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View Full Version : IN IN - Catherine Winters, 9, Newcastle, 20 March 1913


Mischa
05-19-2008, 04:32 PM
Searching for Connie Smith, I found this story about little girl missing since 1913 and never found.

http://kidnappingmurderandmayhem.blogspot.com/2008/04/strange-case-of-catherine-winters.html

Quote"Nine-year-old Catherine Winters was last seen around noon on March 20, 1913. A family friend named Dan Monroe spoke to her as she walked along the town square toward her Newcastle, Indiana home. On that day, the schools had closed due to an outbreak of measles and Catherine had spent the morning playing with her pal Helen Stretch. As she skipped toward home, she wore a “red sweater coat,” a white straw hat, and a black and white checked gingham dress. She had brown eyes and light brown hair."

Marilynilpa
05-22-2008, 06:56 PM
What an interesting story. There are so many different angles to this little girl's disappearance - did her family kill her, was she kidnapped by gypsies, did a pedophile take her. It sounds like her father spent a lot of time and money trying to find his daughter, so it seems unlikely (but not impossible) that he killed her. Blaming gypsies for her disappearance strikes me as being extremely far-fetched. But it's always easier to blame an outsider than it is to accept that someone in your community is a kidnapper or murderer.

Pedophilia and child molestation were taboo topics in the early 1900s, but obviously such horrible things took place then as now. To me, this seems the likeliest explanation for Catherine's disappearance.

ttrachel04
05-22-2008, 07:07 PM
wow.

the creepiest part to me was the father's last words

Trino
05-22-2008, 07:36 PM
wow. the creepiest part to me was the father's last words

I think all the father was saying was that he would be reunited with Catherine in Death/Heaven.

Mr. E
05-22-2008, 08:41 PM
It seems kind of likely that she drowned. It says in the article that it was the first night of "the great floods of 1913." Was that ever even a suggestion?

mere
05-22-2008, 09:46 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for posting it.

ttrachel04
05-23-2008, 12:30 AM
I think all the father was saying was that he would be reunited with Catherine in Death/Heaven.

i know it gave me the chills tho

Marilynilpa
05-24-2008, 04:03 PM
It seems kind of likely that she drowned. It says in the article that it was the first night of "the great floods of 1913." Was that ever even a suggestion?

I haven't read a whole lot about this, but from the little I have read the focus seemed to be on abduction. You make a very good point, though, and possibly the most likely theory. It would certainly explain why Catherine's body was never found.

If I run across anything about this, I'll post it here.

justche
05-24-2008, 04:30 PM
Searching for Connie Smith, I found this story about little girl missing since 1913 and never found.

http://kidnappingmurderandmayhem.blogspot.com/2008/04/strange-case-of-catherine-winters.html

Quote"Nine-year-old Catherine Winters was last seen around noon on March 20, 1913. A family friend named Dan Monroe spoke to her as she walked along the town square toward her Newcastle, Indiana home. On that day, the schools had closed due to an outbreak of measles and Catherine had spent the morning playing with her pal Helen Stretch. As she skipped toward home, she wore a “red sweater coat,” a white straw hat, and a black and white checked gingham dress. She had brown eyes and light brown hair."

3 months younger than my grandma. My grandma died about 13 years ago...if someone else took her and raised her as their own, it's possible she never knew anything was amiss.

In certain areas gypsies certainly were an issue at that time....we heard (probably embellished) stories of gypsies when we were young.

Trino
05-24-2008, 06:10 PM
It seems kind of likely that she drowned. It says in the article that it was the first night of "the great floods of 1913." Was that ever even a suggestion?

The last sighting of Catherine was as she walked along the town square. There is no river that runs through New Castle, so I don't see how she could have accidentally drown.

I just wonder if the quote was to emphasize the time frame.

Marilynilpa
05-26-2008, 08:43 PM
The last sighting of Catherine was as she walked along the town square. There is no river that runs through New Castle, so I don't see how she could have accidentally drown.

I just wonder if the quote was to emphasize the time frame.

New Castle, Indiana, is located on the Big Blue River.

Bluecat
05-29-2008, 07:43 AM
I think this may be a case of fuzzy memory...my research shows that flooding occurred on March 23, 1913 at the earliest and more reliably on March 25. If she did disappear on March 20, that gives a minimum of 3 days before flooding occurred. Not to say that it wasn't raining...the accounts that I read show 5+ inches of rain falling on March 25, with flooding in Ohio that day (including levee and reservoir failure), and flooding in Indiana reported on March 26. I think that you would naturally associate the two, especially after years, but either the date she went missing is wrong or the flooding is days later and coincidental (but may well have washed her body away).

Trino
06-04-2008, 09:02 PM
New Castle, Indiana, is located on the Big Blue River.

If I read the story correctly, it stated she was last seen walking along the downtown square. The Big Blue is sw of the town.

iconoclast
09-04-2008, 04:42 AM
Newcastle isn't all that far from Chicagoland, where the murder of Elsie Paroubek (http://websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=70254) happened a couple of years previously. The girls are similar in age and appearance, and it is well known that child murderers have very specific physical preferences.

Auramyst
11-14-2010, 03:09 AM
Bumping for Catherine

Kat
11-24-2011, 07:09 PM
http://www.hcgs.net/catherinewinters.html

There is a video located on that page to of a newscast from 1990 that covers it as well.

Catherine Winters Movie - YouTube

A (silent) movie from 1913 about the disappearance of Catherine Winters of New Castle Indiana. Movie was commissioned by her Dad.

http://books.google.com/books?id=mB4gWnUweB8C&pg=PA69&lpg=PA69&dq=catherine+winters+new+castle+indiana&source=bl&ots=VyxKTJIEEN&sig=VSx84mxGrsDbOCHeaoVfLylHG4s&hl=en&ei=59rOTuyNFaLpsQKJmZi3Dg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CGcQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=catherine%20winters%20new%20castle%20indiana&f=false

Book with mention of Catherine. You will have to scroll up or down, starts on page 68. I found the pages to be a bit off.

The boarders name if I am reading right from an old article was William Ross Cooper. Anyone have any info on him? I wonder if he can be completely ruled out?

BritsKate
11-24-2011, 07:49 PM
Knowing what we know about criminology now my best guess is either a sexual deviant or parental involvement - specifically that of the stepmother. It really rubs me the wrong way that she complained of her husband, this child's father, spending so much time and resources attempting to locate his daughter.

It also troubles me that the parents gave conflicting stories of the only possible evidence found buried behind a brick in the basement. In an account upthread the step-mother sounded (granted it is type and nearly 100 years later) nearly flippant. According to the link Kat included the hired PI (who I am certain had his own agenda $$$) claimed a witness placed Catherine at home at noon. Where was Byrd? Where was Catherine's little brother - was he ever questioned about the last time he'd seen his sister? Sadly he has passed away now as well. Byrd never revealed what she believed happened to Catherine before she died. I'd also venture a guess Byrd was controlling in some aspects since she threw Cooper out for getting the good doctor drunk. Honestly - I think if he were involved Byrd would have kicked him out long before she did (it was over a year after Catherine went missing).

No little girl should be hidden away for a century. Given the father's innovative resourcefulness in attempt to locate Catherine I don't believe he was involved - but I do tend to have the simplistic view the home always needs to be looked at first. Fascinating case but I really hope she is someday located and can be properly lain to rest. JMO

Bluejay_Young
04-21-2012, 12:01 AM
Sexual predators usually have some kind of a pattern. This was definitely known about in those days, there were some very famous cases in Victorian times. Police would have looked for those type of leads.

There are details of this story strikingly similar to Elsie Paroubek's. Elsie was on her way to her aunt's place; Catherine was on her way home. Both girls were seen by other children on their way (in Elsie's case, they were her cousins). The story Dr. Winters tells is almost exactly what Frank Paroubek went through two years earlier, with the cars tearing up the road to the gypsy camp and one wagon having already left, leaving them guessing that that's the one she was in. Elsie's story was very widely publicized in the Midwest and Dr. Winters would have known about it. I can see why people suspected him or the stepmother.

The girls themselves weren't much alike. Catherine was much older and a brunette. Elsie was five and blonde (see my avatar). Elsie came from a fairly large working class family who were Czech immigrants; Catherine's dad was a professional and the family had money. Her dad was able to keep her story before the public for a lot longer. Catherine even had a song written about her, which Elsie never did. Elsie's story received plenty of attention in the regional and national press but after her funeral it quieted down. About the only thing the girls had in common was a red outfit.

Bluejay_Young
06-04-2012, 05:13 PM
Children are stolen by people other than sexual predators / murderers. I always forget about black market adoptions too, but they were common at that time. Georgia Tann didn't start her illegal adoption industry until a few years after Catherine disappeared, but Georgia was not the first person to have one. Healthy, well-cared-for children, even older ones, could be stolen right out of their front yards or off the street and put up for adoption.

I am sure there are still black market adoption rings going on.

Also, I did a little digging and found out something interesting. Catherine was not on her way home from playing with a friend. She was going door to door selling needles as part of a church fundraiser. That opens up many more possibilities as to what might have happened.

Richard
01-26-2013, 11:01 PM
This March will mark the 100 year anniversary of this case.

marycarney
01-26-2013, 11:20 PM
A previous poster thought that New Castle was not too far from Chicagoland. In 1913, there was no interstate highway - in fact, there were very few miles of paved road period. New Castle IS on the National Road (now US 40 - which parallels I70), but the only major north-south road that might pass through Chicago was either the Dixie Highway (does not cross in to Indiana) or US41. I highly doubt that this angle is really viable, given the times.

as the King of Siam remarked, " 'Tis a puzzlement".

Pink Panther
01-28-2013, 10:59 PM
The father re-married within a year of the first wife's death. Hoinky! No records to be found of the first wife's death...the only plausible record being in December of 1910 when he was already "married" to the step-mother. Has anyone else been delving into this?

New Castle - 1900, 3,406 people lived in the town. Not so many people...

At the end of his silent film, the father asks anyone with information to contact a local police man who (just happens to be) a direct relative of his second wife, Catherine's step-mother. Hoinky. Twice.

Pink Panther
01-28-2013, 11:06 PM
In May of 1910, Byrd was listed as single and living with her Mother. In September, she married William. When did first wife Emily Etta (DeEtta) die?

Pink Panther
01-29-2013, 03:13 PM
I've managed to find some interesting information. Emily DeEtta Whisler Winters (born April 27, 1881) married William Asa Winters on January 11, 1903. Emily was originally from Wisconsin and she moved to New Castle when she got married. Catherine was born on February 10, 1904. Her brother Frank was born on June 22, 1906. In November/December of 1908, Emily went to Salida Colorado due to poor health. She stayed there for several months and was transferred to a Sanitarium in Colorado Springs a few days before she died on April 17, 1909. Her death was unexpected as she seemed to have been recovering. The cause of death was believed to have been pneumonia.

William and Birdie O Ritter were actually married on May 7, 1910. (I made a mistake in my previous post about this as the certificate was registered under May-September.) The 1910 census for Birdie (taken May 2nd of that year) shows her listed as single and living with her parents. A few short days later she was married and living with William.

You can see a picture of William (and Byrd) here:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=101967365

pianokiller
02-16-2013, 12:28 PM
The father re-married within a year of the first wife's death. Hoinky! No records to be found of the first wife's death...the only plausible record being in December of 1910 when he was already "married" to the step-mother. Has anyone else been delving into this?

New Castle - 1900, 3,406 people lived in the town. Not so many people...

At the end of his silent film, the father asks anyone with information to contact a local police man who (just happens to be) a direct relative of his second wife, Catherine's step-mother. Hoinky. Twice.

Remarrying quickly in that time was common; my grandmother's mother passed away and her father remarried a year later.

Husbands needed someone to watch the children, cook, do housework, etc.

Robin Hood
02-17-2013, 06:04 AM
This is the best motive for murder- INSURANCE !

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F10C14FD355F13718DDDAB0894DE405B848DF1D3

Edited to add many more articles in archive news.

katydid23
02-17-2013, 07:51 AM
This is the best motive for murder- INSURANCE !

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F10C14FD355F13718DDDAB0894DE405B848DF1D3

Edited to add many more articles in archive news.

But those charges were eventually dropped because there was no evidence that any of that was true, according to articles already posted.


http://kidnappingmurderandmayhem.blogspot.com/2008/04/strange-case-of-catherine-winters.html

A few months after his arrest, charges against Winters, his wife, and his boarder were dropped for lack of evidence. PI Abel, seeing his fee evaporating, used the newspaper pulpit to slam the local district attorney, then fled to Chicago when Dr. Winters threatened to sue him for defamation and false arrest.

Robin Hood
02-17-2013, 09:22 AM
Yes Katy but not many people insure their children, that and the clothes in the cellar and conflicting reports is a little 'hinky'.

pianokiller
02-20-2013, 02:13 PM
I thought the family was fairly well off already, so why kidnap/murder for insurance? Then spend years campaigning to find her?

It doesn't add up IMHO.

STANDREID
02-20-2013, 09:48 PM
The first person who comes to my mind is Albert Fish who was known to travel, including to the Midwest, but I think he can pretty much be eliminated because he seemed proud confess his crimes. Of course, some killers don't always confess all their crimes because something may have happened that even he was ashamed of as with J.R.H. Christie who would confess to all his murders except that of little Geraldine Evans.

Claudette
02-24-2013, 12:12 AM
This article claims she was kidnapped from her home.

Also there was a little girl in Arkansas that was thought to be her, so much so that the dad went all the way out there.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=3LIyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8lMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3170,3658002&dq=catherine+winters+newcastle&hl=en

Picture of a mysterious unknown girl in Arkansas that was thought to be Catherine Winters.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-LYaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=LkkEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6371,5733209&dq=catherine+winters+newcastle&hl=en

Detective wanted to file first degree murder charges against step-mom and W. R. Cooper (who is that?) and it sounds like there was evidence.

Sounds like it was a frustrating case in the town with poitics being blamed.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=PtRZAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Y0oNAAAAIBAJ&pg=5279,3934907&dq=catherine+winters+newcastle&hl=en


Article May 30 1913, Dr. Winter and wife Byrd as well as boarder W. R. Cooper (answeres the question above) arrested in connection with disappearance of Catherine.

Arrests made after clothing worn when she went missing found sealed in a wall in the cellar. The sweater had holes in it like it was burned and looked like undershirt had blood.

Cooper left day after her disappearance and was gone for 10 days.

Catherine inherited property from her mom.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=93pfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=yy8MAAAAIBAJ&pg=2188,5132885&dq=catherine+winters+newcastle&hl=en

Dr's father and stepmom were also arrested

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F00C1FFD345D13738DDDA80B94DD405B848DF1D3

Whaaaaaaaaat?

Two years later Detective claims she's alive and in a convent???
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=VR5QAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VAoEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7253,1380297&dq=catherine+winters+newcastle&hl=en

I'm assuming this was not true because decades later are articles about her still missing.

Bluejay_Young
05-16-2013, 08:49 AM
Not Fish's M.O., not his style, nothing about this suggests Fish at all.

Boy, would I love to see a DNA reading on that clothing.