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  1. #16
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    Oct 2008
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    Ok I did some research. Something interesting for you all to ponder, the Klan was started Christmas Eve in the 1800's. They have killed people in the past on their anniversary of when they began.

  2. #17
    I am from this area, I was born and raised here in a coal camp outside of Fayetteville. My grandfathers, great grandfathers and uncles all worked the mines here and this tragedy has always been a topic of discussion. Yes there was mafia here but not in the form some think, it was not your typical NY, NJ or Chicago mob. It was more so men who liked to push others into use of there businesses or the you scratch my back and I will scratch yours type of deal. They were not the type to have people killed off or hurt. The story I have always heard passed down was that Mr. Sodder was very vocal about his dislike of the Old Country leadership (in which I agree with his views) but others who were hear and still holding onto those Old County traditions did not like his viewpoints. My family too was immagrants and came to America for the freedom that was here and the chance to raise their families out of these traditions still encountered those who thought the same rules were to apply here just because you were of Italian, Polish or whatever other descent. I was always told that Mr J was upset that Mr Sodder would not scratch his back and take out the insurance so in retailiation he sent word through Mr Sodders family back home that he was rebelling againest Italian authority. Mr Sodder whose name was changed in coming here (our familys was also just one letter change in the name but none the less it was changed) had family who worked for Mussolini and Mr J knew this and he also knew there would be retailation for the rebellion. That is why he made the threat. I have also heard that Mrs Sodders family had heard talk through connections that the retaliation would take place that night and the fire was set with intentions of killing the entire family. They (whoever was told from the Old Country) looked at it as it was better to get rid of all of them then to raise another generation that would rebel againest Italian traditions. I was told it was Mrs Sodders family who took the kids to get them to safety and they were then split up going to different cities so that they could never be found. I am not sure who much of this is truth but it was just what was passed down through the family. I have always wondered why the children have never came back but then I have always thought that maybe they knew the seriousness of the threats that were made during that time and was still afraid of consquences to others if they ever did come forward. From the things I have read and heard the Italian government or whatever was not to be played with or mocked during that time. There are still things with this case that makes no sense to me, just like finding out the mans name who was stealing that night from the Sodders, there was a man by the same name when I was a little girl who burnt up in a trailor fire along with his brother and his children. I can not say it was the same man or maybe his son but I am going to do some checking because that to me is a little strange also.

  3. #18
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    That is an interesting idea FayettevilleWVgirl. But I have some problems with that theory. If it is true, that Mr. Or Mrs. Sodder's family members took the children to keep them safe, wouldn't Mr. Sodder and Mrs. Sodder been told? So why the billboard? At the very least, I would think that the family would have told them to "TAKE IT DOWN NOW" or you will put your children in grave danger. And even that small tidbit of information should have been enough for the Sodder family to retract the reward and pull down that billboard right away, because living children you never got to see would be better than dead children. The only thing that would seem to fit this theory is the photo of Louis, the one where he looks much older, if the family was behind the disappearance, and knew Mrs. Sodder was soooo broken hearted, they may have gotten a photo of whichever child they could, and sent it to her, kind of a, "Look they are all right", sort of a thing.

    But the rest of it, doesn't make much sense. Why would the family of George and Jennie Sodder allow them to almost be killed? Wouldn't the family have done something to warn them? Could the warning possibly have been that phone call that night? The one with people laughing in the background? Was that meant to wake Mrs. Sodder up? But why would there BE LAUGHING on such a call? You would think someone would call, and maybe say something like, "Jennie get up and make an excuse and get the kids all on the first floor." or something of that nature. Not laughing, asking for someone who didn't live there, etc. Was than, the bang on the roof, the clue? They threw something to awaken them? Ok. But than what about the bus driver who saw flaming balls being thrown at the house? Surely a warning would never come in the form of flaming balls being tossed on the roof.

    And if you are saying that the family knew about it all along, and understood what was going to happen that night, why the lies? If Jennie was so determined to find the children, and George too, why would they lie about what happened that night, knowing their kids were safe, and afterwards, knowingly put the kids in danger by searching for them?

    Too many questions with this case.

  4. #19
    the way I have always understood it was her family never told them they took the kids because they did not agree with the way Mr Sodder was voicing his opinions about the Old Country but yet they knew the kids would be in grave danger because of what was being said. I do believe the call was a warning call for all to wake up but I think in the end they saved who they thought they could out of the children. Grandpa has always said that the Sodders would not have known because of it would then put Mrs Sodders family ( can not remember what he said their name was) in danger also. I do truely believe Mr and Mrs Sodder had no idea what was going to happen or they would have never let it happen, but her family did know the seriousness of the retaliation that was coming. You got to look back at how the times was then, you did not openly put down Mussalini in front of his followers and by Mr J contacting Mr Sodders family member back in Italy that worked for Mussalini there was going to be something done about his bad mouthing him. You just did not openly defy those people back in the day. I believe that is why her family then stepped in. If I knew someone was coming to kill my siblings family over voicing their opinions I would do whatever I could to protect all or some that I had a chance to. Even if it meant always holding this dark secret to protect the ones that did get out and would remain safe. I hope this makes sense but like I said this is just what was passed down to me and the theory that went through the coal camp I lived in

  5. #20
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    Oct 2008
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    491
    I just found a photo. Remember the photo Mr. Sodder saw, the one from New York, that he believed was his daughter Betty? We have looked and looked for this photo, someone even contacted the library of congress on it and they couldn't find anything. Well what if the photo was a younger version of a girl who later ended up in London, they called her Patricia Whittle, and I can't find anything on her past. This may mean nothing at all. But there is a strong, I think, resemblance between Betty and Patricia. Of course, the photo I found is from when Patricia was much older, and the photo says it is from 1962. If Betty was born in 1950, which should be about right, depending on month of birth, so in 1955 she was 5 and in 1962, she would be what, 12? Around there? 12 or 13 or maybe 11... Depending on the month she was born in.

    Now, I am in no way stating this is betty. I still believe and always have that the photo that Mr. Sodder saw was more likely to be a look alike, not a real Betty. Everyone has a double, imo. My husband was going to college when he met a man who stared and stared at him and showed him a photo of his best friend from back home and they were nearly identical. When I moved to where I live now, tons of people were coming up to me and calling me "Rebeccah". I had to tell them I wasn't Rebeccah. I finally met her a few months ago, and we could be twins. I am in no way faulting George Sodder, he wanted to hold onto the hope that his children were alive. And if it was my children, I would do the same exact thing.

    Anyway, if he had seen a photo, of this girl only younger and years earlier, and the photo was taken here in the states, it would seem very plausible that it was his little girl, and of course, he would track it down in an attempt to find out for sure if it was, and if it was her, to take her home. To her rightful home and family.

    Does this child look like Betty? Or have I been searching for this photo for such a long time that I am beginning to see resemblances out of sheer exhaustion and a need to close this case?

    Patricia Whittle, portrait of this young dancer, Royal Ballet, London, 1962 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Take a look. And than look at Betty, and please be honest. If I am on the wrong track, it is def. time to take a little break for a week or so, and than go back to the drawing board.
    Last edited by KateB; 04-04-2015 at 01:08 AM. Reason: repair url tag.

  6. #21

    photo


    Boy, I'll have to say I see a huge resemblance. Honestly, a lot of times when I look at comparisons on this website that people swear by I don't usually agree. But this one to me looks like an older, slimmer-faced Betty. I mean it really, really does. However, JMO.

  7. #22
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    What really gets me about this photo, is the girl looks very similar to both Betty AND Martha Lee. But she looks just different enough from Martha Lee to not be her, and the ages would not match. But Betty looks similar to Martha lee in her photo, and if Betty grew up to look similar to her sister, this fits both children so much. Jennie looked imo much different from her sisters Martha and Betty. But Betty looks like a younger smaller version of Martha.

  8. #23
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    Oct 2008
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    Aw crap just made a huge mistake. Apologies all around. Suddenly I was thinking 1945 and writing 1955, no way this girl could be the child. In 1945 she was 5. Which means she was born 1940. No way. Because in 1962 the child would be 22 yrs old. So sorry for wasting your time. UGH. Time to take a week off and rethink this whole thing.

  9. #24
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    Oct 2008
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    Ok have we considered this avenue? In Oklahoma, on Christmas eve of 1945, two girls were killed. Terry and Darlene Anderson, said to have been 11 and 13. The girls were described only as murdered. Their youngest sister did not die, Betty Dolly Anderson. Hmmm... Strange coincidence, don't you think?

  10. #25
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    Oct 2009
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    Central Virginia
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    Whew. I just finished reading through all of these threads, as well as anything else that I could find online regarding the case. I think that there is no way these children died in the fire that night. I think that lack of remains is the strongest indicator of this. Statistically, I also think it is strange that the 5 children that were allowed to stay awake and play would just happen to be the same 5 that "perish" in the fire. I think the children were already gone before the fire started. They may have already been gone before the fire started, and possibly even before the wrong number phone call was made. I am not sure what happened to them all after they were taken, but I feel like the were definitely out of the house before the fire even started.

    And, I wanted to bump the thread to the top and see if there is any new information.

    Also, I didn't see any mention anywhere of why the website dedicated to this mystery was taken down (http://www.sodderchildren.com)


  11. #26
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    Feb 2010
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    Washington State
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura_Bean View Post
    Paul. That is a good theory. The fact that it happened on Christmas eve could have meant something to them. If the children saw them, the klansmen, say, when they went outside to begin their chores, they could have been grabbed before getting anything done. Does anyone know if there were any signs of a struggle that night, outside of the house? A bucket laying on it's side on the ground, a child's shoe, anything that would suggest they had gone outside to do the outdoor chores and were stopped before getting to them?
    Christmas Eve is very important to Italians too. Arguably more important than Christmas Day. Usually there is a big feast (fish typically.) I wonder if the family was celebrating that night.

  12. #27
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    It struck me that the ONLY people missing from the fire scene are the ones who were possibly still awake when the fire started. The parents, youngest daughter, and two oldest boys had gone to bed. The daughter who was still up to watch the other kids stated she fell asleep while they were still playing.

    So why is it only the 5 children still awake who vanished? What I'm thinking is it's because they saw or heard something outside, maybe witnessed arsonists setting fire to the house, and they were grabbed and taken from the scene, killed and hidden. The arsonists probably assumed those still asleep would die in the house fire, therefore killing the entire family. Obviously you don't set a house on fire, after bedtime, without intending harm to people sleeping inside. This would not be a warning but murder or attempted murder if you did that.

    I can't figure why family members of the Sodder's would have kidnapped the children, because that would put the family members at the scene of the fire to have taken them while the house was burning. So unless family members are the ones who set the fire (which I'm not at all suggesting), why would they even be there? And if they were, wouldn't they have tried to save all the children and the whole family?

    The story that the locals believe, that the 5 missing children were murdered and their bodies dumped somewhere, makes the most sense to me. The question would be who had it in for the Sodders and why.

  13. #28
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    Apr 2010
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    Suburb of Cleveland, Ohio
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    I have spent hours reading through the threads and find this story fascinating, along with being terribly sad too. I have one question which has been niggling in my brain all night-does anyone know if the chores the kids were supposed to do ever finished? And also, do those chores normally get done in the middle of the night?? I just think it is strange that they were supposed to go outside in the late of night to do chores, especially as it was December and I am assuming it would have been pretty cold, possibly snowing and dark. Thanks to anyone who may be able to answer this!!

  14. #29
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    Apr 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura_Bean View Post
    Ok have we considered this avenue? In Oklahoma, on Christmas eve of 1945, two girls were killed. Terry and Darlene Anderson, said to have been 11 and 13. The girls were described only as murdered. Their youngest sister did not die, Betty Dolly Anderson. Hmmm... Strange coincidence, don't you think?
    Hi Laura_Bean, do you have a link for the sisters in oklahoma that you are talking about or can you tell me what search term to use to find this? thank you very much
    "Love one another. As I have loved you, love one another." Jesus

  15. #30
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    Sep 2009
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    I'm not sure I'm in the right place for this, but. . .wouldn't some of these children been old enough to know who they were?

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