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Amraann
01-14-2006, 05:06 PM
Please continue this here ...

Part #1 can be located here
http://websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22973

mysteriew
01-14-2006, 05:13 PM
On the back of the picture was this:


Louis Sodder
I Love brother Frankie
lili Boys
A90132 or 35


I wanted to bring this forward.
Could this be what it is saying:
Louis Sodder
I Love (his) brother Frankie
(He has) lili (little) boys
A90132 (partial SSN or a visa number?)
This could be someone who knows English only as a second language, and doesn't know it well. What seems to be a cryptic message, could actually be someone with a language barrier.

Shadow205
01-14-2006, 06:46 PM
That is certainly possible Mysteriew. If so then who is "Brother Frankie"?

mysteriew
01-14-2006, 07:03 PM
That is certainly possible Mysteriew. If so then who is "Brother Frankie"?

Possibly someone from the family that they were living with? If they were placed with a family, then the other children in the household, would be referreed to as their "brother".

reportertype
01-14-2006, 09:05 PM
I wonder if it could be a reference to a Brother Frankie, maybe if he stayed in some type of boys home or something? Just something that popped into my brain.

fox1950
01-14-2006, 09:55 PM
I wanted to bring this forward.
Could this be what it is saying:
Louis Sodder
I Love (his) brother Frankie
(He has) lili (little) boys
A90132 (partial SSN or a visa number?)
This could be someone who knows English only as a second language, and doesn't know it well. What seems to be a cryptic message, could actually be someone with a language barrier.There is a school in Washington, DC called National Cathedral School . It's number is 090135. Secondary/High Schools -- District of Columbia (http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/redir?src=websearch&requestId=d83846b078d1963b&clickedItemRank=1&userQuery=National+Cathedral+School%2C+DC+090135&clickedItemURN=https%3A%2F%2Fwww1.albert.nyu.edu%3 A4901%2Fschools%2Fsecondary%2FUS_DC-0.html&title=Secondary%2FHigh+Schools+--+District+of+Columbia) I think someone from Kentucky sent the picture but I wonder if it was sent to them from somewhere else.

Looked again-this is an all girls school

shadowangel
01-14-2006, 11:56 PM
John's middle initial was "F" as I recall, but I don't remember reading what it stood for.

There are many Frank Cipriani's listed on Ancestry.com, some of an age close to the childrens'...

fox1950
01-15-2006, 06:55 PM
Just some things I found with I googled 90135-Italy. Probably Nothing


MassTimes (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/ShowChurches.aspx?q=&state=&city=&statecode=&diocese=Palermo&country=Italy&countrycode=IT&Type=DIOCESE)


Assumption B. M. V. (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52592) 0916760859 Map (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52592) Updated: 11/23/2003
Address: Via Perpignano, 183 Palermo PA 90135 Italy
Jesus Christ (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52583) 091221146 Map (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52583) Updated: 11/22/2003 Address: Via Castellana, 110 Palermo PA 90135 Italy
Sacred Heart of Jesus (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52779) 0916823898 Map (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52779) Updated: 11/25/2003
Address: Via Noce, 126 Palermo PA 90135 Italy

Does PA90135 mean Providence Area? Any one know? Could this go with the code on the back-A090135 or A90135

mysteriew
01-15-2006, 07:21 PM
Just some things I found with I googled 90135-Italy. Probably Nothing


MassTimes (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/ShowChurches.aspx?q=&state=&city=&statecode=&diocese=Palermo&country=Italy&countrycode=IT&Type=DIOCESE)


Assumption B. M. V. (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52592) 0916760859 Map (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52592) Updated: 11/23/2003
Address: Via Perpignano, 183 Palermo PA 90135 Italy
Jesus Christ (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52583) 091221146 Map (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52583) Updated: 11/22/2003 Address: Via Castellana, 110 Palermo PA 90135 Italy
Sacred Heart of Jesus (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52779) 0916823898 Map (http://www.masstimes.org/dotNet/showchurch.aspx?id=52779) Updated: 11/25/2003
Address: Via Noce, 126 Palermo PA 90135 Italy

Does PA90135 mean Providence Area? Any one know? Could this go with the code on the back-A090135 or A90135

There appears to be a zip code for not only Palermo, but also for Big City Cal.

fox1950
01-15-2006, 07:22 PM
Also check this out:Untitled Document (http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/redir?src=websearch&requestId=ab825891277fbd84&clickedItemRank=34&userQuery=Italy+-+PA+90135&clickedItemURN=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.carta.org%2Fagenzi a%2FtestimoniGenova%2Fdiritti_migranti%2Ftabella.h tm&title=Untitled+Document)

Lombardia, 46040, Guidizzolo, MN, Saiore 116, Islamic Moviment of Italy ... Sicilia, 90135, Palermo, PA, via GE Di Blasi, 10, Associazione Culturale ...

http://www.carta.org/agenzia/testimoniGenova/diritti_migranti/tabella.htm

Palermo hotels and accommodation, hotel reservations in Sicily, by ... (http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/redir?src=websearch&requestId=ab825891277fc733&clickedItemRank=10&userQuery=Palermo+90135+Italy&clickedItemURN=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.all-hotels.com%2Feurope%2Fitaly%2Fsicily%2Fpalermo_1.h tm&title=Palermo+hotels+and+accommodation%2C+hotel+re servations+in+Sicily%2C+by+...)
Palermo hotels, hotel reservations in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by all-hotels(tm) - travel and lodgings ... Via Ottavio D'aragona 25, Palermo, Italy, 90135

Palermo, Lingerie & Hosiery: Lingerie & Hosiery in Palermo,... (http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/redir?src=websearch&requestId=33ba98691adcded4&clickedItemRank=1&userQuery=PA+90132+-+Italy&clickedItemURN=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.palermo.worldweb.c om%2FShopping%2FLingerieHosiery%2F&title=Palermo%2C+Lingerie+%26amp%3B+Hosiery%3A+Lin gerie+%26amp%3B+Hosiery+in+Palermo%2C%2C+Sicily)
The fabrics are said to be as smooth as a caress, or, carezze. Address: Corso Calatafimi, 103h Palermo PA Italy 90132 ...


If you search 90135 Italy you find several web sites for Palermo, Italy. ...

Could A90132 or 35 stand for PA90132 or PA90135 standing for Palermo, Italy?

InquisitiveT
01-16-2006, 02:10 AM
Hi All. I'm a new member and just signed up on Websleuths. I've been following this thread since I first read the Sodder story transcript on the NPR website in late December. I did a lot of research online when I was in college. So, I discovered ways to look up "hard to find" information online. I just wanted to share this. This is in regards to JBandy post "Italy Family", where he received a mystery post on Ancestry.com.

I went to Yahoo International websites, Italy (http://it.yahoo.com/). I am fluent in Spanish, and can sort of follow along the lines if reading something in Italian (as both languages are latin based). At any rate, I decided to do a search in the White Pages (Pagine Bianche) to look for the names mentioned in this "mystery post" in Ancestry.com.


Re: Family History
Author: adelaide Date: 23 Aug 2003 12:45 PM GMT
Surnames: Dessena Adelaide Ignazia Lalla
Classification: Query

Our grand father Salvatore Soddu had a brother, is name was Giorgio, he goes in USA west virginia in beginning 1900, he was 16 years old.He changed his surname in Sodder, we have a photo of George family (1960),he had five soons,and his wife's name was Maria Cipriani. We live in Italy, Sardegna in a little village Tula in Sassari's provincia. We are Ignazia,Adelaide e Lalla Dessena our mother is Anna Maria Soddu.Sorry for our english. Is the person that you are looking for? bye bye

I searched a combination of names for "Dessena Adelaide Ignazia Lalla", and no hits. Then, I searched for Anna Maria Soddu in Tula. This is where I got a hit http://it.paginebianche.yahoo.net/execute.cgi?btt=1&tl=2&tr=101&tc=&be=&cb=10&tq=2&qs=Soddu&qsn=Anna+Maria&dv=Tula&ind=&nc=&x=0&y=0.

Now, it may not seem like a lot, but if the family would like to attempt to call this listing to see if Adelaide can be contacted, I'm thinking this is a good lead to finding the family connection in Italy. JBandy, I hope this is of some help. Perhaps someone in your family speaks Italian and can try this number.

I look forward to reading more excellent ideas in trying to help the Sodder family find some answers to this painfully long mystery.

shadowangel
01-16-2006, 02:16 AM
I had done a search on the numbers as possibly postal zip codes, but couldn't get a hit (I tried various combinations).

Is it possible that some codes were discontinued down through the years? What happens if a post office closes, either due to lack of residents or a merger with another post office? Would these codes probably somewhere on the west coast if they were zip codes?
By the way, welcome InquisitiveT, we welcome any help we can get!!

mysteriew
01-16-2006, 03:05 AM
Inquisitive T, thanks so much for the info. And welcome to WS!

Shadowangel, when I did a regular google of zip code+ 90135, I also came up with hits in Palermo and also one in Big City, Calif. ( http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/documents/th200.pdf address is on pg. 5 of the pdf) Whoops, scratch that, it is a sample form, and probably a bogus address.
Interestingly enough 90132 also shows up as a zip code in Palermo. I didn't find anything for 90132 in the US.
Here is the link to research Italian zip codes
http://sicilia.indettaglio.it/eng/cap/palermo/motore/motore.html

I also did a check on both numbers at the USPS and no hits on either number. I only saw that in the Google search.

fox1950
01-16-2006, 11:53 AM
Can anyone find when zip codes were first used in the United States. If my memory serves me correctly it was in the 1960's. Remember everyone complaining about having to (now) put a zip code after the address. This was started to make it easier on the postal service to sort and forward the mail.

fox1950
01-16-2006, 11:56 AM
I found it - ZIP Code - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/redir?src=websearch&requestId=b04d6808f6e7795e&clickedItemRank=3&userQuery=When+zip+codes+were+first+used&clickedItemURN=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwik i%2FZip_code&title=ZIP+Code+-+Wikipedia%2C+the+free+encyclopedia)

California zip codes start with 9, however did not find one that was 90132 or 90135. Regarding information about Italy-enter a description here (http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/redir?src=websearch&requestId=b36c5fc156e9a728&clickedItemRank=10&userQuery=Italy+zip+codes&clickedItemURN=http%3A%2F%2Fmembers.tripod.com%2Fp ippee%2Falizashelpkit.html&title=enter+a+description+here)

Inquistive T- Thanks and welcome-Do you know when zip codes first started in Italy?

Marie
01-16-2006, 02:03 PM
I wanted to bring this forward.
Could this be what it is saying:
Louis Sodder
I Love (his) brother Frankie
(He has) lili (little) boys
A90132 (partial SSN or a visa number?)
This could be someone who knows English only as a second language, and doesn't know it well. What seems to be a cryptic message, could actually be someone with a language barrier.Maybe it is Lily's Boys or Lili's Boys.

Was the A90132 handwritten? Or stamped on the photo?

fox1950
01-16-2006, 06:28 PM
Maybe it is Lily's Boys or Lili's Boys.

Was the A90132 handwritten? Or stamped on the photo? Never realized it but this is a last name Lili and Lily. Both are first names, too. Frankie Lane had a song Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo.

Marie
01-16-2006, 06:42 PM
Just tossing some more out -

I love brother Frankie and Lili's boys. I love Frank Lili's boys.

And is it sure that the "A" is an A? Otherwise it could be a date.

Or "A" is for About - About September 1st 1932. About 9th of January 1932. Etc.

Yaya
01-16-2006, 08:54 PM
(1) Mom doesn't have the original photo. She only has a copy, so the quality is not terrific. The original was much clearer. She recalls seeing casement windows in the background of the photo.

(2) She recalls the handwriting on the back of the photo differently than what was in the Bragg book. Since she doesn't have the original, she can't confirm this.) She recalls the first two lines the same as reported, but the last two as:

lilil boys (they always thought this was meant to be slang for "little boys")
Age 32 or 35
This quote by Grandaughter is from the other thread... just posting it here incase anyone overlooked it.

mysteriew
01-16-2006, 10:46 PM
One thing that I have been puzzling over, is the type of photo. It is hard to tell from the copy on here. But does it appear to be a formal, posed photo or a portion of an informal snapshot?
If it was a formal photo, there may have been watermarks on the photo paper that might have held a clue as to where it came from.
During that time period, most of the informal snapshots I have seen would have the date of processing, printed along the edge.

Granddaughter
01-17-2006, 09:47 AM
Hi all. didn't want you to think we'd forgotten about you. Mom has rounded up a bunch of articles and photos, including photos of two of Papa's brothers in Italy, and photos of my grandparents when they were about the age that the missing children would be today. My brother is creating a webpage so I can post this information for you to access.

The photo reported to be Louis appeared to be a snapshot. Mom recalls seeing a casement window in the background of the original that Mama and Papa received. She and Dad looked for buildings with casement windows when they went to Kentucky, and that's why she recalls this detail.

Sorry I haven't been able to post much. I've been covered up at work. I'll try to post more as soon as possible.

Shadow205
01-17-2006, 10:52 AM
Granddaughter,

That is great news about the website! Keep us posted.


Hi all. didn't want you to think we'd forgotten about you. Mom has rounded up a bunch of articles and photos, including photos of two of Papa's brothers in Italy, and photos of my grandparents when they were about the age that the missing children would be today. My brother is creating a webpage so I can post this information for you to access.

The photo reported to be Louis appeared to be a snapshot. Mom recalls seeing a casement window in the background of the original that Mama and Papa received. She and Dad looked for buildings with casement windows when they went to Kentucky, and that's why she recalls this detail.

Sorry I haven't been able to post much. I've been covered up at work. I'll try to post more as soon as possible.

shadowangel
01-17-2006, 12:25 PM
The website is great news. If you need any help with anything, just let us know.

How aggravating is it...Mothman got a movie with Richard Gere, and we're having trouble getting the kids a mention in the newspaper. :)

InquisitiveT
01-18-2006, 12:33 AM
Thank you for the welcomes. I have been searching for an answer to Fox1950's question about how long postal codes have been in use in Italy. I have found information that they joined the United Postal Union (UPU) in 1875 and have a few email inquiries to two websites to see if I can get an answer. Meanwhile, of interest, I found the following:

In mysterview's quote below, there is a link (.sicilia.indettaglio.it). I looked up the zip code 90135 and a place called "A." is at the very top of the list. http://sicilia.indettaglio.it/eng/cap/palermo/motore/motore_sql.html?Nome=*&Tipo=%25&Cap=90135.


Inquisitive T, thanks so much for the info. And welcome to WS!

Shadowangel, when I did a regular google of zip code+ 90135, I also came up with hits in Palermo and also one in Big City, Calif. ( http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/documents/th200.pdf address is on pg. 5 of the pdf) Whoops, scratch that, it is a sample form, and probably a bogus address.
Interestingly enough 90132 also shows up as a zip code in Palermo. I didn't find anything for 90132 in the US.
Here is the link to research Italian zip codes
http://sicilia.indettaglio.it/eng/cap/palermo/motore/motore.html

I also did a check on both numbers at the USPS and no hits on either number. I only saw that in the Google search.
Not sure what "Name" represents. Wondering if this is a street name? :confused: Under "Kind", "Cortile" is listed, and this translates to courtyard. I think it reinforces the idea that the wording behind the picture could represent a location, in this case, a street in Palermo. I've done other research on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palermo#History) on Palermo, and directly quoting:

The importance of Palermo got another boost when Sicily (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicily) became (1947 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1947)) an autonomous region with extended self-rule. But any improvement was thwarted by the rising power of the Mafia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafia), which still today is a dramatic feature of the city, as well as the whole Southern Italy.
I do not mean any disrespect to the Sodder family bringing up the mafia reference, but it lends to the theory some have visited on this website about mafia involvement. Just following a train of thought here.

shadowangel
01-18-2006, 11:07 AM
I was playing around with the message from the back of the Louis photo. Granddaughter had posted that her Mom recalled the one line as being "age 32 or 35" instead of A90132 or 35.

The "A" is self-evident...And, in some European countries, "9" is written with a "tail" and would resemble a lower-case "g". I had a harder time getting "01" to resemble an "e", but without seeing the original writing, who can say? What I would give to see the back of that photo...

Jennie-Does your Mom know if a copy was ever made of the writing? Also, does she know what may have become of the device she found in the yard?

spikydragon
01-18-2006, 02:29 PM
Now I'm confused ... does the writing say "32 or 35" verbatim, or does it say either "32" or "35"?

(Delurking. Hi. ;))

shadowangel
01-18-2006, 02:53 PM
You're not confused...I've been working it from both angles. :)

drema
01-19-2006, 04:12 PM
Perhaps lili or ilil are partical names for something. Like for example: Funicello-someone could shorten it to cello. Or Capriani could be shortened to iani boys or riani boys. Maybe this was a group of "boys" and their title was shortened to "Ilil" boys or lili rather than writing out the whole name. Sounds Itilian especially since the one ends with an I.

shadowangel
01-20-2006, 08:00 PM
FYI, I e-mailed the Human Trafficking division of INTERPOL, to see what they suggest we might do as far as researching any possible activity in Italy. They were quite responsive when I asked some questions in relation to Sharon Marshall, more responsive than several of the PDs I've tried dealing with here in the States.

fox1950
01-22-2006, 11:52 AM
Thank you InquistiveT. Your posts have been very informative and helped me search the Italian sites. Keep Going! :clap: Perhaps the children are still not able to reveal what happened to them. I wonder if down thru the years there has been many hang up calls expecially during Mr. & Mrs. Sodder's lifetime. Jennie, does you family still have the magazine that your grandparents thought they saw a picture of Betty in? Can't wait to see your website. Also does Sylvia remember if they appeared to be only one "handwriting" on the picture or did there appear to be more than one person's writing?

Also InquistiveT- It appears Lili is an Italian last name.

fox1950
01-22-2006, 07:57 PM
Re: Family History


Author: adelaide Date: 23 Aug 2003 12:45 PM GMT
Surnames: Dessena Adelaide Ignazia Lalla
Classification: Query

Our grand father Salvatore Soddu had a brother, is name was Giorgio, he goes in USA west virginia in beginning 1900, he was 16 years old.He changed his surname in Sodder, we have a photo of George family (1960),he had five soons,and his wife's name was Maria Cipriani. We live in Italy, Sardegna in a little village Tula in Sassari's provincia. We are Ignazia,Adelaide e Lalla Dessena our mother is Anna Maria Soddu.Sorry for our english. Is the person that you are looking for? bye bye


I searched a combination of names for "Dessena Adelaide Ignazia Lalla", and no hits. Then, I searched for Anna Maria Soddu in Tula. This is where I got a hit http://it.paginebianche.yahoo.net/execute.cgi?btt=1&tl=2&tr=101&tc=&be=&cb=10&tq=2&qs=Soddu&qsn=Anna+Maria&dv=Tula&ind=&nc=&x=0&y=0..[/QUOTE]




One hit for the name Dessena in Tula
Dessena Giovanna
07010 Tula (SS) - Via S. Elena, 15

079 718152

Shadow205
01-26-2006, 08:57 AM
Granddaughter,

Do you know if your family here in the US has any contact with the family members in Italy? Have they kept in touch over the years? Does Sylvia know this woman who claims to be Salvatore Soddu's Granddaughter? Did George & Jennie have contact with them after coming to the US?

LButler
01-26-2006, 05:05 PM
Hi All!! Glad to see the new info here!! Exciting!! I've been away too long - we're closing our antique store after 4 years and, gosh, it's a lot more work to GO OUT OF BUSINESS than to be in business. But, enough about me!!

I see a reference to the post of "Adelaide" in the rootsweb forum. I sent her an e-mail several months back (per that address she listed there) and although it didn't bounce back, I never heard back from her?

I have to go back and catch up on the last posts of the first thread so maybe someone else has been contacted too. But, I have heard back from my detective mag guy and he has located the magazine that had the story in it. Should be arriving to me in a few days. I'll share what I can when I get it (provided I'm not way behind here on what's been posted).

Once our store gets officially signed and sealed, I'll have some free time to run around and do some research so post some ideas for me if you have any. I want to go to the libraries and read up on what kind of things were just generally going on in Fayetteville about the time this happened...

Gosh, I've missed this....

drema
01-26-2006, 07:49 PM
A Smithers woman claimed that the kids had been brought to her home after the fire and then someone with Florida license plates came and took them away.
I don't know if this is the same woman that the authorities claim to have talked to and decided that she was not credible or not.


Welcome back-L Butler! To answer this post (above) that was on the other page questioning whether the woman in Smithers and the motel owner in Charleston who said she saw the children that night-I think these are two different people. One was at Smithers and one was in Charleston. Does anyone know the Smithers woman's name and if she was Italian? The Lady from Charleston said she saw the children with Italian men that night and called a year later and said she saw Louis with a man in Charleston again. The lady in Smithers said they were brought to her house after the fire and then someone with Florida license plates came and took them away. The motel operator's name in Charleston was Ida Crutchfield.

JBandy
01-27-2006, 02:28 AM
I am waiting on my thesis to be accepted, but in the mean time I am moving back to Fayetteville from Boston to spend a month with my family and to research and talk about this with people effective February 3. If anyone is interested in meeting me and helping me look for answers please let me know.

Jonathan

Yaya
01-27-2006, 09:52 AM
Shadow205 you had posted in the other thread:


Shadowangel & I are trying to drum up some interest within the anthropology departments at 2 Universities here in WV. I think it could be quite a class project.
Any update?

Shadow205
01-27-2006, 10:43 AM
Nothing yet Yaya. I think that we need to establish how the current property owners would feel about their property being excavated before we go any further with that idea. I noticed in the above post that Jonathan is coming to Fayetteville, maybe that would be the time to approach them.


Shadow205 you had posted in the other thread:


Any update?

drema
01-27-2006, 07:50 PM
Here are some hightlights from Inside Detective, February, 1968 that I just found:

The title is "The Children who went up in Smoke" -

According to the article it all began a few months before Christmas 1945. A stranger appeared in the fall of 1945 to discuss some hauling work. While there, he made a point of examining the wiring of the house. He stated there was going to be a fire pointing to two fuse boxes. Mr. Sodder had not ask him to inspect the fuse boxes.
A few days before Christmas the family noticed another thing which seem unimportant at the time. A man parked in an automobile was seen watching the Sodder children when they came home from school. The unknown man was seen several times parked along the highway.
There was no Christmas tree that year because the family was sad Joe had not made it home for Christmas. (So, a Christmas tree did not start the blaze).
When the telephone rang at 12:30 a.m. Mrs. Sodder saw Marian alseep on the couch in the living room. Lights were on through the house, shades were up and the door was open as though no one had taken time to close up the house before going to bed. The caller was a woman. Mrs. Sodder heard weird laughter of another person in the background. The person asked for a man who was not, nor had any reason to be at the Sodder residence.
Mrs. Sodder locked the doors, pulled the shades and turned off all but one light which was was normally kept on during the night. She did not wake Marian who had fallen a sleep while reading a magazine.
30 minutes after the phone call she heard a thud on the roof. About to doze off again she smelled smoke around 1:30 a.m.
The three girls sleep in the first bedroom immediately at the top of the stairs. There was no door at the top of the steps into the girls room which means that could have easily have heard Mrs. Sodder's calls.
The boy's room was in the back blocked by a door to the girl's room.
The engine would not turn over in the truck in the garage nearby.
The house was seven rooms. Five rooms were downstairs, 2 were upstairs where the children slept.
December 28- Three men and a woman came to the Sodders to see the babies as if to learn if the parent suspected anything. (Article does not state if the Sodders knew these people).
Later, Mrs. Sodder begin to burn pork chops bones, etc. in her stove. After the fire died the bones were still there.
Three months after the fire, baby Sylvia found a device which could contain explosive or jellied gasoline. It was later identifed as an Army pineapple. The end of the object was slightly burned.
No one interviewed who was present at the fire smelled burning flesh or heard screams.
A man riding a bus past the scene around 1 a.m. stated he remembered seeing what appeared to be balls of fire hurtling toward the roof of the house.
Another woman said thought she saw some of the children peering from a passing automobile while the fire was in progress.
The ladder was found 75 feet down a embankment from the Sodder home.
A woman operating a tourist court on the highway between Fayetteville and Charleston, around 50 miles west of the fire said she saw the children the morning of the fire. She served them breakfast. In the parking lot was a car with Florida plates. She remembered this after a picture of the children were put in the Charleston paper after the family became suspicious. She knew nothing of the fire that morning. She found out about it when she read the article and related the pictures to the children she saw the next morning.
Another woman saw the article and said she saw four of the five children at a hotel a week or so after the fire accompanied by two women and two men, Italians. They registered around midnight. She tried to talk to the children but the men appeared hostile and refused to let her talk to the children. The younger boy answered a friendly comment she made and one of the girls began to talk to her. The man started talking in Italian and everyone stopped talking. They all stayed in one room of the motel and left early the next day. She, too, had never heard of the fire. The same woman said 8 months later (August 1946, a man with a boy stayed at the Alderson Hotel (same hotel) and the young man called the boy his "ward". He never let him out of his sight. The woman never connected the case until she saw pictures of the Sodder children. She did not remember seeing the older boy (Maurice). She recognized Louis after having seen him at the same hotel 8 months earlier. The lady said they stayed approximately 3 days.
The lady who said she made the call the night of the fire retracted her statement later.
More later if you are interested.

Shadow205
01-27-2006, 09:49 PM
Very interesting Drema. Please post more.

drema
01-28-2006, 08:50 AM
There is a couple of things from yesterday's post that I would like to change or verify:


The lady who said she made the call did not retract her statement, she changed her story.
The young man seen with the boy in August 1946, that the woman thought was the same boy as she had seen a week after the fire, was an Italian. (Brother Frankie)?
Something new from the post of yesterday: The picture Mr. and Mrs. Sodder found and Mr. Sodder went to New York to investigate was one of two beginners in a ballet class at the West Side center of the New York Children's Aid Society. He was informed there could be no question about the child's parantage and therefore it could not possibly be the child he sought. How did they know? This was Betty according to Jennie-Grandaughter.
I have a busy ahead-will post more when I can this afternoon. L Butler-did you get your copy of the magazine you said you ordered. Is it the same one? Feel free to chime in or add your comments if you have received your book.

Granddaughter
01-28-2006, 05:44 PM
Hi -

Sorry for the sporadic posts. I'm waiting on my big brother to finish the website so I can post the stuff we've found.

My grandparents apparently remained in contact with my grandfather's family in Tula. Mom found a death announcement for one brother and a military photo for another brother among some of my Mama's letters. The death announcement was for Sini Ignazai in Soddu, who lived from 2-2-1899 to 12-19-1963. The military photo was of Giau Gavins Soddu. Mom's not aware of any continued contact with the family in Italy after my grandfather's death in 1969.

I plan to post some photos of my grandparents on Monday. The photos in the magazines were all pretty bad, and we wanted you to be able to see the people who would have appreciated your efforts so much.

Meduza
01-28-2006, 08:16 PM
Hi all, first post and I guess I will begin by addressing a post made by Shadowangel's post #20 for this thread first and have a few more thoughts on other things as well, that have not been mentioned. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to step on toes or make anyone mad, just curious about some things and maybe offering up some other ideas.


I'm sorta familiar with the military, and I have never heard of a device like that mentioned here. All grenades have always been made of metal, and the US military never produced a napalm grenade-only large bombs. Napalm was also used in flame throwers. Napalm devices use either white phosphorus or thermite (or thermate) to ignite the napalm, which burn at about 4000 degrees...I don't think a hollow rubber ball is going to survive! (The Us does use an icendiary grenade, which is metal and tubular-it basically ignites and burns in place. I've seen one burn through an auto engine block. I'll speak to a historian at the West Point Museum tomorrow just to be sure, though).I did a fast Google search for pineapple bomb and after weeding out all the bartender recipes for this drink, (where on Earth do they come up with some of these names for drinks?) I came across this bit of info. Now granted it was used during the Vietnam war in this article, but before it was used there, I am sure many different models were made prior to it's use during that war and the research had to begin somewhere or the design stolen from another country in another war. In any case, here's a snip of the article and the link to it follows.




As well as explosive bombs the United States Air Force (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWusaaf.htm) dropped a considerable number of incendiary devices. The most infamous of these was napalm, a mixture of petrol and a chemical thickner which produces a tough sticky gel that attaches itself to the skin. The igniting agent, white phosphorus, continues burning for a considerable amount of time. A reported three quarters of all napalm victims in Vietnam were burned through to the muscle and bone (fifth degree burns). The pain caused by the burning is so traumatic that it often causes death.

The US also made considerable use of anti-personnel bombs. The pineapple bomb was made up of 250 metal pellets inside a small canister. Gloria Emerson, a reporter in Vietnam, witnessed their use: "An American plane could drop a thousand pineapples over an area the size of four football fields. In a single air strike two hundred and fifty thousand pellets were spewed in a horizontal pattern over the land below, hitting everything on the ground."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/VNchemical.htm

I also found this link doing a napalm grenade search on Google too


A napalm grenade, packed in a heavy plastic sphere almost the exact size and weight of a baseball. The detonator should be of very low power -- just enough to break the plastic shell and ignite the inflammable. If the napalm is packed under pressure, it will spread itself when the case breaks. The detonator (a contact cap) should be carried separately and inserted or screwed in just before throwing. This would allow a man to carry a sack full of balls without danger to himself. Now, we probably have developed some fine riflemen, sharpshooters, etc., but there isn't an American boy over thirteen who can't peg a baseball from infield to home plate with accuracy. And a grown man with sandlot experience can do much better. It is the natural weapon for Americans. Six good men could ring an area with either napalm or white phosphorus faster than you could throw a magazine into an automatic or a machine gun. And an enemy with a bit of flame on his clothes or even in front of him is out of combat. The weapon would also be valuable for cleaning out tunnels and foxholes. Mounted as a rifle grenade, the Steinbeck super ball would also be valuable for burning off cover of extra ambush country or of tree-borne sniper fire. http://50books.blogspot.com/2005/08/magazines-steinbeck-super-ball.html

Now this last one does sound very similar to the item that Sylvia found and the balls of fire that the busdriver claims to have seen.

I have also noticed that depending upon the article, the source of the fire has never truly been established. One item stated it was the fuse box, (or one of the 2 fuse boxes), and another item states that it began on the tar paper and wood roof. I would like to know where the fuse boxes were located at that time. I know of several homes located in upper Ohio that still operate on the original fuse box and it is located on an outside wall and with those fuses that if ya blow one, use a penny in it concept. So that is why I ask. Threats were to have been made by both a person stating the fuse box/s would cause a fire and by the fella that was upset over insurance and their Italian history. Sorry, to lazy to hunt down those threads right now. I just thought it was interesting to add that fuse boxes were not always inside the home and access to those might have been just as easy, if not easier, than access the phone line.

Marie
01-28-2006, 10:05 PM
If you google "pineapple bomb WWII" you'll find some information.

drema
01-28-2006, 10:15 PM
Thanks, Meduza. If you find out information let up know. Even the smallest clue may lead to something. The bomb makes more sense to me now since I thought the pineapple grenade was metal anyway. Don't know where the fuse box was but people were more open to letting people in their homes then than nowdays.

Some more:

The Sodders felt the telephone lines had to have been cut after the call around 12:30 since the phone was working then. Mr. Sodder felt that someone cut the line in an attempt to cut off the electricity in the house so they would not be able to find their way out. However, the telephone line was cut.
Something that has not been mentioned: A taxi brought several folks to the fire from a local tavern. No one could ever found the taxi driver or what company it came from. This was probably where the rumor came about that the children watched the fire from a taxi.
Mr. Sodder heard the children were in Cortez, Florida. A detective went there looking and showed the pictures of the children around. Some people thought they had seen the children, however, there was no evidence the children were still there.
The coroner's inquest was going on during the search for the children. When Mrs. Sodder was told no bones were found she stated that was impossible. Shortly after, a three story house burned in the area. 7 people burned including a 2 month old baby. All the remains, including the 2 month old baby were found.
A detective stated that maybe the children slipped out of the house to meet someone who had promised them a party and presents.
:twocents: This is not a part of the detective magazine:
Here are my thoughts about that: During that time a man was hired every year around Christmas time to greet the children of Fayetteville during Christmas. Although he was a local citizen, he would fly into Fayetteville. The children loved it. Let me clarify that I do not think this man had anything to do with the missing Sodder children. I will not name him for that reason. However he was sponsored by local merchants to do this each Christmas. My point being, that a Santa Claus suit was very available if anyone wanted to get the children out of the house by playing Santa. What if Santa came to visit that night, the children saw him and scurried out of the house without closing the door. It would be a good way to get the kids out of the house, since all the windows shades were open and you could see outside. That leaves Maurice and Martha who would not have been fooled by Santa but perhaps they got caught up in the moment. What a perfect time on Christmas eve to see Santa coming!

George, Jr. called to Maurice and thought he heard him grunt. However, he could not confirm this because of everything going on.
:twocents: I keep wondering what happened to Maurice and (please Sodders forgive me) but I sometimes wonder after reading the detective magazine that perhaps he may have been in the fire. The lady in Charleston said the older boy was not present when the people stayed in the motel. Maybe that would account for the bones even through the man in Washington stated that he did not believe they had been exposed to fire. Just a thought...

Someone in a earlier post ask where Joe was: Here is the answer. He was still in North Carolina awaiting his discharge and could not come home because of that. John had been home around a week.
From the Unsolved Mysteries book: Mr. Sodder stated several people stopped by. He thought one guy was a soldier. Could this man, whoever he was, have been the one who helped with the grenade? Again just a thought.

shadowangel
01-28-2006, 10:40 PM
Meduza-

The "napalm grenade" mentioned in the second link was the product of John Steinbeck's imagination. The author goes on to say he consulted someone with knowledge of weapons and was told Steinbeck's science was "way off". No such device was ever used by the military. The incendiary grenade used by the military was a cylindrical metal container.

The device Sylvia discovered may have been the work of someone local with a knowledge of explosives, a diminutive version of a "Molotov cocktail".

fox1950
01-28-2006, 11:15 PM
Well, my grandmother always said if you are going to lie tell a good one. I tend to believe the woman from Charleston did believe she saw the children. If she were lying, why didn't she include Maurice and say she saw him, too? I think she remembered them because of their odd behavior. Wonder what she had to gain by telling this story. She couldn't prove it. The reports, if I am remembering correctly, said she was not a credible witness....she had nothing to gain because with no proof she couldn't collect the reward money.
If I am remembering the article correctly, she was pretty adament about these being the children. I do believe she saw someone whom she did think were the Sodder children.

I've always said someone came to the door the children knew and trusted-who better than Santa Claus.

Maurice has alway been my biggest confusion on the subject.

shadowangel
01-28-2006, 11:27 PM
Is it possible that Maurice was too difficult to control? That has always been my thought, as sad as it is....

Meduza
01-29-2006, 12:01 AM
I am also curious about the floor plan of the home. It has been stated that there were 2 bedrooms in the attic or on the second story. The girls room was at the front and opened directly to the stairway and had no door. The boys room was to the back and there was a door so one would assume a wall between the rooms. There was a cellar or basement. Was it a full or partial? I would have to assume that it was a full basement based upon the statement that "All that remained of the home was a basement full of ashes". What was the basement constructed of? Mud floor with bricks, blocks, wood, or mud for walls? What was the actual home constructed of? We know that the roof was tar paper and wood, what about the rest of the structure? What were the walls made of? They didn't have drywall in those days and based upon most the homes in my area it was made of a mixture of cement, limestone, and horse hair. West Virginia is obviously different and why I asked. When it came to plastering in those days, most folks used what was handy. Maybe all the walls were made of wood and that would make sense too on why the house went up so fast. Hang on please, I do have somewhere that I am going with all this, I would just like some more details.

Another tidbit mentioned that mom would put chicken and pork bones into her "wood" stove to see what they would look like, since no remains of her children were found. That basically brings me to another question. What were the primary heat source/s for this home back then? Did they soley rely upon wood to heat this home or did they use coal as the primary heat source and wood was used for cooking? Heat rises just like smoke, but I am curious because either/or source/s had to be stored somewhere. I would think that coal is far to hot to cook on and the wood stove was mentioned when mom was trying to destroy animal bones. In either case, that fuel had to be stored somewhere. The coal being in the basement and the wood stacked near the home for easy access.

The home is on fire and smoke does what? It rises. So the girls room should be filled with smoke by the time mom awakes to the smoke. Mom is awakened by the smell of smoke and when she opens her bedroom door, the adjoining room was filled with flames. That is a lot of smoke and the smoke had where to go, but upstairs into the girls open bedroom.

Now, does anyone know exactly how many beds were in each room? We know that baby Sylvia was still in a crib in mom and dad's room downstairs. What were the sleeping assignments for the others? Most of the kids were older and in our era, would be sleeping in their own beds, but in that time, were they still sharing beds? No Christmas tree was put up because Joe didn't make it home, so did the kids still believe in Santa, at their ages, in that era? They were staying up to hear about Santa's travels on the radio and playing with the toys Marian gave them. Marian fell asleep on the couch and that would free up a bed, if she had her own. That would give Maurice and Louis a place to sleep. Let's say that these 5 kids go upstairs and all go to sleep in the girls room. This is a happy family and they are all excited over Christmas and the gifts they will get in the morning. Who cares who sleeps with who. Now, they are all settled in for the night and are eventually overcame with the smoke from the fire in their sleep. Not uncommon from several internet searches. The majority of fire related deaths are due to the smoke and not the fire. As much as I hate to say it, we have 5 kids that may very well already be dead from the fumes and smoke, before the fire has even reached the room. The good part of that being, it happened while they were asleep and none the wiser of the horror yet to come. The smoke wakes up mom and when mom opens the door, the next room is filled with flames and being a great mom, she is screaming, no doubt to try and wake her kids up. Her screams finally awaken George Jr. and John and they had to open the door between their room and the girls room to gain access to the stairs to get outside. I am by no means an expert on firefighting, but lets try this scene. The boys open the door creating a flash fire. The house is on fire and once they open that door, the fire rushes for the fresh air to feed it. George Jr. and John barely escape with their lives.

Now once the family is safe outside, they are all trying to save the remaining kids. The water is frozen solid, the vehicles won't start, and the ladder is no where to be found. There are no screams and in the back of my mind that would be because of death due to smoke inhalation. They didn't smell flesh burning. That thought I really don't care to think about, but if I had to, how much more would it really differ to any animal? I'm sorry, I don't mean to be disrespectful saying that. I just have so many thoughts running through my head right now and just trying to keep each thread together with my thoughts. I was born in 1965 and things at that time compared to when my folks were born, had changed an awful alot and even more so by the time I had my daughter in 1984.

Was there any foul play noticed on the vehicles that wouldn't start that night? I am not familiar with the temps or living in the mountains where they lived, during this time frame. In my area in Ohio it's pretty flat and can get down right cold, so more details would be nice for that area.

Just a few more ideas for those still thinking

mysteriew
01-29-2006, 12:41 AM
Something that has not been mentioned: A taxi brought several folks to the fire from a local tavern. No one could ever found the taxi driver or what company it came from. [/b]This was probably where the rumor came about that the children watched the fire from a taxi.


The fire dept. couldn't come until 7am the next morning, yet the customers from the local tavern made it out there?????
Both of the women who claimed to have seen the children....I wonder if they are still living, or in their absence, I wonder if their children are still living? The reason I ask, is that a mystery of this magnitude would be passed around in family lore. There was no TV, very few sources of entertainment. Family stories tended to be told over and over, as well as stories from the neighborhood. I have relatives from Kentucky, and have noticed those relatives can give our whole family history from memory. As well as little tidbits from the family/neighborhood history. Her kids would have heard the story told countless times to neigbors, relatives. They also might remember if anyone put pressure on their mother to stifle the story. Also, I would wonder if the motel records were destroyed. Even if they were, there is a possibility that she might have saved that particular record, because of the associated mystery.
I know their stories have supposedly been discredited, but the fire dept. was supposedly unable to come to the fire. Kinda makes me question official creditability.

drema
01-29-2006, 01:23 AM
I can see your point.

Here is the answers to some of your questions:
The Sodder home was a frame dwelling. The inside partions were constructed partly of fireproof sheetrock. One half of the roof was composed of galvanized tin and the other of standard roofing paper.

Your thoughts could be exactly right but how did John and George, Jr. excape without really knowing what was going on thru a smoke engulfed room? However, on the other side of the spectrum their eyebrows were singed when they hurried down the stairs.

Mrs. Sodder stood at the bottom steps and yelled to the children. She never mentioned smoke flowing down the steps which would have been the case if the upstairs room was smoke filled.

Another tidbid that caused the Sodders to be suspicious: A man said he saw something flying toward the house which looked like fireballs at 1:00 that morning. Seems strange he would tell a story like that. He was passing the house right about the time the house may have started burning

However, your theory may be correct: when Mrs. Sodder went to the next room to investigate a sheet of flames were descenting from the corner of the ceiling.

Mrs. Sodder had a electric stove, that is why there was two fuse boxes. However, she did have a wood stove also. Ice hung from the house. Perhaps the fuse boxes were located outside but like a car door, were frozen shut-thus the phone lines being cut by mistake.

I do not know what the basement consisted of and have often wondered if Mr. Sodder kept gasoline in the basement. Also, both trucks would not start that night which was unusual. They always started according to Mr. Sodder.
I will say that everything you have said has merit and could be exactly what happened. But on the other hand, where were the bones. While reading these posts I looked up an interview with a serial killer. He stated you had to stay with a body a long, long time to completely burn it up. And the smell, he said was sickening. I have always heard if you smelled a body burning you would never forget it because it was so horrible. However, the fire marshall stated that because of the high winds no one smelled flesh burning. Possible, but according to records their was a bunch of people there that night. No one smelled anything.

Mr. Sodder was not only trying to prove the children were alive but he also was open to any evidence that the children did in fact die that night. The Sodders doubts grew from: the threat made previously, the man in the car who seems to be watching the house, the stranger who checked the fuse boxes, the strange behavior of the fire chief, no bones being found, the guests they had after the fire to check on the babies, the noise on the roof,
the phone call, the trucks not starting, the ladder being moved, the telephone wires cut, officials saying it was an electrical fire when the lights were still burning in the house which made it impossible to be an electrical fire, the officials stating the next morning there was no evidence of arson, the fire chief saying the weather was too bad to come in the official report while people drove by the house, people stopped, and a crowd gathered. The fire department arrived at 9 a.m., the officials having an inquest there on the spot while others were digging through the ashes looking for bones, the fact that they were told right off with no bones as evidence, they died in the fire and more or less go on with your life. Another question you ask - about heating and cooking. I would assume the house was heated with stoves since when the phone ring Mrs. Sodder stated she checked the stoves. I lived in a home with a wood cooking stove, we also had an electric stove. Both wood and coal was used to cook with on the cooking stove.

I move back and forth, too. I think that is why a dig of the land should be done. They say teeth of the last to go after a long period of time. Mr. and Mrs. Sodder stated on numerous occasions that they only wanted proof one way on the other and were open to evidence that the children did die in the fire.

I hope this answers some of your questions and everybodies ideas of worth listening to. Your post was great!

drema
01-29-2006, 02:05 PM
[QUOTE=mysteriew]
Both of the women who claimed to have seen the children....I wonder if they are still living, or in their absence, I wonder if their children are still living? The reason I ask, is that a mystery of this magnitude would be passed around in family lore. There was no TV, very few sources of entertainment. Family stories tended to be told over and over, as well as stories from the neighborhood. I have relatives from Kentucky, and have noticed those relatives can give our whole family history from memory. As well as little tidbits from the family/neighborhood history. Her kids would have heard the story told countless times to neigbors, relatives. They also might remember if anyone put pressure on their mother to stifle the story. Also, I would wonder if the motel records were destroyed. Even if they were, there is a possibility that she might have saved that particular record, because of the associated mystery. [QUOTE=mysteriew]

The motel operator's name in Charleston was Ida Crutchfield. She is not on social security death index-However, that doesn't prove anything since she may have gone by a middle name. There are Crutchfield's that still live in Charleston. Could not find anything on the Alderson Motel of Charleston. Probably long gone. It was harder back then to save copies of things since there were no copying machines like we have today. But I agree with you Mysterview, there still should be family or others she talked to if she did think these were the Sodder children even if she may not be alive today. Worth looking into.

As for the trucks not starting and anyone looking into why-The Sodders accepted what was told to them at first, only after Sylvia found the device in the yard and Mrs. Sodder discussed it with Mr. Sodder and him telling her that he found the ladder down an enbankment 75 feet away, they then started discussing if the children did actually die in the fire.

LButler
01-30-2006, 11:49 AM
drema....what great stuff you've posted!! I haven't gotten my mag yet, but it has been shipped - hopefully tomorrow!!

Here are some of my "renewed" thoughts after looking through the new posts. I have always felt in my heart that Maurice was probably killed. I hate to post that, but a 15 year old boy used to farm work and manual labor could really put up a fight. I hope I'm 100% wrong on that one. I don't believe he was in the fire that night because of all the kids, he would have had the largest bones and would have been easier to locate some remains??


Jbandy....I'm in Summersville and have a somewhat open schedule. I would love to help out with some of your research in Fayetteville. If you're interested, PM me and I'll give you my contact info so you can get in touch when you want to.

Shadow205
02-03-2006, 02:47 PM
Drema,

Just wondering if you got your mag yet and if so is there anything in it that we have not heard before?

fox1950
02-03-2006, 07:58 PM
Another reason for the door being left open other than the children leaving quickly would be that fire would spread faster if there was a door or window left open for the wind to fuel the fire.
:waitasec:
The taxi driver sure seemed strange. First, Fayetteville was a small town, so were surrounding areas except Charleston---was it planted there for someone to watch the outcome of the fire? According to the post, the taxi driver nor the taxi company were ever found. Seems it would be a perfect way to watch the fire, and even better when the people from the tavern wanted a ride to the site of the fire. There they could see first hand what was going on.

drema
02-03-2006, 08:32 PM
Drema,

Just wondering if you got your mag yet and if so is there anything in it that we have not heard before?Yes there are several more things.

At daybreak authorities began sifting the ashes. The Justice of the Peace of Oak Hill, served as acting coroner and had six local citizens assisting him. He quickly turn a verdict that the children died in the fire.
The state police arrived and make an inspection of the premises. They pointed to defective wiring as the cause of the fire. :twocents: Here we go again about the wiring.
The procecuting attorney of Fayette County conducted an inquest and found nothing that pointed to arson. :twocents: Does anyone know how long an arson investigation takes?
The fire department arrived at 9 a.m. and cooled the ashes. :twocents: This was after the children were pronounced dead and no signs of arson were found.
The state fire marshall did not make his offical report since the state police arrived ahead of him and conducted a rather complete inquiry. The inquest was going on when he arrived.
Morticians arrived. Mr. Sodder was told that nothing had been found and the simple way to get on with the furnerals would be to pick up a handful of ashes for each of the five children and place the ashes in a box and bury them. Mr. Sodder refused.
Later in the day, a minister called a Fayetteville Mortician and stated that he thought they had found something.He went to the scene, raked the ashes in the basement and found nothing. However he did notice a No. 2 wash tube in the front yard which was filled partially with ashes. On the top of the ashes was an object that was covered with a coating of ash dust. When he touched it it was very soft, he believed it to be a liver, and was sure it had never been exposed to intense head. He left it because he was sure it was not the remains of the children. He raked for an hour and did not find a bone of any kind. Mrs. Sodder later stated there was no liver at the house at the time of the fire.
As for the lady in Charleston being "adament" the children she saw were the Sodders she signed an affadavit that the children were at her hotel two or three days later.

As I read more I will post. I would like to hear some ideas on why the childrens lives were saved if someone did plan to burn the house and kill the Sodders. Seems it would have been easier to have left the children there and
let them all die in the fire than take the chance of keeping the children alive.
This part doesn't make a lot of sense to me.....don't buy into the black market or slavery part. And why doesn't anyone come forward with any real information if this was a crime? Seems like after all these years someone would have let the story slip or would post on this website.

mysteriew
02-04-2006, 04:41 AM
Drema, that all depends on how much power the persons involved had, or in how scary they were. And you also have to think of the time period. This is a very old story, the persons who would have been adults then, aren't likely to be on the internet. LOL, wonder if we could get the kids of the fire chief on here, to tell what they remember? Again, in many cases family lore is all we are going to have to go on. But this is a story that likely would have been told over and over by persons in that neighborhood.
I have thought about why it might have happened. The only motives I can come up with, are to get some type of revenge...... or to get the kids for some unknown purpose.

Granddaughter
02-04-2006, 01:50 PM
This one is my grandfather when he was 70, about 4 years before he died.http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d124/jhenthor/papa.jpg

Granddaughter
02-04-2006, 01:51 PM
The last one is my grandmother at 64.

http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d124/jhenthor/mama.jpg

Granddaughter
02-04-2006, 01:56 PM
My parents have looked through most of my grandparents' things, and have had little luck finding things related to the children. Jonathan, we hope you have better luck with the suitcase.

Granddaughter
02-04-2006, 02:01 PM
Oops - This was supposed to be the first of the three photos of my grandparents, so the other photos are missing the lead-in. This photo is my grandmother in her early 20s with her oldest son, John.

http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d124/jhenthor/mamaJohn.jpg

mysteriew
02-04-2006, 03:34 PM
Your grandparents did not look anything close to their ages! Very young looking!

mysteriew
02-05-2006, 04:07 AM
I don't know if you have considered putting up another billboard, but here is a resource that might be useful. Yes I know that the family had one up for years. But now we are a couple of generations later. Many of the persons who may have been involved are dead. Many are very elderly, probably not considered prosecutable as they may be in nursing homes, etc. A billboard put up years later may prompt a guilty concious, may prompt now grown family members to come forward. Anyway, it is just a thought and I have a possible resource for that.
http://www.unresolvedhomicides.org/about.html

mysteriew
02-07-2006, 08:45 AM
It looks as though our own Stacy Horn made the blogs, and though they didn't talk about the Sodders directly, the blog did link to her NPR piece:
http://laurajames.typepad.com/clews/

fox1950
02-07-2006, 08:27 PM
Jennie, Thanks for the pictures. They were great pictures.

fox1950
02-18-2006, 08:51 AM
Has anyone read the book Last Mountain Dancer by Chuck Kinder? Has something in it about the Sodder family. Haven't got to read it yet but thinking about buying it.

mfmangel1
02-22-2006, 05:17 PM
Hello Everyone!

I was registered here before, but haven't been here in quite a while and I had to register again.

I have been reading this fascinating and terribly sad case. I see that some posters do not consider abduction a la Georgia Tann a possibility.
I know that searching orphanage records is a huge, if not impossible, undertaking, but I think abduction for adoption is a very real possibility.

I know it's a longshot, but it just keeps coming to my mind when I think of this particular case.:waitasec:

mysteriew
02-23-2006, 03:14 AM
Different family, different state, different years but I was struck by the similiarities in these two cases.
http://fromwhisperstoroars.blogspot.com/

fox1950
02-23-2006, 08:49 PM
Different family, different state, different years but I was struck by the similiarities in these two cases.
http://fromwhisperstoroars.blogspot.com/Very interesting post, Mysterview. I have read about her before-but not such a detailed report. Thanks.

drema
02-25-2006, 11:53 AM
To answer the questions poised on the first websleuths board, the children's pictures were in the detective magazine. Each individual picture was in the magazine along with a picture of the board. Wonder if anyone has anything new to say--Hope the thread doesn't die. :)

Shadow205
02-25-2006, 03:09 PM
I hope that the thread doesn't die too. I am anxiously waiting to hear from Grand-daughter on the progress of the website.

T'sNana
03-17-2006, 09:48 PM
*BUMP* Any news? I've been thinking a lot about this case.

TeeGeeWiz
03-17-2006, 11:54 PM
I have been interested in this case since I was a little girl. I live right outside of Summersville in Mount Nebo. This is just a bit north of Fayetteville. For years we lived in Wyoming County and would pass the billboard each weekend as we came home to Nicholas County to visit. Seldom did we pass by that I didn't insist mom stop to let me read and look at the pictures. In 1977 we moved back here for good and didn't have occasion to pass by anymore. I never forgot the billboard but I did forget the name. I have asked friends and family and no one could remember the family name. Recently I was reading on a message board at the Raleigh newspaper and saw a thread about this case which eventually led me here!!!!!!!! :D I was so excited to see this thread and to realize it was current and active. I am trying to read all I can to get caught up and to remind myself of the facts I'd forgotten. I did notice on here that a granddaughter of the Sodder family was supposed to start a web site and wondered if there were any new info on this? Sure am glad to be among others interested in the same thing!

Shadow205
03-18-2006, 09:43 AM
drema....what great stuff you've posted!! I haven't gotten my mag yet, but it has been shipped - hopefully tomorrow!!

Here are some of my "renewed" thoughts after looking through the new posts. I have always felt in my heart that Maurice was probably killed. I hate to post that, but a 15 year old boy used to farm work and manual labor could really put up a fight. I hope I'm 100% wrong on that one. I don't believe he was in the fire that night because of all the kids, he would have had the largest bones and would have been easier to locate some remains??


Jbandy....I'm in Summersville and have a somewhat open schedule. I would love to help out with some of your research in Fayetteville. If you're interested, PM me and I'll give you my contact info so you can get in touch when you want to.


Lbutler,
I was just wondering if you and Jbandy were able to connect. Any updates? Do you know if he is still in Fayetteville?

fox1950
03-18-2006, 02:28 PM
I bought the book "Last Mountain Dancer" by Chuck Kinder. The chapter on the Sodder children is "Missing Angels". There is just one thing that I found new and interesting in the book. It talks of Mr. Sodder's heated arguments with the Italy community of the area and speaks of him once receiving a paper with a black hand drawn on it. It does not say how he received this peice of paper, through the mail, given to him, etc. Has anyone heard that before? Also it tells of how his wife was so saddened about the story and Mrs. Sodder once saying that if her children were dead she would know it. She would be able to feel it. His wife agreed with what Mrs. Sodder had said over the years.

Shadow205
03-18-2006, 03:01 PM
I got an email this morning from Jennie(Grand-daughter). Her and her brother are still working on the website and have come up with some new things to post. She said that it is some stuff that they found at her Aunts house. They have been very busy with work and have not been able to get the information scanned and ready to go up yet but are working on it. So for now, everyone who has an interest in the Sodder Family mystery, just sit tight.

Shadow205
03-18-2006, 03:29 PM
I bought the book "Last Mountain Dancer" by Chuck Kinder. The chapter on the Sodder children is "Missing Angels". There is just one thing that I found new and interesting in the book. It talks of Mr. Sodder's heated arguments with the Italy community of the area and speaks of him once receiving a paper with a black hand drawn on it. It does not say how he received this peice of paper, through the mail, given to him, etc. Has anyone heard that before? Also it tells of how his wife was so saddened about the story and Mrs. Sodder once saying that if her children were dead she would know it. She would be able to feel it. His wife agreed with what Mrs. Sodder had said over the years.
Black Hand symbol and name for a criminal and terroristic secret society, and especially associated with the Mafia (http://www.bartleby.com/65/ma/Mafia.html) and the Camorra (http://www.bartleby.com/65/ca/Camorra.html). The Black Hand flourished in Sicily in the late 19th cent., and in the United States it was especially active in New York City at the beginning of the 20th cent. It is estimated that at one time 90% of New York City’s Italian population was blackmailed by letters threatening death and marked with a black hand. Famous incidents associated with the Black Hand include the murder (1890) in New Orleans of chief of police Daniel Hennessy and the shooting (1909), in Palermo, Italy, of Lt. Joseph Petrosino of the New York City police.

MagicRose99
03-18-2006, 11:49 PM
I just have to comment here... the Italian mafia WAS a big deal back then... As a young man, my grandfather came over from Italy via the Italian Navy and jumped ship when it came into NY port... Later years, he ran an auto body shop in Jersey and had to pay / play with the mafia and their rules. When my Mom married Pop they even had the mafia at their wedding!

To the Italian immigrants the Mafia played a big part of their lives back then...



Black Hand symbol and name for a criminal and terroristic secret society, and especially associated with the Mafia (http://www.bartleby.com/65/ma/Mafia.html) and the Camorra (http://www.bartleby.com/65/ca/Camorra.html). The Black Hand flourished in Sicily in the late 19th cent., and in the United States it was especially active in New York City at the beginning of the 20th cent. It is estimated that at one time 90% of New York City’s Italian population was blackmailed by letters threatening death and marked with a black hand. Famous incidents associated with the Black Hand include the murder (1890) in New Orleans of chief of police Daniel Hennessy and the shooting (1909), in Palermo, Italy, of Lt. Joseph Petrosino of the New York City police.

Shadow205
03-19-2006, 09:17 AM
Magicrose99,

I know that the Mafia was a big deal back in that time. It also had a strong hold in WV as we dicussed in great depth earlier in this thread. There had been mention of a man who was upset with George over him speaking out against Mussolini but this is the first that I heard of George actually receiving the black hand. Very interesting Fox.

T'sNana
03-20-2006, 07:23 PM
Welcome to WS!
I have been interested in this case since I was a little girl. I live right outside of Summersville in Mount Nebo. This is just a bit north of Fayetteville. For years we lived in Wyoming County and would pass the billboard each weekend as we came home to Nicholas County to visit. Seldom did we pass by that I didn't insist mom stop to let me read and look at the pictures. In 1977 we moved back here for good and didn't have occasion to pass by anymore. I never forgot the billboard but I did forget the name. I have asked friends and family and no one could remember the family name. Recently I was reading on a message board at the Raleigh newspaper and saw a thread about this case which eventually led me here!!!!!!!! :D I was so excited to see this thread and to realize it was current and active. I am trying to read all I can to get caught up and to remind myself of the facts I'd forgotten. I did notice on here that a granddaughter of the Sodder family was supposed to start a web site and wondered if there were any new info on this? Sure am glad to be among others interested in the same thing!

JBandy
04-07-2006, 08:20 AM
Hello all. I am starting to really dive into the material that I have. My goal this month is to list and sort out the players in the story and try to talk to the relatives of the players.

Jennie....I found the suitcase...all it had in it were really old newspaper clippings (I will copy and sent to Aunt Sylvia) I am trying to find copies of the originals...but the dates on most were not on them....and I also found some distorted photos....I am trying to see if I can get them refurbished.

Shadow...I PM'ed you....let me know if you are still interested in helping.

The one thing that I cannot place my finger on is the Dectective Magazine...can someone please copy the article and mail/e-mail it to me? I would really appreciate it.

I am going to be talking with my other family members about the story too...there are a lot of other great-grandchildren other the myself and Jennie. I thought this would allow for something that we are all missing to come out.

Stacy...Is there a time that we could have a phone conference?

I have also mailed a letter to the possible family member in Italy... A friend translated it for me....I asked for the family photo that she said she had....so if anything turns up there....it may help...

Thank you all for continued interest in this story....I really really appreciate it.

Jonathan

welder 79
04-09-2006, 02:04 PM
hey; Jonathan its nice to hear from yourall again, sound's like yourall getting a lot done. that's very good news..I would say we on this site will help yourall anyway they can..yes yourall very busy how do they say that in West Virgina??? more busy than a one legged man in a ass kicking contest..i hope that a little humor will brite-up yourall's day..

blueclouds
04-09-2006, 07:10 PM
Just got into this story. Very confusing to say the least. Curious as to why "Granddaughter" hasn't posted in quite sometime, anyone know?

thanks

Shadow205
04-09-2006, 07:28 PM
I have been in contact with Granddaughter via email. She has been very busy with work and has not had much time to post. She has still been busy getting some things together though and her brother is still working on a website for the Sodder children.


Just got into this story. Very confusing to say the least. Curious as to why "Granddaughter" hasn't posted in quite sometime, anyone know?

thanks

gardenmom
04-09-2006, 07:33 PM
I just wanted to let the Sodders know that I am still with them, and wish them luck.

blueclouds
04-09-2006, 09:30 PM
Now that I'm caught up to speed reading all this info for the past several hours, I just wanted to let you all know that I have put in a request to a contact of mine. He is an expert on fire investigations and has come across things like this. I have asked him all the basics of fire, heat, intensity and what could truly be found after a fire like this one. I have asked him to provide a variety of info and documentation that will back up info that he sends.

Apparently, regarding the cremation of people.... the OLDER the person, the LARGER the bone fragments in the cremation process. In younger people (as in my mother who died at 48 yrs old) there is a minimal amount of bone fragment and a great deal of smaller pieces.

When I compared my husbands dad's bones who was 79 to my mothers who was 48, there is a clear substantial difference in texture, size of bones and even color. While this sounds morbid to some, it interests me greatly.

WHY didn't children scream? They were overcome by smoke and most likely died prior to any flames reaching them.

WHY were there no bodies found? It is very possible that because of the intensity of the fire (house burning right down to the basement), the length of the fire, there truly was very minimal bones remaining that could eventually be seen by the naked eye.

Should there be an excavation of this site? If there are University students so willing to take this on AND the current property owners we hope would comply.... then absolutely.

Having stated all of this, I await my fire investigators response to all I forwarded him. When I get a reply, I will let you all know.

Truthfully, although we all wish they could be alive.... I for one believe that they did perish in the fire.

MANY of the "questions" and strange circumstances following up to the fire have been resolved. IE: late night phone calll and such.

And parents will grasp onto any unusual thing... anything slightest out of the way to comfort their grief. One of the ways is to come to believe your child is still alive and there has to be some mistake..... I've worked with many families of missing and murdered children and if there was ever an opportunity of their child being alive... or misidentified.... they grasp onto it.

I believe fully that the Sodder family was in such state of grief and with dad covering up the scene so quickly, that the answers were forever buried. For the older children never to have reached out and made an effort to call or anything..... leads me to suspect that this poor family found the only way they could to survive.... is to keep their hope alive.

mysteriew
04-09-2006, 11:57 PM
From everything we have gotten so far, one thing that doesn't burn are teeth. And with 5 kids being there, that would have been quite a few teeth. Yet despite the ashes being searched, they didn't find anything.

welder 79
04-10-2006, 12:43 AM
gasoline has a very low flash point that's is why its so dangerous -40 degrees and burn's only close to 850 degrees, natural gas will burn close to 1000 degree's, to get the heat range to completely start the cremation process you got to have atleast 1400 degrees nothing lower will do it..you need anywhere from above 1400 degress up to 1800 degress i say about 1600 degress be about the temp. you would try to stay at..and even at that temp. you talking about a 21/2 to 3 hour's burn time...to get this high temp and burn time you got to have a very controled environment with 2 or more compressed controled gasses working together to get the heat, time, and area to burn, to cremation of a human body. finding all these element's together inside a home is a very long shot...and for more than 1 person cremated that's close to impossible.. in all my year's as a vol. fire fighter i never seen a home fire where you can't find a part's of a body for each person missing in that house hold. My training yes i think i could do it but not with 1940's technology. it would be today's technology and i sure wouldn't put how i do it on internet or tell anybody unless they are a fire marshall or a arson detective and i still don't think i could get rid of all them kid's in the time frame without getting cought red handed .. you more than welcome to try your theory's but i can't see how it's possible not with the heat source, wide coverage area myself i don't think you can get even close to the heat needed to do the job.

blueclouds
04-10-2006, 12:51 AM
From everything we have gotten so far, one thing that doesn't burn are teeth. And with 5 kids being there, that would have been quite a few teeth. Yet despite the ashes being searched, they didn't find anything.

Going through every article I could find, there was never an indepth search of ashes. If the teeth were covered with black soot or whatever, it would take days to find them.

From all of this, the basic quick search was done and left for another day.... and before they could return, the father filled the entire area.

So, I agree, teeth would be located. absolutely which is why I agree there should be a dig of some sort.

blueclouds
04-10-2006, 12:55 AM
gasoline has a very low flash point that's is why its so dangerous -40 degrees and burn's only close to 850 degrees, natural gas will burn close to 1000 degree's, to get the heat range to completely start the cremation process you got to have atleast 1400 degrees nothing lower will do it..you need anywhere from above 1400 degress up to 1800 degress i say about 1600 degress be about the temp. you would try to stay at..and even at that temp. you talking about a 21/2 to 3 hour's burn time...to get this high temp and burn time you got to have a very controled environment with 2 or more compressed controled gasses working together to get the heat, time, and area to burn, to cremation of a human body. finding all these element's together inside a home is a very long shot...and for more than 1 person cremated that's close to impossible.. in all my year's as a vol. fire fighter i never seen a home fire where you can't find a part's of a body for each person missing in that house hold. My training yes i think i could do it but not with 1940's technology. it would be today's technology and i sure wouldn't put how i do it on internet or tell anybody unless they are a fire marshall or a arson detective and i still don't think i could get rid of all them kid's in the time frame without getting cought red handed .. you more than welcome to try your theory's but i can't see how it's possible not with the heat source, wide coverage area myself i don't think you can get even close to the heat needed to do the job.



That's what is known by many yes, regarding cremation.... I'm going to throw in the proverbial "spontaneous human combustion" which used to ask the very same questions and offer up that it was impossible for a body to burn at that high heat as stated above.

In reading further studies about S.HUMAN.COM. there is actually no mystery at all. You can read up on that in depth if you choose. And those bodies DID generate heat enough to turn bone to ash and yet preserve much of the property surrounding it.

Again, I await a responses from my contact. It will be very interesting to hear further fires in homes and what condition bodies were in.

welder 79
04-10-2006, 02:16 AM
That's what is known by many yes, regarding cremation.... I'm going to throw in the proverbial "spontaneous human combustion" which used to ask the very same questions and offer up that it was impossible for a body to burn at that high heat as stated above.

In reading further studies about S.HUMAN.COM. there is actually no mystery at all. You can read up on that in depth if you choose. And those bodies DID generate heat enough to turn bone to ash and yet preserve much of the property surrounding it.

Again, I await a responses from my contact. It will be very interesting to hear further fires in homes and what condition bodies were in. i seen training film's showed real case's with real dead people and i know all about "SHC" ( 95% of them are smoker's or was ex-smokers that still smoked every once in a while FACT!!!)even them people leave body part's mostly leg's, shoe's, arm's cothing yes cothing!!!!still on the body..... Anyway you look at the case you got to prove THE Fact's HEAT--degree's/ TIME--- how long can you keep heat at a high temp.(est.1600 degress)/ AREA---you got to have the heat-temp(est.1600 degress) in a area all the kid's are in for the time peroid of 21/2 to 3 hours/... If you can't match each and every speciifications you will find pretty good sized body part's......I been to 50 or more home fire's where the home's are built in the 1940's or before..that was before flame retardant building material's they are lucky to burn more than 20 to 25 min's until all you got is ashes and the temp. don't come even near 650 degress because i checked it myself with a infered temp. gauge anyway you look at it. if they was human's killed in that fire you will find part's of them at the burn site...and it should been very easy to spot them!!!!I sure hope your mystery "contact" is not some jr firefighter?? IF so please don't waste my time iam a capt. with 1 wall full of Diploma's and starting on the next wall...if a body is so easy to burn to ashes no body be in jail everybody would shoot someone and light a match to the dead person and POOF no body....

welder 79
04-10-2006, 04:57 AM
oh ok we was talking about home fire's.. this could be something to keep in our mind's when looking into this and if anybody remember's the design of the home , i know in that area a lot of people heated and cooked with coal and sometime's they would put coal down a chute into the basement,, coal will burn at around 1450 degrees and that pretty hot.. now that sure could cause why some body's was never found . its was just a idea iam not sure if they even used coal or nothing about the design of the home.iam just trying to look at why no body's was found..

mysteriew
04-10-2006, 11:54 AM
oh ok we was talking about home fire's.. this could be something to keep in our mind's when looking into this and if anybody remember's the design of the home , i know in that area a lot of people heated and cooked with coal and sometime's they would put coal down a chute into the basement,, coal will burn at around 1450 degrees and that pretty hot.. now that sure could cause why some body's was never found . its was just a idea iam not sure if they even used coal or nothing about the design of the home.iam just trying to look at why no body's was found..

Likely the home was heated with coal, but that is something maybe the grankids can tell us. Also, maybe they can tell us where the coal was stored.

welder 79
04-10-2006, 02:05 PM
Likely the home was heated with coal, but that is something maybe the grankids can tell us. Also, maybe they can tell us where the coal was stored............................................ .i sure do thank you, the above post's i keep trying to figure out how could so many people just dissapear without a trace due to a home fire?? but i keep getting distracted by a other post's . i got a chance away from computer and i thought COAL!!! it will produce the heat, the time, and the area to really do the job if everything (as sad as it is and no dissrespect to the family or anybody) but "if " everything just happened to be in the right spot at the right time it would produce one very big and hot fire, i heard somewhere that night there was high wind's that's would make the fire even hotter...but this is just a idea to keep in the back of our mind's we don't want to go down a road before its time.....iam going reread that book on combustible property's of coal, different grade's,btu's, ect. that's very interesting book..

mysteriew
04-10-2006, 02:12 PM
Mr. Sodder owned a trucking company and that is coal country which leads me to believe they probably heated with coal. But that is something the family will have to confirm. Also, different families would keep their coal in diffent places, so that will also be something they will need to tell us.

Elicere
04-10-2006, 04:02 PM
Is there a scan of the back of the photo of the possible Louis?

Something that struck me was the possiblity that maybe what is being read as 'love' is actually the word 'have'. I know that in my own handwriting - and especially when I am writing quickly - lowercase h's can look a lot like capital L's.

Just a thought.

welder 79
04-10-2006, 09:41 PM
Is there a scan of the back of the photo of the possible Louis?

Something that struck me was the possiblity that maybe what is being read as 'love' is actually the word 'have'. I know that in my own handwriting - and especially when I am writing quickly - lowercase h's can look a lot like capital L's.

Just a thought.hi;; you must be new welcome hope you enjoy the site,, you could have something there..if iam not mistaken that photo is posted somewhere on this thread but where???? i would have to search and that will take some time..there is 2 thread's about the sodder family mystery on this site one just got so big we had to start a other one but its got some very good reading in both of the thread's. thank's and i hope you enjoy all the thread's..

JBandy
04-12-2006, 11:10 AM
I am very good friends with the current owners. I have spoken with them and they have granted me permission to excavate the land where the house sat and I am currently working on a grant to fund this dig. If anyone has grant experience...I would love the help.

gardenmom
04-12-2006, 11:30 AM
I am very good friends with the current owners. I have spoken with them and they have granted me permission to excavate the land where the house sat and I am currently working on a grant to fund this dig. If anyone has grant experience...I would love the help.
That is the best news I have heard in a very long time. I am sooooo happy for you. Maybe this will give you the answers you finally need. As for the grant writing, maybe post for help in the Jury Room in this site. Go to the main index and you will find it. :blowkiss:

Shadow205
04-12-2006, 12:21 PM
I am very good friends with the current owners. I have spoken with them and they have granted me permission to excavate the land where the house sat and I am currently working on a grant to fund this dig. If anyone has grant experience...I would love the help.
Jonathan, that is great news. Shadowangel and I had explored the possibility of having an archeology class from WVU or Marshall University do it as a class project(for free). What do you think of that idea?

JBandy
04-12-2006, 12:46 PM
That is a wonderful idea...do you know any contact information for the department chairs at these schools? I will contact them.



Jonathan, that is great news. Shadowangel and I had explored the possibility of having an archeology class from WVU or Marshall University do it as a class project(for free). What do you think of that idea?

welder 79
04-12-2006, 11:23 PM
god this is wonderfull news.... i can try to look natural we want the very best we can get.. if iam not misstaken jonathan they got a class that will do that from mountain state u from beckley, west virginia but i dont know how good they are...iam no family member or am i trying to tell you or family what to do. but i feel this is a once in a life time chance!!! please try to get the very best highly recommend group we can get to do this.....we want only the very best for our good friend's such as you...maybe a idea how about contacting the West Virginia State Police they i would think know the best place to go because they would use that type of service more than anybody else in the state and i would think the be more than glad to help you out???? and you got virginia tech. in blackburg va. that's not to far away.

Shadow205
04-13-2006, 07:55 AM
That is a wonderful idea...do you know any contact information for the department chairs at these schools? I will contact them.
http://www.wvu.edu/~forensic/

http://www.marshall.edu/sociology/FIELDSC.HTML

You'll find some phone numbers at the links

WVU has a new Forensic Science Program that might offer some help too.

mysteriew
04-13-2006, 08:39 AM
WVU sounds like the place to start. You could send both the archaelogy dept and the forensics dept. a letter outlining the story, then tell them the current property owner has given permission for an excavation and offer the forensics dept access to all the info the family has. Because they are the same school, it should help ease scheduling and coordination problems.

Though if Marshall offers the same type of programs you could contact both depts. there also and see if they are interested, and then take the best offer.

shadowangel
04-13-2006, 09:39 AM
This school advertises a BS degree in Forensics, specializing in fire and arson investigation:
Mountain State University

PO Box 9003
Beckley, WV 25802

http://forensics.mountainstate.edu (http://forensics.mountainstate.edu/)
(866) FOR-MSUI or (866) 367-6781
Office of Enrollment Management
School of Arts and Sciences
gomsu@mountainstate.edu (%0d%0agomsu@mountainstate.edu)

WVU's Forensics Dep't:

(304) 293-2453, ext. 2
Fax: (304) 293-2663
Dr. Clifton Bishop
clifton.bishop@mail.wvu.edu (%0d%0aclifton.bishop@mail.wvu.edu)

Another address for MSU in Beckley (Forensics Dep't):
http://forensics.mountainstate.edu (http://forensics.mountainstate.edu/)
(800) 766-6067, ext 1311
Jennifer McMillion
Administrative Secretary, School of Arts and Sciences
jmcmillion@mountainstate.edu (jmcmillion@mountainstate.edu)

Marshall University's Forensics Dep't:
http://forensics.marshall.edu/MUFSC_Homepage.htm (http://forensics.marshall.edu/MUFSC_Homepage.htm)
(304) 690-GENE (4363)
Dr. Terry Fenger
fenger@marshall.edu (fenger@marshall.edu)

shadowangel
04-13-2006, 09:53 AM
FYI, here is a link to accredited forensics programs in schools throughout the US:

http://www.aafs.org/?section_id=resources&page_id=colleges_and_universities


Also---The director of training for the WV State Police Academy

Director of Training
Captain Jess W. Gundy

jgundy@wvsp.state.wv.us

JBandy
04-13-2006, 01:00 PM
WOW! Thanks a lot for finding all of these different groups to contact. I am going to get together a letter this weekend to write to these individuals. I will plan to mail it out next week. I will keep everyone updated.

shadowangel
04-13-2006, 01:09 PM
Council for WV Archaeology

http://cwva.org/

shadowangel
04-13-2006, 01:17 PM
This guy, based in Morgantown, has an extensive archaeological resume---

http://www.prehistoricplanet.com/wv/features/petroglyphs/pyle.htm

This page contains links to WV archaeological resources...

http://archaeology.about.com/library/atlas/bluswv.htm

mfmangel1
04-13-2006, 03:38 PM
I am very good friends with the current owners. I have spoken with them and they have granted me permission to excavate the land where the house sat and I am currently working on a grant to fund this dig. If anyone has grant experience...I would love the help.

Marshall University also offers support for research assisting faculty in pursuit of external funding and providing administrative services to deal with grants.
If you can get the faculty interested in the dig, they may provide the funding.

http://www.marshall.edu/www/research.asp

I live within a few miles of Marshall and some relatives are alumnis.

Stacy Horn
04-16-2006, 10:34 AM
Jonathan, I work out of my home and I'm back in New York, so I'm pretty much available a lot. That is such great news about getting permission for the dig.

welder 79
04-16-2006, 06:27 PM
[QUOTE=shadowangel]This guy, based in Morgantown, has an extensive archaeological resume---

http://www.prehistoricplanet.com/wv/features/petroglyphs/pyle.htm I worked with and meet Dr.Pyle from WVU on a other case a very nice man and his crew was very nice and respectfull too. To me he did a very fine job on that case a little slow but very good. I think its better beening slow and correct than fast and a big mess on a case like this myself...Iam not sure what he like's to specialist in real old like thousand +, or last hundred year's old case's??? This might be a good question to ask him if you deside to go with a WVU team??? I honsetly forgot all about him until "shadowangel" posted this!! thank you shadowangel!!!!!..... Myself I very highly recommend him he surprized me with his knowledge and down to earth way of explain question's i had about that other case...

This page contains links to WV archaeological resources...

http://archaeology.about.com/library/atlas/bluswv.htm[/QU

Shadow205
04-25-2006, 12:28 AM
Jonathan,


Any progress on the excavation?

LButler
05-03-2006, 11:59 AM
Hi guys and gals. Stopped in yesterday to catch up on things and the news of the excavation of the site is great!!

With thoughts of the Sodders fresh in my mind once again, I decided to take a drive by the house site yesterday evening. It had been years since I had travelled in that direction. Even though I am somewhat familiar with the road and the area, I had never driven it with the thoughts of 5 kids possibly being abducted and travelling that route 60 years ago. I was struck by the wildness and the ruggedness of the area and it felt as if centuries of lost souls inhabit the place.

I decided that I would try to locate a topo map of the area for roughly the time period of the fire. I am completely curious to know what houses were there at the time, what roads they used, and so on... I'm not sure how easy that search will be, but I know those maps are out there.

I have a thought on the theory of a coal fire burning extra hot. And, I agree that they will. My only thought is this: Will coal stay hot enough for the time period needed to completely destroy the bones? I know it will if coal is continually fed onto the fire, but no one was feeding this fire. Just a thought. My experience on coal fires is standing in front of my grandma's hearth in the winter until the backs of my legs were burning. So, just like grandma, I'm sure they used coal to heat the house. Her coal pile was outside.


jbandy ... sorry i missed the PM from you moons ago, I simply haven't been on here. Sounds like you're getting a lot done. I think the key to answers is simply forging relationships with folks in the area (like you have done with the current property owners). There were people who knew what happened that night. Those stories have been passed down and I trully believe the answers are closer than we think.

welder 79
05-03-2006, 02:07 PM
I done some refresh studing about the coal fire theory from my last post..This is still just a long shot guess of what maybe happened really we don't have no fact's that i see that there home was even heated by coal but this was very common at this time and area to do so, but again so is if they had natural gas and had a gas well on there property it was very common for the gas company to give them free natural gas service.. Iam really trying to say it would be unfair at this time that this is maybe what happened when we really have no fact's supporting it...But yes i think the basic theory is sound. time of year yes they should had a good stockpile of coal, I allmost sure i saw where they was high or very high wind's at the time of the fire this make it hot enough to melt mild steel..But there still got to be a lot of thing's to have too happen just right to cause this tragedy!! the placement of the coal stockpile at the homesite, the area where the missing loveone's was to this area, type of heating stove and number of them, I could keep on going but i feel we need to wait until more proof is established...But yes i feel this is possible this could have happened but all the number of person's missing i would have to say it's a very long shot without leaving some type of bone's or something to see beside's teeth..

Granddaughter
05-12-2006, 01:23 PM
Hi all -

Sorry for the long absence. As indicated in an earlier post, my brother and I both have been involved in major commitments at work recently.

On with the important news ... my brother has completed an initial version of the website! Some information is already posted, and we will continue to add to it. The web address is http://www.sodderchildren.com.

Mira
05-12-2006, 01:59 PM
such beautiful children.

i found it odd that not one has a smile. the youngest looks like she is about to cry, and the oldest looks positively haunted.

does anyone have some portrait photos from this same era? im wondering if photographers didnt ask for a smile, in those days.

MagicRose99
05-12-2006, 04:03 PM
If you look at pictures from the "younger years" you hardly ever see one smiling. I think it was considered "undignified" or "proper" not to pose serenely for the pictures.




such beautiful children.

i found it odd that not one has a smile. the youngest looks like she is about to cry, and the oldest looks positively haunted.

does anyone have some portrait photos from this same era? im wondering if photographers didnt ask for a smile, in those days.

MagicRose99
05-12-2006, 04:05 PM
Wonderful website! Your brother did a fantastic job!




Hi all -

Sorry for the long absence. As indicated in an earlier post, my brother and I both have been involved in major commitments at work recently.

On with the important news ... my brother has completed an initial version of the website! Some information is already posted, and we will continue to add to it. The web address is http://www.sodderchildren.com (http://www.sodderchildren.com/).

mysteriew
05-12-2006, 06:02 PM
Just took a look at the website. Great Job! Nice clean look, simple to navigate.
Now the thing is to get the site targeted to the people who may have info. If I could make a suggestion?.......several of the printers offer samples of their work by making up business cards and the only charge is for shipping. Would it be possible to make business cards with the website address on it and leave them in public areas there.....library, grocery, laundrymat, post office etc?
Also, for family members.....the question has come up as to how the home was heated? And where the fuel source was stored?

Shadow205
05-16-2006, 05:42 PM
Granddaughter,

So glad to see the website go up. Maybe it will generate some new information. IMO, there are still people around who know what happened that night.

fox1950
05-17-2006, 03:39 PM
Thanks, Jennie,

Very informative website. It answered some of my questions. Did your family know the people who came to the home after the fire to see the "babies" or were they strangers?

hoping4truth
05-19-2006, 01:15 PM
I am new on this thread and have read it through, and I wanted to bring up something I didn't really see mentioned.

I would like to say first off, that I don't believe that these five children died in that fire. I am by no means an expert on fire, but I would think there would be a lot of physical remnants (like most of you others think as well).

But I wanted to say this:

Regarding the actions of the fire chief (If my memory serves, he was a volunteer, right?) I believe he was extremely unprofessional - as most (if not all) of you agree. But I see in a less negative light. Put yourself there: it was Christmas Day – a time for joy - and this family had lost (presumably) five children in a house fire. The entire town was witness to the tragedy, and no doubt the entire family was suffering. The circumstances around it were mysterious, no doubt, and would have had merit (at least, in today’s world) to be given a more thorough investigation, but I tend to think that his intentions were not to cover up the crime, as much as to give the family some closure. I tend to think that the Priest and the relative did the same. It definitely does not make those actions appropriate, but I could see someone, maybe with children of his own, telling this family he found remains so they could be buried and the family could move on. I don't think he counted on them being so suspicious - he probably was hoping they'd take his word for it. It does not excuse his actions - he was the closest thing that town had to being a professional, and he took advantage of his position to dupe an unsuspecting family, but I don't believe his intentions were sinister. A lot of people do dishonest things to try and lessen the pain of one of their friends or family, it doesn't make it right, but it doesn't mean that this person was involved in a plot to destroy a family, or cover up who did. In fact, I believe that if this man who's last name starts with a "J" (Janotulo??) was involved, it just so happened that this man helped cover up the crime, probably unintentionally.

And the fact that the Sodders were so mistrusting of those findings, it makes me wonder if some memories came back to Jenny and George that made them conclude that they were kidnapped and not murdered. I saw on here that someone mentioned the Sodders got a "black hand", I don't remember if it said where that information came from (whether it was rumor, fact, or legend) but that would be a great reason to doubt the authorities of that time. Someone mentioned that when working with the families of victims, they resist that their family members are found murdered - they don't want to believe them to be dead). But those people had a corpse - some tangable way for them to see that their family member was in fact, dead, they (at least with modern technology) could do DNA or Dental comparisons to verify. In one way or another, those family members would have to come to terms - and I'm sure it wouldn't have been easy. But the Sodders had nothing.

I hope this excavation brings more answers than questions, although I fear otherwise.

welder 79
05-20-2006, 11:33 PM
hoping4truth.............very good post i enjoyed reading it.. I myself often thought about the fire chief's actions??? they was very strange to say the least..Iam no way trying to take up for him but i try to put myself back in his time and technology on dec. 1945 in rural west virigina...equipment that the fire station had at that time i have no idea..but training wise i say they had very little if any.. no 2-way radio's,,to call the men out i say they had a old air siren at the fire station that on a quiet nice day you might hear it 1 to 2 mile's away, a cold windy day far less....It's sure not like in 2006 where i can go to fire station and take all kind's of University credible classes on a direct satellite hook-up and asked question's in real time...even today it's very hard to get vol. firefighter's to come out on any holiday's and Christmas eve its real hard!!..different fire dept's work different like i think foam injected water is the best but other dept's don't agree.. but that fire chief in that town really did act strange too me but i have never heard his side of the story.. maybe somewhere we can find his report on the fire hopefully...I try to start looking for it but don't hold your breath it be very lucky if we can find it..:D

drema
05-24-2006, 08:30 PM
Here is a website that you can view the death certificates of the missing Sodder children along with brother Michael's: http://www.wvculture.org/vrr (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr). Go under "Death" and type the name Sodder. All the children's death certifications are there to view.

blueclouds
05-24-2006, 09:25 PM
Here is a website that you can view the death certificates of the missing Sodder children along with brother Michael's: http://www.wvculture.org/vrr (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr). Go under "Death" and type the name Sodder. All the children's death certifications are there to view.


When I downloaded and printed them out quite sometime ago.... it stated clearly that date of death was 25th of Xmas and BURIAL WAS 27TH. 2 days after the fire - meaning George buried them 2 days later. Again, a fire that actually burned all night with coal in the home too - will result in UNDETECTABLE SMALL - EXTREMELY SMALL FRAGMENTS of skeleton...

AND speaking to my forensic EXPERT FIRE / HOMICIDE / ARSON INVESTIGATOR determined that unless you had experts digging for quite sometime long after the fire was cooled - you would not have found the children.

It is extremely clear to me that the children DID die that night and the answers are there. IT WAS THE FATHER's tremendous grief that drove him to want so desperately to believe his children still were alive..... survivors guilt to say the least.

I can get this expert to put his thoughts and beliefs in writing. He said he'd highly welcome an expert excavation (THOROUGH) - and there will be remains found.

I feel such tremendous sadness for the remaining children and the shadows they grew up in having their parents not provide their full love and attention solely for the living children and still live their lives in grief. Rumors get started but many of the rumors have been proven and dispelled. It's the continuing NEED to believe that the parents didn't do all their searching in vain.... because that is what it would be - in vain.

It would still leave a very big hole in the family today to let this go and know those children died that night.

So sad all around but i think the family needs to go to TODAY'S EXPERTS AND THE PROSECUTOR IN THE COUNTY to get finality on this. Having a very old letter stating a "fire buring at 2000degrees for 2 hours" would still have visible remains is not relevant to this circumstance at all. PLEASE GO to experts today and your answers will be there. A skeleton would not be found.

GO find the proper people today and let go of the old "letters" providing further credence to more rumor. Find the experts that will give you answers today.... not some people from 1945.

rainbow
05-24-2006, 09:43 PM
Couldn't someone exhume the graves to see if there is enough of anything in the caskets to test? Forgive me if this has been mentioned....it's been awhile since I read all the way through this thread.

blueclouds
05-26-2006, 12:20 AM
Couldn't someone exhume the graves to see if there is enough of anything in the caskets to test? Forgive me if this has been mentioned....it's been awhile since I read all the way through this thread.

There are no caskets honey. The fire was Xmas morning at 1:30 am and the father, George, backfilled the entire fire site not 48 hours later. Death certificates that were provided - show the burial was on site and the date of burial was the 27th of December. Essentially the remains were all covered up and then the father came to believe his children MUST be alive due to a picture he had seen a year or two later in New York. In going to New York, he could not see the girl in question but it was proven to him that it was NOT his daughter. Following that, he continued on this belief that his kids MUST have survived and were kidnapped. There were a couple of weird things that night (the stolen items - guy plead guilty and paid a fine) and the hang up phone call was actually a neighbor (PROVEN) and she came forward stating it was a wrong number that she dialed and provided a written statement.

I think survivors guilt played tremendously in this family but no one will talk about the REAL TRAGEDY IN ALL THIS. How the surviving children were emotionally abandoned to a degree as their parents went on this wild hunt for dead children. That is the most painful thing about this entire story.

I can go on with evidence and how the media BACK THEN AND EVEN NOW LOVE TO FUEL THIS FIRE in order to "sell" papers..... ALL Strange circumstances were PROVEN and provided a logical explanation. The remains are under approximately 4 to 9 feet of fill (depending on further landscaping over the years). If one of the Universities near this local can provide student geologists and excavation students.... etc..... these children WILL be found and DNA will prove it.

mysteriew
05-26-2006, 12:53 AM
I seem to remember the raw "meat" wasn't proven.....nor was the picture that was mailed to the home signed Louis. No explanation for the rubber "bulbs" or whatever it was they found in the yard.
I know it is possible they burned up in the fire. But their were a lot of "weird" things that happened.

Shadow205
05-26-2006, 06:38 AM
There are no caskets honey. The fire was Xmas morning at 1:30 am and the father, George, backfilled the entire fire site not 48 hours later. Death certificates that were provided - show the burial was on site and the date of burial was the 27th of December. Essentially the remains were all covered up and then the father came to believe his children MUST be alive due to a picture he had seen a year or two later in New York. In going to New York, he could not see the girl in question but it was proven to him that it was NOT his daughter. Following that, he continued on this belief that his kids MUST have survived and were kidnapped. There were a couple of weird things that night (the stolen items - guy plead guilty and paid a fine) and the hang up phone call was actually a neighbor (PROVEN) and she came forward stating it was a wrong number that she dialed and provided a written statement.

I think survivors guilt played tremendously in this family but no one will talk about the REAL TRAGEDY IN ALL THIS. How the surviving children were emotionally abandoned to a degree as their parents went on this wild hunt for dead children. That is the most painful thing about this entire story.

I can go on with evidence and how the media BACK THEN AND EVEN NOW LOVE TO FUEL THIS FIRE in order to "sell" papers..... ALL Strange circumstances were PROVEN and provided a logical explanation. The remains are under approximately 4 to 9 feet of fill (depending on further landscaping over the years). If one of the Universities near this local can provide student geologists and excavation students.... etc..... these children WILL be found and DNA will prove it.

Blueclouds,

I would like to address your comments that I have highlighted from your last post.

1. The fire was Xmas morning at 1:30 am and the father, George, backfilled the entire fire site not 48 hours later.
**The information that I have states that the site of the fire was filled in on December 29th which would was definitely more than 48hrs after the fire.

2. father came to believe his children MUST be alive due to a picture he had seen a year or two later in New York. In going to New York, he could not see the girl in question but it was proven to him that it was NOT his daughter.
**Perhaps I am misunderstanding this statement but I took it that you were saying that the picture of the young girl whom George thought might be his daughter is what starting the Sodder's questioning whether the children died in the fire or not. It is not. From the information that I have, the suspician began when they were told by the telephone repairman that the phone lines appeared to have been cut not burned. The phone lines were cut 14ft above the ground and two feet from the pole. There were many other things that caused the Sodder's to doubt that their children died in the fire including the mysterious actions of the Fire Chief burying the beef liver at the site of the fire and claiming to have found a human heart.
There were a couple of weird things that night (the stolen items - guy plead guilty and paid a fine)
The man whole stole the items also said that he cut the phone lines thinking that he was cutting the power line to the house.

3. In going to New York, he could not see the girl in question but it was proven to him that it was NOT his daughter.
**I have never seen any indication that it was proven not to have been his daughter. Could you please explain how this was proven?

4. I can go on with evidence
**Pleae do, I am interested in seeing any evidence that you can share with us.

5. ALL Strange circumstances were PROVEN and provided a logical explanation
**I respectfully disagree completely with this statement, I personally have not seen where the strange circumstances(too many to post here again) were proven and a logical explanation was provided.

I for one am not convinced that the children persihed in the fire and have stated my reasons why in numerous posts throughout this thread. I do not believe that the fire burned hot enough to totally destroy all remains of five bodies. From the information that I have, the house burned very quickly and then smoldered for a few hours.
I think the only way to possibly find some answers is an excavation of the site. Jonathan is working on having that done.

drema
05-26-2006, 09:14 PM
I do not think the remaining Sodder children felt abandoned by their father. All were grown except baby and after she was grown she tried to help her father very much in finding answers to what had happened. The Sodder family are still looking for answers. I don't see them doing that if they had any bad feelings toward their father or if he were not a loving father to them also. I think they had a great deal of respect for him. They remember how he paced the floor and worried about the missing children.

Granddaughter
05-30-2006, 03:56 PM
Hi all -

As I said, we haven't forgotten you and your efforts.

I just want to place one quick reply for now (my mom has been working on responses to some of your questions). I have written most of the responses in the past on behalf of my mom, with her review and thoughts. My mom is Sylvia, the only surviving child who was still that -- a child -- at the time of the fire. These are my words, and not my mom's.

Mom has told me many, many times over the years what it was like to grow up in that house. Put simply, she was brought with up in extreme love, devotion, and tenderness. They cultivated in her all that you would want a person to be. This is the same way that I was raised by my parents, and I can only hope that I do my upbringing justice. My mother remained close with her parents until their death. We still speak of my grandparents often, and always with love and respect.

I'm not trying to displace any thoughts or comments on this board. It should be an open forum for all views. However, I do feel the need to defend my grandparent's devotion to their remaining children. They did not wallow in sorrow at the expense of their remaining children. They took action. They looked for answers. And they filled the rest of their lives with labor and love.

Shadow205
05-30-2006, 04:48 PM
Hi all -

As I said, we haven't forgotten you and your efforts.

I just want to place one quick reply for now (my mom has been working on responses to some of your questions). I have written most of the responses in the past on behalf of my mom, with her review and thoughts. My mom is Sylvia, the only surviving child who was still that -- a child -- at the time of the fire. These are my words, and not my mom's.

Mom has told me many, many times over the years what it was like to grow up in that house. Put simply, she was brought with up in extreme love, devotion, and tenderness. They cultivated in her all that you would want a person to be. This is the same way that I was raised by my parents, and I can only hope that I do my upbringing justice. My mother remained close with her parents until their death. We still speak of my grandparents often, and always with love and respect.

I'm not trying to displace any thoughts or comments on this board. It should be an open forum for all views. However, I do feel the need to defend my grandparent's devotion to their remaining children. They did not wallow in sorrow at the expense of their remaining children. They took action. They looked for answers. And they filled the rest of their lives with labor and love.
Granddaughter,

I just want to let you know that I admire your Grandparents for never giving up on their search. I can assure you that I will continue to look for answers. Please give my regards to Sylvia.

welder 79
06-20-2006, 12:10 PM
I thought i get this site back up near the top again, I wonder how the family project is coming along?? . I not heard nothing about it for a while. There project will tell us a lot more i think than anything else will right now. really no use of trying to 2nd guess about this i think the family is doing the best thing they can do now and hopefully there project will help find out something new about this case..

LButler
08-10-2006, 11:39 AM
Bumping this case and hoping there have been some updates the family can give us.

I hate to see this thread become completely dormant, but it seems we exhausted everything "forum-wise" that we could do.

I had hoped to look around for more info about it this spring, but just found myself at a standstill as to where to start or what to look for. I think the key to solving this is finding someone willing to give answers to the family after all these years.

I still think about them often and hope the family gets answers soon!

welder 79
08-10-2006, 12:09 PM
All shoot I saw this new post and a big smile came on my face and thought all right a update. well that's how life goes....You don't think they might dug a too big of a hole and forgot the ladder??? If I don't hear something soon I might drive up there with a ladder and a long rope...just kidding I don't think they did that. The case I was involved with when we ran into a body took I think 3 or 4 year's..I know it was a long time but they did a very good job we found out about the year of death, the general place and area he came from, how old he was, what he was doing in this area just about everything we needed to know..They did a very good job..

Shadow205
08-10-2006, 12:53 PM
I just sent Granddaughter an email. I got an email from her a few weeks ago and she was working on something. It was related to the excavation that was done back in 1949. I'm sure that she will post an update when she can.

welder 79
08-10-2006, 04:02 PM
Thank you Shadow 205 for the update, yes I say that whole family is pretty busy right now ..you have a very nice day.

Granddaughter
08-15-2006, 12:41 PM
I stand appropriately chastened! Sorry for the delay in posting. This has been a very hectic summer for my family. My mom continues to try to identify information for you.

She found a carbon copy where my aunt Mary Ann (Marion) retyped a report from Dr. Oscar B. Hunter, Jr., the pathologist who examined the bones from the excavation of the house site in 1949. Since my brother is involved in a move and is trying to get settled, he has not posted it to the website. So, I've retyped the most relevant portions of the report below:

Received: August 19, 1949
Reported: August 25, 1949

Report of Examination of Bones

The following description is that relative to bones found in the excavations of the home of Mr. George Sodder near Fayetteville, West Virginia, which was destroyed by fire on December 25, 1945.

In the excavation, bones were found in the northeast corner of the basement and in the southwest corner of the basement. In the northeast corner eight fragments of bone were found. All of these were cut in sections and have all the aspects and appearance of the thoracic vertebrae of animals together with a few ribs and one femur. In the southeast corner of the house 6 bones were found 2 of which are fragments. These 2 fragments are fragile long bones which have the aspect of a chicken's femur. In this same location, however, there were 4 bones which are definitely identified as human bones. These 4 consist of lumbar vertebrae. They all belong to the same individual and their articulations fit precisely, one with the other. These 4 vertebrae are discolored by the earth and adjacent metallic substances. They show no evidence of charring, however, except perhaps for deposition of charred material on the surface of the bones. The bones themselves, however, show no evidence of having been burned. The uppermost vertebrae and the second vertebrae show some chipping of the dorsal spine and lateral processes.

...

Conclusions:

From studying these bones it can be unequivocally stated that these bones are identical with know human bones of the age group 14-15 years and it is probable, with room for very little doubt, that they belong to a child of this age.

The bones show no evidence of actual charring which would indicate that they were not free within the fire and subject to high temperature. They, of course, could have been in the fire covered by flesh and consequently insulated from the higher temperature associated with the fire.

The question immediately arises as to why these bones should be found without the associated bones of the remaining portions of the skeleton and consequently it would lead one to believe that the remaining portion of the skeleton necessitates the conclusion that they were forcibly removed from the remaining portion of the skeleton. Such a forcible dismemberment during life or even after a body has been subject to fire of the intensity described would necessitate a considerable amount of force and dexterity of the part of an individual planning such a dismemberment.

It would seem more reasonable that the remaining bones had been removed from the skeleton subsequent to the death of the individual at a time when the interlacing ligaments and fibrous tissue had undergone degeneration. This feature, therefore, suggests that these bones were separated from the remaining portion of the skeleton at some later time and that perhaps these bones were overlooked at the time of the removal.

Reported

Oscar B. Hunter, Jr. MD
Pathologist

For those who might not recognize the name, Dr. Hunter was an impressive man. He was the President of the College of American Pathologists in the 1960s. My quick research indicates that Dr. Hunter nominated one of the four physicians who was on the 1968 Panel that reviewed the evidence regarding the Kennedy assassination. He obviously was a well-respected official. As indicated in the photos on my brother's website, that Dr. Hunter was present and supervised the excavation of the house site.

My mother recalls that the excavation was a very careful process. She remembers that they had prepared sieves to sort through the material when it was excavated, and Dr. Hunter said it would not be necessary. He said that they would find large groups of bones if the children were present, because their bones would not incinerate at the temperature of a house fire. Still, the excavation was a lengthy process.

The report indicates that a few human bones were found, and that they were small bones rather than the large bones that were expected. My mom recalls that it was believed that the few bones were brought in with the fill material. If she finds anything more on that topic, we'll keep you posted.

This leads to an obvious avenue - do the bones still exist, and can DNA testing be conducted? We don't know what happened to the bones after the examination, athough Mom thinks they went to the Smithsonian Institute. We will try to determine whether the bones still exist at the Smithsonian.

welder 79
08-15-2006, 11:42 PM
Just a idea like your Mom say..If they hauled fill dirt from a other place or very close to that site, I know in this area and in my area both it's not too uncommon every few year's you will see where they run into a old Indian burial site and if you untrained in what to really look for you can miss them bone's all together while doing this fill in job..

LButler
08-16-2006, 10:30 AM
Granddaughter ... thanks for the update and please don't feel reprimanded by us - we appreciate all the time and info you can spare.

About the bones found (per your post), I think the book mentioned something to the effect that someone admitted to placing some human bones at the site after the fire - if my memory serves me right, it was someone close to the fire chief?

As we all know, many stories are made up of about 50% rumors, so please correct me if that is wrong or if I have the story wrong.

welder 79
08-18-2006, 05:06 PM
I could be wrong but I think it was supected the fire chief or someone put a cow's liver in some kind of metal box and buried it near the burned out homeplace trying to pass it of as human and that didn't work out as there plan

LButler
08-19-2006, 01:00 PM
I had heard about the cow liver episode, but I was thinking there was some story behind the human bones that were found at the site.

Shadow205
08-19-2006, 01:39 PM
In reference to the bones. I know that way way back at the beginning of the thead(probably the 1st one) there was something about the bones being brought to the site in the fill dirt. I read where the fill dirt came from near an old cemetery and somehow the bones were in it. What ever it was that I read even told that they had determined who the bones were. It was a young boy who had been killed in an auto accident. I cannot for the life of me find that information now. I'm still looking through all of the information that I have but I know that I read that somewhere.

LButler
09-19-2006, 11:42 AM
The Sodder kids have been listed on the Doenetwork!!!!

This is obviously old news for the people responsible for getting them on there, but new and great news for me!!

Wow!!

Maurice is case # 2241 DMWV and there are links to the others there.

Great job to everyone who got that done!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MaryLiz
09-19-2006, 09:37 PM
The Sodder kids have been listed on the Doenetwork!!!!

This is obviously old news for the people responsible for getting them on there, but new and great news for me!!

Wow!!

Maurice is case # 2241 DMWV and there are links to the others there.

Great job to everyone who got that done!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meaghan Good listed them on Charley Project too! Here is the link for Maurice. You can see the rest of them through his link.

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/s/sodder_maurice.html

Shadow205
09-19-2006, 10:52 PM
This is great news! I don't know who got them listed but thank you. Now that they are listed, I think that the local media will take more interest. Maybe if we can get a good story in the LOCAL media it will stir up some old memories. There are still plenty of people around who might have information. Somone knows what happened to the Sodder children. I truely beleive that they are out there somewhere and nothing would make me happier then to see them reunited with their baby sister, Sylvia.

Shadow205
09-21-2006, 11:58 AM
I need help researching and trying to find an old magazine. You will remember mentioned that George Sodder saw a picture of a young girl in a magazine that he beleived was Betty. He traveled to New York in an attempt to identify the girl but was not allowed to see her. Here is the letter that he wrote to the school;

Walt Whitman School
25 East 78th Street
New York, NY
Attn: Miss Louise Krueger, Director

Dear Miss Krueger:

The enclosed picture of several of your students appearing in the May 14, 1946, edition of LOOK magazine is self-explanatory.

For your information, the little girl to which the arrow points quite definitely resembles one of our children who disappeared during the latter part of 1945, and I shall appreciate it greatly if you will, at your earliest convenience, favor me with the following information:

1. Her name
2. The date of her enrollment
3. Any further information you may feel at liberty to supply.

Needless to say, your cooperation in this matter will be more than appreciated.

Yours very truly,

George Sodder
According to Jennie(Granddaughter) it is not known if he received a reply to the letter or not. She thought that she located the correct magazine and purchased it but the picture that she was looking for was not in it. So, evidently there was a mistake on which issue the picture appeared in. Anyone that would like to help could search for anything to do with the school, classmates.com, reunion sites, any place where we might find pictures of students from that time period, any info on "Ms.Krueger".

Any ideas on where we might go with this information?

Jennie also said: My mom remembers the picture showing little girls lined up at a ballet class.

MaryLiz
09-21-2006, 08:18 PM
I looked on eBay for the old Look magazine. I found one dated May 28, 1946, just 2 weeks later! I couldn't find one for May 14, 1946.

If you google Old Look Magazines there are a number of places that have old magazines for sale. One place www.millionmagazines.com (http://www.millionmagazines.com) said they had most all the back issues of Look and Life but they wanted $29.95 for each issue.

Good Luck!

Teresa Larson
10-21-2006, 06:20 PM
I came across this story posted on the Doe Network. It is very interesting and sad. Has there been any new information about this? Did they ever search the site again? Thanks Teresa

Shadow205
10-23-2006, 02:37 PM
I came across this story posted on the Doe Network. It is very interesting and sad. Has there been any new information about this? Did they ever search the site again? Thanks TeresaTeresa,

The most recent news is that the children are listed on the Doe Network. That IMO is very big news. Not sure who got it done but a big thank you to whoever did!

Mr. E
10-23-2006, 06:40 PM
I am currently reading a book about forensics (Inside the National Forensic Academy, the World's Top CSI Training School -- Bodies We've Buried), and one little bit on fires had me thinking of the Sodders. Regarding fire fatalities, the book says, "A fire will not and cannot consume a person completely. There will always be pieces of bone, at least as big as a quarter, no matter how hot the fire gets. Typical house fires rarely if ever get about two thousand degrees and never remain that hot for very long. In contrast, a typical crematorium reaches sustained temperatures of nearly twenty-two hundred degrees, and the remains still must be pulverized in to dust by an industrial-strength blender."

I know this has probably been discussed ad nauseum, but based on this I would think that their would have been more evidence of the Sodder childrens' deaths had they died in that house.

grievousangel
10-23-2006, 09:48 PM
Mr.E, I would think so also...even if the site were bulldozed over...an archaelogical type dig could still be done ....if the children died in the fire, there should be some trace of them there.

Teresa Larson
10-24-2006, 01:34 AM
I was also wondering who had the pictures of the children for the billboard? The Sodders lost everything in the fire so who would had these pictures? Did they have any family living near by? I know younger children would try to hide from the fire and smoke but I doubt the 2 older children would unless they were over come by the smoke. I believe that they were some how lured out of the house that night. That would explain why the door was still unlocked and the lights were left on. They could have even been lured out of the house by someone they all knew. The Mafia + coal mines meant lots of trouble back then. Mr Sodder may have refused to pay his "protective dues" I also think the authorities probably knew why this happened that's why they took their time and why there are so many discrepancies in this case. The older children knew where they came from so they could have made contact with their family later However who ever took them could have convinced them the rest of the family died in the fire. They may have even taken them past the burned remains of house later. Children that are kidnapped are often told their parent or parents died They never bother looking because they believe they are dead. Does anybody know if they searched the site in recent years and if so did they find anything?

gardenmom
10-24-2006, 07:44 AM
I was also wondering who had the pictures of the children for the billboard? The Sodders lost everything in the fire so who would had these pictures? Did they have any family living near by? I know younger children would try to hide from the fire and smoke but I doubt the 2 older children would unless they were over come by the smoke. I believe that they were some how lured out of the house that night. That would explain why the door was still unlocked and the lights were left on. They could have even been lured out of the house by someone they all knew. The Mafia + coal mines meant lots of trouble back then. Mr Sodder may have refused to pay his "protective dues" I also think the authorities probably knew why this happened that's why they took their time and why there are so many discrepancies in this case. The older children knew where they came from so they could have made contact with their family later However who ever took them could have convinced them the rest of the family died in the fire. They may have even taken them past the burned remains of house later. Children that are kidnapped are often told their parent or parents died They never bother looking because they believe they are dead. Does anybody know if they searched the site in recent years and if so did they find anything?
There are some good points here. The pictures may have come from family, or perhaps the school photographer (or who ever took them) had the negatives. Good point about the kids being told the parents died.

Granddaughter
10-27-2006, 10:54 AM
Hi all -

The photos of the children were from my grandmother's sister Alma and from the school.

Also, Mom remains convinced that the excavation done by Oscar Hunter, MD, was thorough and conclusive. He was an impressive man and a national leader in pathology. Anyone who would return to the site now would have no greater credentials than he did. Photos of the excavation are posted on the Sodder children website.

HollywoodBound
10-27-2006, 12:17 PM
I'm comparing the picture of Louis from the site to the one mailed to the family:
http://www.sodderchildren.com/images/Children%20photos/Louis5.jpg
Do you know if in other pictures his left ear appears the same as it does in the above link or is it just the angle? In the picture it appears to be raised away from his head more than his right ear.

HollywoodBound
10-31-2006, 01:26 PM
Were the 2 Sodder sons that got out of the burning house sleeping in the same room with the other boys when the fire broke out? If so, did they say if the others were in the room or not?

LisainWV
11-03-2006, 03:17 PM
Hollywood....this is a LOOOONG thread with lots of info in it (and the previous thread as well). The boys upstairs that escaped the fire, thought they heard the kids answer from the other room as they left the burning house, but no one can be sure if they were up there or not.

I personally believe that Maurice was old enough to at least get himself out had he been up there. And, if he's in the room with the smaller kids, I think it would have been natural for him to see to getting them out as well. It's just my thinking that he probably spent a lot of time with the younger kids and became used to looking out for their welfare. I just don't see a 15 yr old not getting out of a burning house.

PS I'm the former "LButler" that has posted on here. Problems with my account, so I re-registered as LisainWV.

Shadow205
11-03-2006, 07:37 PM
LisaInWV.

Glad to see you back. I wondered what ever happened to Lbutler.

LisainWV
11-05-2006, 02:03 AM
Good to be back. I think about this often even if I'm not on here posting. I still believe the answers to this mystery are out there!!

Shadow205
12-16-2006, 09:32 AM
bumping up Thread # 2

Can't bump up Thread # 1 since it is locked so here is the link http://websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22973

Gina_M
12-18-2006, 02:36 AM
Hi all,

I just found these threads on the Sodder children and spent hours catching up on reading everything posted here. I did some searches for Look Magazine, and found some info from the Library of Congress about looking up old photographs:

http://memory.loc.gov/pp/lookhtml/lookrel.html#in

Also, with our recent trend of Myspace pages on other threads...has anyone thought about doing a MySpace page? :)

Gina_M
12-18-2006, 02:51 AM
I need help researching and trying to find an old magazine. You will remember mentioned that George Sodder saw a picture of a young girl in a magazine that he beleived was Betty. He traveled to New York in an attempt to identify the girl but was not allowed to see her. Here is the letter that he wrote to the school;

Walt Whitman School
25 East 78th Street
New York, NY
Attn: Miss Louise Krueger, Director

Dear Miss Krueger:

The enclosed picture of several of your students appearing in the May 14, 1946, edition of LOOK magazine is self-explanatory.

For your information, the little girl to which the arrow points quite definitely resembles one of our children who disappeared during the latter part of 1945, and I shall appreciate it greatly if you will, at your earliest convenience, favor me with the following information:

1. Her name
2. The date of her enrollment
3. Any further information you may feel at liberty to supply.

Needless to say, your cooperation in this matter will be more than appreciated.

Yours very truly,

George Sodder
According to Jennie(Granddaughter) it is not known if he received a reply to the letter or not. She thought that she located the correct magazine and purchased it but the picture that she was looking for was not in it. So, evidently there was a mistake on which issue the picture appeared in. Anyone that would like to help could search for anything to do with the school, classmates.com, reunion sites, any place where we might find pictures of students from that time period, any info on "Ms.Krueger".

Any ideas on where we might go with this information?

Jennie also said: My mom remembers the picture showing little girls lined up at a ballet class.
I found a site that lists old issues of Look Magazine and describes some of the topics featured in them:

http://www.pastpaper.com/List-Look40s.htm

The February 5, 1946 issue lists "Ballet Fashion Show". Not sure if that is what we are looking for. I find it hard to believe that Mr. Sodder would get the date of the magazine wrong. Perhaps the magazine has pages missing from it?

Shadow205
12-18-2006, 08:11 AM
Hi all,

I just found these threads on the Sodder children and spent hours catching up on reading everything posted here. I did some searches for Look Magazine, and found some info from the Library of Congress about looking up old photographs:

http://memory.loc.gov/pp/lookhtml/lookrel.html#in

Also, with our recent trend of Myspace pages on other threads...has anyone thought about doing a MySpace page? :)
Gina, as a matter of fact I have been trying to get a summary finished so that I could put it on myspace. I hope to have it finished within a couple of days. I already have the myspace for the Sodder family but there is nothing on it yet.
I sent an email to Jennie (Granddaughter) this morning asking if it were possible that there are pages missing from the magaizine.

Shadow205
12-18-2006, 09:28 AM
Hi all -

Sorry for the long absence. As indicated in an earlier post, my brother and I both have been involved in major commitments at work recently.

On with the important news ... my brother has completed an initial version of the website! Some information is already posted, and we will continue to add to it. The web address is http://www.sodderchildren.com.
Since there are a few members new to the thread, I wanted to bring the Sodder children website up to the top for you.

Teresa Larson
12-19-2006, 03:58 AM
Has anybody thought about calling Look magazine and asking them if the picture Mr Sodder saw is in that paticular issue? If not which issue was it in? They would also more than likely have the name of the little girl. It is also very possible that her name could have been changed. If he did recieve a reply from the school and was given the name of the child he saw I would be tempted to search for her. It's a shame Mr Sodder didn't actually get to see this little girl in person. He would have known for sure one way or the other if it was his daughter. I also would like to comment on the picture of the gentlemen holding the bones they found in the ashes from the fire. I believe that there would have been a lot more bones and they would have been much bigger. The house couldn't have burned hot enough to cremate them.

LionRun
12-19-2006, 06:42 AM
I just joined this forum, and I have spent all night reading every post from the beginning. What an incredible story. And, for the sake of family members of the missing I do hope there is resolution. I will be following this from now on. I wish there was something I could do to help.

Shadow205
12-19-2006, 09:33 AM
Has anybody thought about calling Look magazine and asking them if the picture Mr Sodder saw is in that paticular issue? If not which issue was it in? They would also more than likely have the name of the little girl. It is also very possible that her name could have been changed. If he did recieve a reply from the school and was given the name of the child he saw I would be tempted to search for her. It's a shame Mr Sodder didn't actually get to see this little girl in person. He would have known for sure one way or the other if it was his daughter. I also would like to comment on the picture of the gentlemen holding the bones they found in the ashes from the fire. I believe that there would have been a lot more bones and they would have been much bigger. The house couldn't have burned hot enough to cremate them.
Welcome to WS's Teresa!

Look magazine photograph collection (Library of Congress)


Look was a biweekly, general interest popular magazine published from March 1937 to October 1971 by Gardner Cowles, Jr., under various company names: Look, Inc. (1937-45); Cowles Magazines (1946-65); and Cowles Communications, Inc. (1965-71).

more at the link http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?ils:3:./temp/~pp_NLdb::@@@mdb=fsaall,app,brum,detr,swann,look,g ottscho,pan,horyd,genthe,var,cai,cd,hh,yan,bbcards ,lomax,ils,prok,brhc,nclc,matpc,iucpub,tgmi,lamb

Shadow205
12-19-2006, 10:10 PM
I got the myspace finished for the Sodder children. I think it turned out pretty good.

here is the link: www.myspace.com/sodderchildren (http://www.myspace.com/sodderchildren)

Nocgirl
12-20-2006, 01:39 PM
Shadow, I am going to look at your myspace page when I get home. Unfortunately myspace is blocked here at work.

The threads of this case have gotten so long, I apologize if this has already been covered, but why wasn't the fire chief/inspector never charged or investigated more thoroughly?

Was the disgruntled insurance salesman ever questioned?

The man who admitted to cutting the Sodders phone line, why didn't they investigate him more throughly? It is obvious he knew something and was in on this whole disaster.

MaryLiz
12-20-2006, 01:46 PM
I got the myspace finished for the Sodder children. I think it turned out pretty good.

here is the link: www.myspace.com/sodderchildren (http://www.myspace.com/sodderchildren)
Shadow, the myspace page is excellent! I haven't been able to spend a lot of time there yet but what I've seen so far is very poignant and well-done. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

Gina_M
12-20-2006, 09:34 PM
I agree, great job on the MySpace page! :)

2sisters
12-21-2006, 12:56 AM
I am new to the Sodder thread and trying to catch up. Can someone tell me how many kids total there were? Forgive me if it has been covered.

2sisters
12-21-2006, 12:59 AM
Nevermind, I found my answer on the myspace page. Good job with the page by the way.

awagner
12-21-2006, 03:07 AM
Is there any new information on the excavation?

reb
12-21-2006, 11:09 PM
from everything i've read, me feeling is: if there really are no bones at the site, and never were--- then there was some mafia involvement (or possibly anti-italian immigrant forces at work), as so many other signs point to someone targeting them. they burned down their house in hopes of killing them all, but the children who were up late possibly went outside to investigate and were perhaps taken by gunpoint and driven off, probably killed as witnesses.

since there are very few records of unidentified remains on file before a few decades ago- they may have been found years ago & reburied. or their remains may have been built upon, paved over, or they may have been dumped at sea or gotten some other 'treatment' the mafia uses to make people disappear. i seriously doubt they could still be alive. still, hopefully all the older jane & john does out there have been checked against these children- well, as much as you could do w/o DNA.

Shadow205
12-22-2006, 10:59 AM
In 1968, over 20 years adter the tragedy, the Sodders received yet another mysterious reminder. An envelope arrived addressed to Mrs. Sodder with no return address. Inside she found only a photograph of a young man, 24-28 years old, wearing white pants and a shirt, and sitting in front of a window. On the back of the photograph were these words: "Louis Sodder" "I love brother Frankie." "ilil Boys" "A90132 or 35" Mrs. Sodder was convinced that the photograph was of her son Louis Sodder, who was supposed to have died in the fire at the age of nine. The Sodders took the photograph to Charleston in an effort to convince Attorney General Donald Robertson to reopen the case. But the Attorney General was not convinced of the identity of the young man. Determined to follow this lead just as they had so many others, the Sodders again employed a private detective. They paid him in advance and sent him to the town which was listed on the postmark of the letter. They never heard from him again. Mrs. Sodder was afraid that if the letter or the name of the town was published it could bring harm to her son. She had no choice but to admit defeat. The photograph was enlarged and placed in a frame in front of her fireplace. She took comfort in the belief that although her children were out of her reach, they were still alive.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a273/shadow205/Sodder%20Family/Louis_Sodder.jpg?t=1166799362

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a273/shadow205/Sodder%20Family/Louis.jpg?t=1166799396

I beleive that the picture that Mrs. Sodder received was indeed a picture of Louis. This is one of several reasons why I firmly believe that the children did not die in that fire and that they could very well be alive today.

Nocgirl
12-22-2006, 11:56 AM
That is creepy. I cannot figure out how this investigation got so bungled. Seems like the fire chief/investigator and the disgruntled life insurance salesman were involved in this tragedy, why weren't these 2 investigated more?

teonspaleprincess
12-22-2006, 12:33 PM
If that is not him, it is an amazing likeness. Looks exactly like Louis only bigger, right down to the bushy eyebrows. I hope that maybe these children discover that they are "missing" and can reunite with their family.

Shadow205
12-23-2006, 01:11 PM
A reporter from the local newpaper has taken an interest in the Sodder children and is going to do a story on them! She has read the entire thread here at WS's plus a couple of other sites that I sent her. This is a step in the right direction to bring attention to the case and the timing is perfect. Christmas will be the 61st aniversary. I'm not sure when the story is going to run but here is the link to the paper for those who want to watch for it.

www.register-herald.com (http://www.register-herald.com)

Merry Christmas Audrey Stanton and thank you for your interest in this case!

Shadow205
12-25-2006, 10:33 AM
Internet sleuths awaken 61-year-old Christmas mystery

Audrey Stanton
Register-Herald Reporter


The Sodder children were excited on Christmas Eve 1945. After all, their 17-year-old sister, Marian, had just given them new toys from her dime-store job.

Three of her sisters, Martha Lee, 12, Jennie, 8, and Betty, 6, and two of their brothers, Maurice, 14, and Louis, 10, didn’t want to go to bed. They begged their mother, Jeannie, to let them stay up a little longer and play with their new toys. It was already 10 p.m.

Their mother told them they could, but she reminded Louis and Maurice to feed the cows and close the chicken coop before they settled in for the night.

<snip>

For decades, the mystery lived on throughout the region, fueled by the large billboard fence the Sodders placed near Ansted. It offered $10,000 for information leading to the five children. The weathered sign has since been torn down, but the mystery did not die with it.

The popularity of the Internet has led a number of sleuths to try their hands at finding out what became of the Sodder children.

“My personal interest stems from seeing the Sodder billboard as a child. An image was etched in my mind that to this day remains with me, and just as strong, the desire to know what really happened to this family,” said Nancy Rust, a retired law enforcement officer who resides in Greenbrier County and participates in an Internet forum on the topic. “I believe the main thing that draws people to this particular case is the pure mystery of it, and also as with me, many saw the billboard and it just stayed with them.”

Rust is a member of Wewsleuths.com, where forums allow many hobbyist detectives to post their theories on a variety of unsolved events. Their theories on the Sodder case range from a fire caused by an angry World War II veteran seeking revenge on an Italian to the possibility that some of the children started the fire and fled. Some theorize about a vengeful kidnapping followed by a community-wide cover-up, not unheard of in the days of coal wars.

But none of them knows what happened to the children.

Neither does Sylvia (Sodder) Paxton, 64, who resides in St. Albans.

“We are touched deeply to know that people still care about the fate of our family after so many years,” she said. “Our parents hoped that some day their efforts would bring a resolution, even if it came after their lifetimes.”

Her daughter, Jennie Henthorn of Saint Albans, the granddaughter of Jeannie and George Sodder, still has hope answers can be found. She has also posted on websleuths.com.

“It was always a part of my life growing up,” she said. “It wasn’t until much later that I realized it was something more of a regional mystery and not just a family thing.”

Henthorn said the revival of the mystery among Internet sleuths has meant a great deal to her mother.

“She promised my grandparents she wouldn’t let the story die, that she would do everything she could,” Henthorn said.

Still, despite the sleuths’ collective resources, the family has seen no fruits from their efforts.

“It honestly is just a mystery still, for everyone,” Henthorn said. “Just to have some resolution for my mom would be a good thing.”

Rust, for one, has hope that could happen.

“Myself and fellow armchair sleuths have more than hope, we have determination and strong belief that if we continue to push on, and continue to get people ... getting this story back in the spotlight we will find the answers that the family has searched for 61 years to find,” she said.

— E-mail:

bnaudrey@register-herald.com

For more information on the Sodder children mystery, read “West Virginia Unsolved Murders,” a book by George and Melody Bragg.

http://www.register-herald.com/local/local_story_358182913.html

Thank you Audrey and Merry Christmas to all.

LionRun
12-25-2006, 01:49 PM
It is good to know that there are those who strive to solve the Sodder children mystery. I've been keeping up with this and have read all posts I can find on it. Sure was a lot to read for my first days as a member here on WS.


May this one day be solved.

LisainWV
12-25-2006, 07:12 PM
Getting ready to read the article in the Beckley newspaper.


I know there's a link to it above, but I get this paper everyday and if anyone wants a hard copy, pm me your name and mailing address (and be patient) and I'll send you a copy. I know I want it for my file.

Merry Christmas, fellow sleuthers!!!

christine2448
12-25-2006, 09:29 PM
Great Job Shadow! Keep it up! The more the story gets out there the more likely someone is to come forward with new info!!!!

The article is a great overview of this case, excellent work!

Woot!

http://smilies.sofrayt.com/fsc/clap.gif

Shadow205
12-26-2006, 07:17 PM
Great job Audrey on the story. I hope that the article will generate some new information. I had to go out and buy a hard copy of the Register-Herald also LisainWv. I just really wanted to see this story on paper and to keep a copy.

Welcome to Websleuth's and to the Sodder children thread LionRun. I know that it is a lot of information to obsorb all at once, don't hesitate to ask if you have a question.

Granddaughter
12-27-2006, 10:22 AM
Before Christmas, Mom asked several times whether there was something we could post on the Sodder website or on this forum to express our gratitude and to regenerate interest. We kept coming up blank. We have a few other pictures, but none of shy Betty, and a few news articles from the past, but none with different information.

Thanks to Shadow205, Mom received her Christmas wish, not once but twice. It also reminded us that a little effort and creativity can put a fresh spin on the same facts. And that's what each of you do on this forum every time you access it, whether you post or not. We appreciate your efforts very much. Shadow205 and Audrey Stanton, a special thanks to both of you.

fox1950
12-29-2006, 01:41 PM
I think it is wonderful that so much attention has been brought to the Sodder mystery since this thread started. It seems that someone who has come across this board would recognize or think they recognized one or all of the Sodder children or the 1968 picture. Hopefully, one day some one will come forward with the facts about this case. Someone out there knows....maybe many.
The 1968 photo may not have originated from the place in Kentucky that it was sent from. By the back of the photo, it seems it was sent to someone who later forwarded it to Mrs. Sodder. Perhaps it was a joke, perhaps it was real.....perhaps the person in the picture did not know that it was sent to Mrs. Sodder (if it were not Louis) and is innocent of any wrong doing. I would still like to see the Sodder children age-progressed to their 20's or 30's and then progressed to their age today.

I truly would like to see this mystery solved. If they died in the fire, I wish someone would find more evidence. If they are alive, I wish somehow someone who was involved or knew what happened would come forward.
I can't help but think these children were taken to Italy. Did any find a copy of the Look magazine with the little girl who looked so much like Betty?

pedinurse
12-31-2006, 03:58 AM
On the first thread, there was a post by a user named bowlerbabe67 (total posts - 1) and text that said this:

I have lived in West Virginia all my life first in the Oak Hill area and for the last 4 years in Fayetteville area (Gatewood Road) I've grew up surronded by this story all my life my grandfather who used to be a mine foreman at several different mines knew of the story quite well,we would go on drives and everytime we passed that sign he would always tell us that there was much more than ever would come out about that night.He would not talk about what he knew but I could always tell he knew more than he was willing to talk about.I took care of him until he passed away and in his last days he did talk some .I do believe the children were never killed in that fire .The things that he told me makes me believe other things.I think that a memorial for the missing should be built to show the people that had their dirty hands in the cover up (even if they are dead I'm sure there are living members of there families who know the truth) that people have not forgotten and never will!May God bless each and every one and may there come a time when this will be solved!

Has anyone tried to contact this individual further to find out any information she may have had? There was the one post and that was it. Sounds like she knows something and possibly people or decendents of people who know what happened to the Sodder children.

christine2448
12-31-2006, 10:35 AM
On the first thread, there was a post by a user named bowlerbabe67 (total posts - 1) and text that said this:

I have lived in West Virginia all my life first in the Oak Hill area and for the last 4 years in Fayetteville area (Gatewood Road) I've grew up surronded by this story all my life my grandfather who used to be a mine foreman at several different mines knew of the story quite well,we would go on drives and everytime we passed that sign he would always tell us that there was much more than ever would come out about that night.He would not talk about what he knew but I could always tell he knew more than he was willing to talk about.I took care of him until he passed away and in his last days he did talk some .I do believe the children were never killed in that fire .The things that he told me makes me believe other things.I think that a memorial for the missing should be built to show the people that had their dirty hands in the cover up (even if they are dead I'm sure there are living members of there families who know the truth) that people have not forgotten and never will!May God bless each and every one and may there come a time when this will be solved!

Has anyone tried to contact this individual further to find out any information she may have had? There was the one post and that was it. Sounds like she knows something and possibly people or decendents of people who know what happened to the Sodder children.WOW...shadow?? I came into this case more recently, Shadow brought it to my attention...it would be AWESOME if she could interview this guy. Let's email this poster! I am messaging Shadow now,LOL.

Teresa Larson
01-05-2007, 02:13 AM
I have given this whole story much thought. I have a few questions that I am wondering about. I know the Sodder's did not rebuild their house because it burned to the ground. Where did the Sodder's live after the fire? How far from the original house? If the children grew up and came back to where their house used to be would they have been able to find somebody that knew them or where the rest of their family actually was? Was Mr Sodder able to stay in business after the fire? Did any one ever say if his trucks were intentionally kept from running the night of the fire? I think the Private Investigators they hired were just taking their money. I have found a lot of people. I think this can be solved. I think a big help was the Doe Network This story needs exposure so more people see it.

LisainWV
01-05-2007, 11:42 AM
Teresa, I'm about 99% sure they did rebuild on the property, but not exactly where the other house burnt. We're talking about a matter of difference in feet or a few yards, as I recall.

the house remained in family until the mid to late 80's or so. Jenny (the mother) lived there until just a few years before her death. I've read all these dates a few times, but don't remember them without going back and re-reading.

LisainWV
01-05-2007, 12:08 PM
The Sodders did keep their turcking business and, in fact, a Sodder Trucking still exists today. Maybe family or something that's still on the books for legal reasons?

I've never heard any news of the trucks being kept from starting that night, but I think the point to the story is that no one ever checked out anything for the family. The kids died in the fire, according to the authorities, and that was the end of it.

One thought i have always had about the trucks not starting, I can remember our vehicles not starting in cold weather back in the late 70's and early 80's. It wasn't until fuel injection came along in the mid 80's that vehicles would easily start in cold weather. it was reported to have been very cold and windy that night.....if there was something mechanically wrong with the trucks (if someone disabled them in some way), it would have easily been found later.

Unfortunately, I don't think it's a matter of "finding" people, I live 20 minutes away and know where plenty of people are that were around when it happened (in fact, my BF's mother was working at her first job and living in Fayetteville when the fire happened). However, finding someone who actually knows something other than the rumors that were circulated is a different story.

I think most people believed one of the following stories:

* the kids burnt in the fire and the family could not accept that.
* the family sent the kids back to Italy for some purpose (that was a common story back then) and many believed it had something to do with an insurance scam
* the italians were strange and who knows what happened. PLEASE DON'T ANYONE TAKE OFFENSE TO THIS ONE. This area is still back woods when it comes to mixing with other cultures.

I get the feeling from talking with people who were around at the time, this was not a big story back then. I think many people thought the sodders were crazy or just unaccepting of the death of their children and this was their way of dealing with it. I don't think they were crazy at all, but it was easy to cover up the real story back then.

Teresa Larson
01-09-2007, 01:34 PM
They did try to move the trucks that night but were unable to because they wouldn't start. It is possible that it was too cold for the trucks to start however I have also had cars that were not fuel injected for years and they started in below zero weather in Nebraska. The ladder they had outside the house was also moved another indication that this whole thing was a set up. I have never heard of the Italians being strange people back then. The Mafia was noted for not getting along with the coal miners. I know people that had to get away from the mines years ago because of them. Mr Sodder may have not paid his protective dues. I know this is not just a matter of finding people I was only stating that because I think this can be solved. I am also sure this was a big story back then whether the children were burned up in the fire or kidnapped 5 kids dead or missing is a big story It would be now if it happened today. I can understand some people believing the Sodder's just couldn't accept their childrens death in the fire because they wouldn't have known that it takes a much hotter fire than that to cremate bones. I have no doubt that the authorities didn't get involved because they were afraid to.

fox1950
01-18-2007, 03:52 PM
I think the following are key elements in finding out what happened to the Sodder children:

*A dig be made of the area the house stood to prove there is no evidence the children burned in the fire. This has been done before, but I think it is a significant element in getting more people interested in the fact that the children did not persh in the fire. After that, if nothing is found some TV programs should be requested to run this story.

Once the dig is done the following should take place if nothing is found:

*Effects should be made to find how exactly who the person was in the 1967 photo sent to Mrs. Sodder. It should be posted somewhere that a lot of people would view. Somewhere, there is a picture of this man in an old yearbook, etc.

*The Look magazine should be located and a picture of the little girl viewed by websleuths to see what their thoughts are on this case. Note: I have tried to find the Magazine but so far have been unsuccessful.

*Effects should be made if there is a possibly this was Betty to find out exactly who this child was. Is Walt Whitman school still there with the address the same?

*More pictures of the family should be posted. I personally would like to compare some of the family pictures with the 1967 picture.

*Sightings of the children were seen near Charleston, WV and Florida when Mrs. Sodders brother (?) lived. Did they stay there a while and move on when the trail got hot? Possibly they stayed some where in Florida.
With the Shawn Hornbeck case we know one or more of the children may have grown up in Charleston.

I could never understood why the children never came home. With events that have emerged during the last few years, the most recent, the Hornbeck case, I have more of an understanding of why (sometimes) people never come home.

Does anyone else have any suggestions on what to do to solve this case:

mfmangel1
01-20-2007, 02:41 AM
Originally Posted by JBandy
I am very good friends with the current owners. I have spoken with them and they have granted me permission to excavate the land where the house sat and I am currently working on a grant to fund this dig. If anyone has grant experience...I would love the help.

Has anyone heard the status of the grant for the dig at the site?

LisainWV
01-21-2007, 12:09 AM
I drove by the house not so long ago (within the last couple of months) and there appeared to be no digging going on. Not that something like this could transpire that quickly, but...?

Teresa Larson
01-22-2007, 12:49 AM
I have e-mailed someone who has both issues of Look for sale. I asked him if either of these issues contain the picture of the little girl Mr Sodder saw. I will let you all know what I find out :)

fox1950
01-22-2007, 12:11 PM
I have e-mailed someone who has both issues of Look for sale. I asked him if either of these issues contain the picture of the little girl Mr Sodder saw. I will let you all know what I find out :) Great! I found someone also who had a copy of the May 14, 1946 Look Magazine. They are going to send it to me. Keep your fingers crossed that the picture is in the magazine. Should have it in a week or so.

fox1950
01-29-2007, 07:03 PM
I found a site that lists old issues of Look Magazine and describes some of the topics featured in them:

http://www.pastpaper.com/List-Look40s.htm

The February 5, 1946 issue lists "Ballet Fashion Show". Not sure if that is what we are looking for. I find it hard to believe that Mr. Sodder would get the date of the magazine wrong. Perhaps the magazine has pages missing from it?The May 14, 1946 Look Magazine does not have a picture of a ballet class from Walt Whitman School. Either Mr. Sodder had the date wrong or the name of the magazine wrong. It does have an article "Children Paint It Their Own Way"-with children's pictures at New York's Museum of Find Art. The picture does have a couple of dark haired girls in it-One girl pictured alone does resemble sightly Betty-(haven't seen but one picture of Betty). The children's ages range from 4-8 and the article does not say what school or who the children are.

Shadow205
02-06-2007, 03:45 PM
OK guys, am I loosing it or what??? Yesterday morning I replied to a question in this thread about some bones that were supposedly found after the fire. The poster, which I can't remember who it was but not a regular was asking about some small bones possibly from a childs hand thaat they had never seen mentioned before. I replied, now the original post and my reply is gone. WTH???

fox1950
02-06-2007, 07:15 PM
Shadow, I read the message posted on justice quest- On my space it saids two small bones were found along with the verterbre that could have come from a child's hands.

Any ideas on where to look for the magazine with the picture in it or could Mr. Sodder been mistake about the ballet class and it was an art class?


The May 14, 1946 Look Magazine does not have a picture of a ballet class from Walt Whitman School. Either Mr. Sodder had the date wrong or the name of the magazine wrong. It does have an article "Children Paint It Their Own Way"-with children's pictures at New York's Museum of Find Art. The picture does have a couple of dark haired girls in it-One girl pictured alone does resemble sightly Betty-(haven't seen but one picture of Betty). The children's ages range from 4-8 and the article does not say what school or who the children are.

Shadow205
02-07-2007, 12:22 AM
Shadow, I read the message posted on justice quest- On my space it saids two small bones were found along with the verterbre that could have come from a child's hands.

Any ideas on where to look for the magazine with the picture in it or could Mr. Sodder been mistake about the ballet class and it was an art class?

fox,
Thank you. I guess that I am loosing it. You are right, that was posted in a different forum. I think I am a member at to many, I'm starting to confuse them. LOL. Thanks again.
I will ask Granddaughter about the picture.

ida55
02-11-2007, 01:34 PM
Hello all I am new to this site. Have have a couple of questions I have been trying to get answers too to help in this case.

1. Does anyone know were I may be able to get a copy of a picture of the home before it burned and an idea about the layout inside the house?

2. Or a copy of the court case mr. sodder had against the man who stole iteams from the home?

3. or an idea of the lady that called that night or even the operators name?

I am working on many parts of this case for my crjs degree. Any new info would help me out.

Thanks Ida:p :woohoo:

drema
02-16-2007, 06:09 PM
The three girls sleep in the first bedroom immediately at the top of the stairs. There was no door at the top of the steps into the girls room which means that could have easily have heard Mrs. Sodder's calls.
The boy's room was in the back blocked by a door to the girl's room.
The engine would not turn over in the truck in the garage nearby.
The house was seven rooms. Five rooms were downstairs, 2 were upstairs where the children slept.

Ida, the above is from an earlier post. Tells a little about the layout of the house. I never have heard who the neighbor was nor the man with the block & tackle. Would like to know myself. Hope someone can help you.

ida55
02-17-2007, 09:51 PM
I have been able to come up with some good news Chief Morris and Mr. Dodd was both part of a lumber group in Fayette. They were also friends really good friends with the state prosecu attorney's brother who was on the committee for the lions club also along with Mr.Morris. ;)

mysteriew
02-18-2007, 01:10 AM
Everything just keeps circling around that Chief.

drema
02-18-2007, 09:28 AM
Keep up the good work, Ida. Also Shadow 205. Glad to see Mysteriew back.

ida55
02-18-2007, 02:20 PM
Does anyone have an idea of who the fayette city councel was at that time and the people who was involved in the inquest that met to say that the kids died of smoke inhalation?

drema
02-18-2007, 02:48 PM
Seems I read that somewhere. Will have to look it up. Maybe tomorrow

Mr. E
03-10-2007, 09:48 AM
I had an idea about the picture believed to be of Louis Sodder. This has probably already been suggested.

Could a child have written what is on the back? Maybe the man in the picture goes by the name "Frankie," and a child wrote, "I love brother Frankie." Then "ilil boys" could be a childish way of writing "silly boys," like maybe he and "brother Frankie" were good pals who joked around. The line of letters and numbers reminds me of when my older daughter was just starting to write. She used to write strings of letters and numbers random, just to write. Sometimes she "read" them as if they spelled words.

Just a thought that came to me.

fox1950
03-10-2007, 12:33 PM
I had an idea about the picture believed to be of Louis Sodder. This has probably already been suggested.

Could a child have written what is on the back? Maybe the man in the picture goes by the name "Frankie," and a child wrote, "I love brother Frankie." Then "ilil boys" could be a childish way of writing "silly boys," like maybe he and "brother Frankie" were good pals who joked around. The line of letters and numbers reminds me of when my older daughter was just starting to write. She used to write strings of letters and numbers random, just to write. Sometimes she "read" them as if they spelled words.

Just a thought that came to me. Mr. E, I have thought the same thing.
Maybe someone had already written Louis Sodder or wrote it for Mrs. Sodder's information when they sent the photo. However, maybe a child had already written I love brother Frankie before because this is what Louis was going by-Frankie.

Shadow205
03-10-2007, 01:54 PM
Mr. E, I have thought the same thing.
Maybe someone had already written Louis Sodder or wrote it for Mrs. Sodder's information when they sent the photo. However, maybe a child had already written I love brother Frankie before because this is what Louis was going by-Frankie.I posted the picture on Classmates a couple of months ago but so far no replies. I added a some details today so maybe that will stir something up.

If we could find some year books for Central City High School for say 1950-1957 maybe we would luck up and see the picture in there.

fox1950
03-10-2007, 02:19 PM
Shadow, how can we view the picture you posted on classmates. Is it classmates.com?

Shadow205
03-10-2007, 05:07 PM
Shadow, how can we view the picture you posted on classmates. Is it classmates.com?Fox1950, yes it is classmates.com. I don't know if you can get to the section where I put the picture without being a member. Christine2448, is a Gold Member and assisted in getting the picture posted. I have it under Central City High School. The picture was postmarked from Central City, KY.

Rhett
03-12-2007, 02:41 PM
Someone asked about who was on the City Council at the time and you can find that out easily by asking to have a copy of the city council minutes from that time. This is public information and just ask for a month or two months around the time after the fire and it should give the names of the council members.

JBandy
04-04-2007, 07:07 PM
I am writing to ask for your help in an event that I am volunteering for. I decided to put together a team to participate in a Relay for Life, in which I need to collect donations that would go to the American Cancer Society. I am walking in the memory of my grandfather, who was taken away from me by this terrible disease. The moment that helped me decide that I would try to find ways to work to help find a cure for cancer was the last moment I saw my grandpa.

It was the day that I was leaving for England . My grandfather had been sick for a few months and his body was withering away. He had been going through chemotherapy and was offered a chance to visit home. The morning that I was leaving, my mother went to the hospital and picked him up. When she arrived home with him, I went to the driveway to meet them. He was sitting in the front seat of the car looking so pale and broken. It was very difficult to see him like this since I always saw him as that soldier like he was in World War II, or that hardworking mechanic or carpenter that I grew up beside. But at that moment in time I had to take on his role. He could not get out of the car and walk into the house on his own. I picked him up wrapping his arm around my shoulder and hoisting him up. He looked so concerned that I was doing this and so relieved at the same time. He asked me to be careful. I took him inside and sat him in his recliner and walked away to get him a glass of water. I came back and he was already asleep. I kissed him on his head and told him that I love him and miss him. I walked out the door and went on my way to study abroad. It still haunts me that those were the last words that I ever said to him and while I was gone he died suffering through the pains that cancer brought along with it.

Please help me and my team Sodder’s Soldiers (named after my grandfather, John Sodder) in donating $5.00, $10.00, or $20.00 to the American Cancer Society to fight this awful disease.

You can do this by clicking on this link American Cancer Society Relay for Life (https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=190188&lis=1&kntae190188=6FCA895775754A8E9D212C259727D875&supId=0&team=1897829) and donating.

Thank you for your support and if you are interesting in walking for our team, please let me know.

Sincerely yours,

Jonathan Bandy

pedinurse
04-04-2007, 09:10 PM
we need to try to get that magazine Mr. Sodder saw that he thought his daughter was in. Surely it wouldn't be that hard to track down.

fox1950
04-04-2007, 11:09 PM
we need to try to get that magazine Mr. Sodder saw that he thought his daughter was in. Surely it wouldn't be that hard to track down. I have tried to find the magazine even purchasing one copy that was supposed to be the copy it was in. Did not have a ballet class picture in it-did have an art class picture with children.
I have written several collector's but no one has been able to locate this picture for me. I think whoever wrote this letter for Mr. Sodder perhaps got the name of the magazine wrong or the date/year of publication wrong. I thought I could find it; however, if it was a ballet class picture I have been totally unable to locate it.

LisainWV
04-05-2007, 06:41 PM
I have tried to find the magazine even purchasing one copy that was supposed to be the copy it was in. Did not have a ballet class picture in it-did have an art class picture with children.
I have written several collector's but no one has been able to locate this picture for me. I think whoever wrote this letter for Mr. Sodder perhaps got the name of the magazine wrong or the date/year of publication wrong. I thought I could find it; however, if it was a ballet class picture I have been totally unable to locate it.

Not to be negative here, but I'm not sure finding the picture is going to help that much. It's sure to be a black & white, and probably many of these kids are going to have strong Italian characteristics. Do we have any idea of how many kids were in this picture or which one they thought may have been her? How do you id them at that point? She's likely not to be enrolled under the Sodder name.

As I said, I'm not trying to be negative, honestly looking for advice on what would happen if someone could locate the mag and the photo.

fox1950
04-11-2007, 12:32 PM
I can see your point, Lisa. However, I think if this picture could be located, that would be one step closer to identifying the young girl. Perhaps the girl just looked like Betty and was not her. Or maybe it was her. Somewhere at Walt Whitman school there are names are children who attended the school in 1945. Naming the girl in the picture would be one step closer to finding out if it is really Betty. Now, how to go about finding the information at Walt Whitman school would be another question. I think it would take a very good cold case detective to solve this-one who could find a way to identify both the 1967 picture and one in the magazine. But I would really like to see this picture for myself and see what everyone thinks.

JustmeinTN
08-02-2007, 07:35 AM
I lived in Fayette County as a child and remember seeing that billboard all the time. I never forgot it either. I was in WV just last week and ask someone if the billboard was still up. Then I ran across this site.
My great grandfather was a coal miner and he said something one time about the real story never being told but would not say any more and never did tell me about the kids. So I dont know if he really knew something or just had some ideas of his own. I hope one day the mystery will be solved.

LisainWV
08-02-2007, 09:53 AM
Welcome, Justme!! I think anyone who ever saw that billboard will never forget it. The kids posted that way were just so haunting.

Did you drive by the property when you were "home?" It was hard for me to recognize because the fence and sign were gone and it had been many years since I had been there, but I found it. I drive down that way occassionally just to see if God has decided to grant me the psychic powers I pray for and I might get a vibe. Not yet.:(

Oddly enough, I just renewed my newspaperarchive sub and found an article from 1945 when the fire happened. It mentioned 2 fires - the Sodder house in Fayetteville and the Murphy 5 & 10 cent store in Montgomery. Since I have felt, and continue to feel, that this had something to do with Jennie's family, Cipriani's and their possible Mafia ties, and since they lived in the Smithers/Montgomery area, I've been trying to find out who owned the store that caught on fire. Supposedly happened about 5:00 pm.

Probably unrelated, but worth looking at.

Gina_M
08-05-2007, 02:53 AM
Here is a copy of the May 14, 1946 Look Magazine for sale. Is this the one that Granddaughter purchased that did not have the ballet picture in it?

http://www.goantiques.com/detail,look-magazine-cover,1181719.html

Is it possible this is the correct issue, and the other copy was missing pages?

Gina_M
08-05-2007, 03:48 AM
Other magazines (could it be any of these?)

October 15, 1946 edition of LOOK
http://cgi.ebay.com/1946-LOOK-MAGAZINE-BOSTON-RED-SOX-TED-WILLIAMS-COVER_W0QQitemZ280139282820QQihZ018QQcategoryZ280Q QssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

November 18, 1946 edition of LIFE
http://cgi.ebay.com/LIFE-MAGAZINE-1946-PARTY-RAINCOATS-Plaza-Hotel-New-York_W0QQitemZ220131638069QQihZ012QQcategoryZ280QQ tcZphotoQQcmdZViewItem

November 25, 1946 edition of LIFE
http://cgi.ebay.com/LIFE-MAGAZINE-1946-RARE-10th-ANNIVERSARY-ISSUE-MINT_W0QQitemZ220131638074QQihZ012QQcategoryZ280QQ ssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

June 24, 1946 edition of LIFE
http://cgi.ebay.com/LIFE-MAGAZINE-1946-UNITED-STATES-SUPREME-COURT-IRAN_W0QQitemZ220081291124QQihZ012QQcategoryZ280QQ ssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

June 17, 1946 edition of LIFE
http://cgi.ebay.com/LIFE-MAGAZINE-1946-VINTAGE-FASHION-PLAY-DRESSES-kyoto_W0QQitemZ220135693596QQihZ012QQcategoryZ280Q QtcZphotoQQcmdZViewItem

Aug. 20, 1946 edition of LOOK
http://cgi.ebay.com/LOOK-Magazine-Aug-20-1946-Gene-Kelly-Ella-Raines_W0QQitemZ190135957951QQihZ009QQcategoryZ280 QQcmdZViewItem

Aug. 5, 1946 edition of LIFE
http://cgi.ebay.com/LIFE-Magazine-Aug-5-1946-Juvenile-Jury-HL-Mencken_W0QQitemZ190137067703QQihZ009QQcategoryZ28 0QQcmdZViewItem

March 19, 1946 edition of LOOK
http://cgi.ebay.com/LOOK-magazine-March-19-1946-DOROTHY-MCGUIRE_W0QQitemZ260098943883QQihZ016QQcategoryZ28 0QQtcZphotoQQcmdZViewItem

Oct. 1946 edition of PIC
http://cgi.ebay.com/PIC-mag-October-1946-CHARLIE-KELLER-VIVECA-LINDFORS_W0QQitemZ260037991278QQihZ016QQcategoryZ2 80QQtcZphotoQQcmdZViewItem

Gina_M
08-05-2007, 08:44 AM
Collier's magazine - March 22, 1947
COVER SUBJECT: Ballet Dancer
The Ballet Hits High Cotton / John Kord Lagemann / Photos of:
- Dancers
http://cgi.ebay.com/Colliers-magazine-March-22-1947_W0QQitemZ320136001563QQihZ011QQcategoryZ280QQ cmdZViewItem

Collier's magazine - Sept. 27, 1947
COVER SUBJECT: Ballet Dancer
http://cgi.ebay.com/Colliers-magazine-September-27-1947_W0QQitemZ320144048766QQihZ011QQcategoryZ280QQ cmdZViewItem

Collier's magazine - Aug. 9, 1947
The Kids Get a Night Club / L. Richard Guylay / Photos of:
- Dance at the Barney Toby
http://cgi.ebay.com/Colliers-magazine-August-9-1947_W0QQitemZ320144048729QQihZ011QQcategoryZ280QQ cmdZViewItem

Collier's magazine - May 14, 1949
COVER SUBJECT: Broadway to Ballet
http://cgi.ebay.com/Colliers-magazine-May-14-1949_W0QQitemZ320144048781QQihZ011QQcategoryZ280QQ cmdZViewItem

fox1950
08-05-2007, 01:00 PM
The May 14, 1946 Look Magazine does not have a picture of a ballet class from Walt Whitman School. Either Mr. Sodder had the date wrong or the name of the magazine wrong. It does have an article "Children Paint It Their Own Way"-with children's pictures at New York's Museum of Find Art. The picture does have a couple of dark haired girls in it-One girl pictured alone does resemble sightly Betty-(haven't seen but one picture of Betty). The children's ages range from 4-8 and the article does not say what school or who the children are.

Gina, I purchased a copy of the Look Magazine-no picture of the ballet class-see quote about. Anyone have a gold classmates.com account?
Maybe could find someone who went to school in the 1940's who knew something about the picture in Look or knew who this girl is. Probably not Betty, but it would be nice to know who she is/was.

Since Mr. Sodder was probably having this letter written by one of his private detective, it could easily have been a typo or a mistake by the person who wrote the letter. (about the date)

fox1950
08-06-2007, 12:30 AM
Corrected to add: Maybe someone from Walt Whitman Elementary School, New York went to school there in the 1940's and would remember who the girl was in the picture.

drema
10-03-2007, 03:49 PM
Bumping up for the Sodder children. Anything new on the case?

White Rain
11-04-2007, 05:48 AM
bumping.

fox1950
12-06-2007, 02:27 PM
This Christmas it will be 62 years since the Sodder tragedy occurred. Lets keep them in our prayers that someday someone will come forward to let us know what happened that Christmas eve night or some solid evidence will be found that they indeed died in the fire.

christine2448
12-06-2007, 04:44 PM
This Christmas it will be 62 years since the Sodder tragedy occurred. Lets keep them in our prayers that someday someone will come forward to let us know what happened that Christmas eve night or some solid evidence will be found that they indeed died in the fire.

I am going to talk to Shadow this evening and get her to contact the reporter we worked with last year to get their story on the front page.

Maybe we need start a media campaign on this one??? I think this is the perfect time to do so. Sadly, the older the case gets, the less people are going to be around that know anything.

Wonder if we can get an investigative journalist to do a special on this for Christmas?

Thoughts?

Gina_M
12-07-2007, 02:48 AM
Sergeant Danny Swiger, WV Police Cold Case Unit Investigator, was recently on Missing Pieces (http://missingpiecesshow.homestead.com/MissingPiecesEpisode50Archive.html) talking about some other cases in WV. I wonder if he has looked at the Sodder case as well. Has anyone been in contact with him about this?

Teresa Larson
12-10-2007, 03:34 AM
I don't remember has this ever been on AMW? With so many people missing in the United States there should be a missing persons program.

drema
12-10-2007, 01:20 PM
I was wondering if anyone had heard from the Sodder family-with any updates, etc. Seems like with all the attention the case has gotten in the past couple of years someone would have told the Sodder's something to give them more of a clue as to what happened to the children. I just can't believe that everyone is so tight lipped that no hints have ever came forth......makes you wonder if the children really did die in the fire.

Please Jenny, if you have any updates, please let us know.

wv171
12-10-2007, 02:04 PM
I think Trooper Swiger, is over the Northern part of the state and they got a trooper I think base out of Lewisburg WV over the Southern Half of the state I know him but his name I can't remember right now.

There enough case's to keep them busy I say, but they can allway's take on one more I guess. That one from Southern half it's been year's but he a very nice guy what I remember out of him..

I was on Sodder family web site not long ago and it has no new update's

Last I heard was I think back in the spring, I looked few time's but didn't find much

Teresa Larson
12-11-2007, 12:51 AM
I was wondering if anyone had heard from the Sodder family-with any updates, etc. Seems like with all the attention the case has gotten in the past couple of years someone would have told the Sodder's something to give them more of a clue as to what happened to the children. I just can't believe that everyone is so tight lipped that no hints have ever came forth......makes you wonder if the children really did die in the fire.

Please Jenny, if you have any updates, please let us know.

I think the reason nobody came forward was because of the Mafia's involvement back then. I have no doubt that's why lots of people kept quiet. The Mafia and the coal miners didn't get along too well back in those days. Mr Sodder owned his own trucking company He probably refused to pay his dues to the Mafia I do not believe those kids died in the fire because their bones would have been found and they never were. I think they were kidnapped. IMO

ttrachel04
01-18-2008, 07:10 PM
hi, my name is rachel, and im new here! this is my first post! i was reading through and i have some ideas ... i don't know if any of this is helpful, but they're just some stuff that came across my mind and i found on the internet.

1) i googled 90132, and found that it used to be a zip code in Italy. It was the zip code for Palmero until 2005. 90135 is also a zip code ... and it looks like it was for Palmero as well! I thought this may be important because it seemed like their was some speculation about the children being sent to Italy.

2) I saw somewhere that the girl that Mr. Sodder thought was Betty went to Walt Whitman school. I'm not sure if you're referring to a high school, but I did find a link to a Walt Whitman High School alumni website!

Also, I wanted to say to those of you in the Sodder family, I think it is amazing that you're keeping the search alive! I checked out the website and have read your posts especially thoroughly. I think it is very commendable and honorable of you!

forthelost
01-20-2008, 04:46 PM
http://www.forthelost.org/calikids/Sodder.doc

ida55
03-03-2008, 09:26 PM
Hello all Ida
I have been going over some newspaper articles and I have discovered that everyone involved in this case has had some connection in one way or another. The chief and others were part of a lumber comp or in the same clubs or have had other dealings with each other. The Sodder Children I have came up with this theory remember this is my own.

That night the sister was maybe reading and the boys went out too close up the animals have to small kids of my own I could see the younger kids following the brothers out. Someone was already outside someone they new and was woundering why they were at the home at that time of night. The kids were taken and the fire was set by someone who had a way to get ahold of the divice Mrs. Sodder heard clue someone who have known how to use the device. The Sodder kids were being held in a vehicle by another person that was holding the kids while the person was setting the divice to be used. I tkink that in some way family could have been upset because of how good the Sodder's were doing and everyone was upset because the family was making money. The kids I feel in my own opinion were not hurt but used maybe as a pawn to keep the Sodder's in check about the mining industry. We have to remember that this was the time when the Union's were happening. The people who were involved in the investigation were part of the involvment of the kids missing. I in my own oppinion feel that we need to look at all because all were part of the problem. Even the State Prosecution Brother was part of the Moose lodge that all and I mean all were involved even the chief.

gaia227
03-05-2008, 02:08 PM
I've read the threads here and although I have known about the Sodders for many years I never researched it real thoroughly. I just have one thing to add that I didn't really see mentioned in the thread.
Did anyone actually see the five children during the chaos of getting out of the burning house? Mrs. Sodder said when she woke up she noticed the lamp was on and the door unlocked - other than Marion did she see any of her other children? I think it may be possible the children were not even in the house when the fire started and the fire was started to be a rouse, a cover-up, a distraction. If everyone think they are dead then they won't look for them.
There was some speculation regarding family back in Italy. Is it possible they were distressed enough about seeing their grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc growing up in America that they divised a plan to kidnap them and get them back to their own country. That seems very unlikely and far-fetched......but just a thought.
Basically I just wanted to throw the idea that perhaps the kids were already gone when the fire started.
I hate to say it but has the avenue of child slavery and pornography rings been explored?

ida55
03-05-2008, 03:03 PM
It was stated in one of the other comments in the earlier post that when the fire started Sodder was at the bottom of the stairs yelling for the kids. The son's came down but that was it. That has been the idea that the kids were already gone because people that was watching the fire stated that they had seen kids in the back of a car that was at the seen. Many have even stated that the kids were seen after the fire.

christine2448
03-05-2008, 04:52 PM
I don't remember has this ever been on AMW? With so many people missing in the United States there should be a missing persons program.



:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

There could be a WHOLE NETWORK. I have tried over and over to get this going, but lil 'ole me isn't having much luck..have had people say they are interested, promises made, noone ever comes through :( I hear there are a few shows in the works..let's all keep our fingers crossed that they come through!

gaia227
03-05-2008, 07:56 PM
It was stated in one of the other comments in the earlier post that when the fire started Sodder was at the bottom of the stairs yelling for the kids. The son's came down but that was it. That has been the idea that the kids were already gone because people that was watching the fire stated that they had seen kids in the back of a car that was at the seen. Many have even stated that the kids were seen after the fire.

Thanks Ida for clarifying. I know that obviously that had to have been considered but probably due to me skipping around among the posts I couldn't tell if people were operating on the perception the children were already out of the house before the fire started or if amongst the chaos they were snatched away or tricked into thinking their abductors were emergency personnel.
If the sighting of them in the back of the car is actually true that is a pretty brazen thing for an abductor to do, staying at the scene of a crime for any amount of time especially with the children they are planning to abduct!

ida55
03-05-2008, 10:51 PM
I feel that is why so many are interested in this case being a Criminal justice student this case has really amazed me. I have read many different things about this case and have seen many old newspapers about this case that the things that I have read really in some way do not shock me. For instance the State pros. did not want anything to do with this case, that was suprising to me until in one od the old articles I read stated that his own brother was part of the community and had dealings with the people involved in this case. One of the Sodder family stated that the State Pros stated that he had to eat with them ; I think that was what was stated well that was in my own opionion was meaning his own brother and his friends. I feel really bad for the family i have made my own blog for these type of cases because the more I can see the more I am able to help. I want to know what happened not whith just this case but more in my state I feel for those who have lost. Being your own home it is different. My prob is that I have this wierd thing were I can feel and see things that kinda put me into the seen but it is hard to clearly tell if what I see is real. I guess that that may be weird but if I am able to see the truth then I have alot to tell but noone what's for some reason anything to do with this case. That makes me what to help the family even more. We all who are interested to too help get the truth of what happened maybe god will help the truth be known.

Trino
03-05-2008, 11:59 PM
I've been lurking for awhile. The only reason I think the children were not abducted was the oldest was 14. Surely, a 14 yr. old would remember, as would the 12 yr. old.

fox1950
03-06-2008, 10:41 AM
I My prob is that I have this wierd thing were I can feel and see things that kinda put me into the seen but it is hard to clearly tell if what I see is real. I guess that that may be weird but if I am able to see the truth then I have alot to tell but noone what's for some reason anything to do with this case. That makes me what to help the family even more. We all who are interested to too help get the truth of what happened maybe god will help the truth be known.

Ida, great posts!

You say you have this gift in which you can feel and see things but can't tell if they are real-could you share more with us what you think and feel? I would love to hear more about your research on this case too. Thank you.

ida55
03-06-2008, 11:00 AM
I have learned to place myself in the scene I guess all those years of CIS payes of. I can look at a picture or be near a place and it's like being in a dream. In one of the post someone talked about light's were in the front window; What I saw was snow falling you can hear the kids inside playing laughing mom and dad noise like music or maybe from a tv or radio. I can see street lights lokking up and see the snow falling. Then I feel quiet like they were listening or because people went to bed. I can feel the boys going out the back mad and in a hury to do the lock-up of the animals then it's like I feel them palying outside that is were I get the feeling that the other two little one's out with the brothers. Maybe playing in snow or chasing I feel happy. Then I get this strange feeling that something is not right because the happy is gone. I feel like someone is their that they know not really a stranger. Then it's like I feel then scared like the happy is gone. The rest is mixed feelings I feel that maybe the guy that was in the garage was what might be what the kids see. But like I said this is my own feeling. Could be wrong but for some reason I feel they are alive.

fox1950
03-06-2008, 02:18 PM
[quote=ida55;2034912]. I feel like someone is their that they now not really a stranger.

Interesting-I have never felt that the person who abducted them was a stranger, either.

I think there are several possible reasons the children never came home if they were alive. Some possibilities:

The possibility they were told the parents and other siblings were dead-and maybe taken to another country where it would never be a real option to ever come back to America to visit their home.2. Dedication to the people who were involved with kidnapping that they had grown to love and identify with.

3. Protection for their own well being and that of the family they left behind. Better to keep your mouth shout that face the repercussions.

4. Family involvement-not Mr. and Mrs. Sodder but extended family.

And so on. Could you give us your ideas?

ida55
03-06-2008, 06:28 PM
This is my own idea, but I feel that someone could have maybe warned someone in the family about what was going on and the family knew that the Sodders would not let them take the kids out of the home, so they decided to come and take the kids. This to me from what I read had to be done by someone that new about the area not someone who was just randomly just come to take the kids. Cause if you have seen any of the pictures of the area you can see it is wooded. Not close to the road someone had to have been at the home at some point in time. And the fact that their was time to get the kids out of their tells me that this was a plot not just a spare of the time act. The kids were not harmed the father and mother were not harmed so that tells me that someone is tring to give them time to get out of the home the front and back door was used (front door mother, daughter) (back door father, sons) so maybe this was just a scare act not a act to committ harm but scare the family. This is my own thought or idea of what happen.

The possibility they were told the parents and other siblings were dead-and maybe taken to another country where it would never be a real option to ever come back to America to visit their home.

This is the theory that I more turn too because the older child you would think would have tried to get away if he did not know the person or persons that took them.

Teresa Larson
03-07-2008, 02:44 AM
The Sodder children did not burn up in the fire. They had to have been kidnapped. Their bones were not found in the ashes from the fire. If you read through this thread you will find out lots of other information. I have said it before and will say it again that I firmly believe that the Mafia was involved and responsible for this. Years ago coal miners and the Mafia did not get along well. Mr Sodder had a trucking company hauling coal. He may have not paid his dues to the Mafia. I also believe that the Fire Marshal or anyone else in charge was afraid of the Mafia and didn't investigate this like it should have been. Those children could have been sent to Italy or told that their other family members died in the fire so they didn't bother looking for them.