Los Angeles Times file photo)

Bea Kiddo

Forum Dabbler
What a gut-wrenching crime. After the notoriety of the case, the town of Wineville petitioned to have the city renamed Mira Loma. Mira Loma isn't that far from LA, and I've made the trip out there a couple of times in recent years to soak up a little local color.

The chicken coop area and all the outbuildings are long gone, but the original ranch house is still there. Spooky as hell though... the entire area. And most interesting, the house is apparently seldom occupied for more than brief periods. Big surprise.

Honest One

Hey asshole, quit honkin on the pub floor
very cool thread! the movie was good too but it left ya hangin about walters fate. this confirms that he was killed.

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