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Thread: WV - Sodder Family - 5 children, Christmas eve 1945 - #4

  1. #26
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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.

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  3. #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.

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  5. #28
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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!!

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  7. #29
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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 is made of music and laughter" turtle

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  9. #30
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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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  11. #31
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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?
    Are you certain on those names? We have another cold case from Indiana which involved victims Terry and Darlene Anderson, but they were a man and wife and it occurred much more recently. Just wanted to clarify.

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  13. #32
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    ...or if the 5 "missing" Sodder kids did see something they weren't supposed to, why would the perps take the time to kill them & then drag the bodies off? One would think that if there was a fire, right there, they would have used it to dispose of the bodies. I would also think that if (especially the older Sodder children) would have seen a prowler or the like, they would have made some sort of alert. Even if they were just yelling something like "Who goes there?" I would think it would have been enough to wake someone in the house...

    I know it's not a popular theory but I truly believe that the kids perished in the fire & that the men who were tasked with finding the remains just weren't that great at it. I totally understand the want of the Sodder parents to believe that their kids were still alive...

    I would also think that if the missing Sodders were alive, at least 1 of them would have been heard from. The older kids would have remembered who they were & what happened.

    Occam's Razor and all...

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  15. #33
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    tonite....christmas eve......I wonīt forget

    Jennie, donīt let the story die please!

    I do hope those children are still alive!

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  17. #34
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    Thinking of the Sodder children this holiday season and wishing for answers soon!!

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  19. #35
    clueless is offline "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin
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    from Central City, KY

    I've spent hours reading about this story, and I've only made it about half way through. I had to search just to find this most recent thread. This story has really gripped my attention. Its fascinating and scary at the same time.

    My father was the youngest of 9 children and while there isn't a strong resemblance, George and Jennie remind me of my grandparents. They also lived in a rural coal mining area.

    That area is Central City, KY. I consider Central City my home, but really our family farm is in a small town about 8 miles from Central City. Most people consider the whole county their home town, which includes Greenville, Graham, Dunmor, Belton, Beechmont, Browder, Cleaton and several other small towns. Central City High School no longer exists, but the area has been converted into a community wellness center and I believe the old gym is now a museum. I haven't been there, but I may go have a look around soon. My parents go to the wellness center often. The high schools consolidated into Muhlenberg North and Muhlenberg South in 1992 when I was in the 7th grade.

    While the photo allegedly of Louis in 1968 was postmarked from Central City, the person in the picture could have lived anywhere in the county. I don't personally recognize the person in the photo, but I plan to show the photo to some family members to see if they recognize him. My father was born about 6 years after the fire, but its possible one of my aunts or uncles may recognize the person. I can also ask them what the area was like back in the late 40s.

    If anyone has questions you would like me to ask around, I'll be glad to help in any way I can. I also don't mind getting verified, if necessary at some point.
    Clue


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  21. #36
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    Clueless, nice to have someone from Central City on here. I have not been around WS's much in the past couple of years(I do check in on certain threads) but I never give up hope that some clue will surface. Maybe you will be the one to find it. Please show the picture to as many people as a you can. Maybe you could make some fliers and hang them in some businesses. Maybe just maybe someone will know something about Louis.
    Retired 08/03/03

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  23. #37
    clueless is offline "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin
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    Well, I've shown the picture to everyone I've had time to and unfortunately I don't know anyone the right age. No one so far has recognized the man in the picture. I plan to make up flyers and post them around when I get time. I only get to go back home a few times a year, so I'm not sure when that will be.
    Clue


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    “The key to change… is to let go of fear.” – Rosanne Cash

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  25. #38
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    This is not a difficult case and certainly not one full of intrigue.

    I've read quite a bit about it in the past few days and can state that the house burned down. How? I don't know and apparently no one made any effort to find out back in 1945.

    The five children who died were incinerated. If you have not seen human remains after a fire then you need to visualize a chicken or other animal that was left on the grill way too long. That sounds disrespectful but that is how it is.

    An incompetent fire chief who could not even drive a fire engine made a cursory inspection on Christmas morning and then went back to his Christmas dinner. No wonder that he didn't find anything. The husband used a bulldozer and covered the site four days after the fire! Any competent fire investigator would have never allowed that especially after five people were presumed to have died.

    How in the world can any sane person speculate that five children miraculously escaped the fire only to be kidnapped while five other people escaped the fire? That is just ridiculous.

    I believe that the husband and wife spent their remaining years covering up for what they believed was their own failure to save their children by making up stories and other such nonsense.

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  27. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon500 View Post
    This is not a difficult case and certainly not one full of intrigue.

    I've read quite a bit about it in the past few days and can state that the house burned down. How? I don't know and apparently no one made any effort to find out back in 1945.

    The five children who died were incinerated. If you have not seen human remains after a fire then you need to visualize a chicken or other animal that was left on the grill way too long. That sounds disrespectful but that is how it is.

    An incompetent fire chief who could not even drive a fire engine made a cursory inspection on Christmas morning and then went back to his Christmas dinner. No wonder that he didn't find anything. The husband used a bulldozer and covered the site four days after the fire! Any competent fire investigator would have never allowed that especially after five people were presumed to have died.

    How in the world can any sane person speculate that five children miraculously escaped the fire only to be kidnapped while five other people escaped the fire? That is just ridiculous.

    I believe that the husband and wife spent their remaining years covering up for what they believed was their own failure to save their children by making up stories and other such nonsense.
    I agree with you completely. I think that if this fire had been investigated completely, we wouldn't be talking about this case today. Either there were no remains due to the heat of the fire, or there were remains that went unnoticed or unrecognized.

    I don't know why the parents continued looking for the children, unless they truly didn't believe they had perished in the fire.

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  29. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon500 View Post
    This is not a difficult case and certainly not one full of intrigue.

    I've read quite a bit about it in the past few days and can state that the house burned down. How? I don't know and apparently no one made any effort to find out back in 1945.

    The five children who died were incinerated. If you have not seen human remains after a fire then you need to visualize a chicken or other animal that was left on the grill way too long. That sounds disrespectful but that is how it is.

    An incompetent fire chief who could not even drive a fire engine made a cursory inspection on Christmas morning and then went back to his Christmas dinner. No wonder that he didn't find anything. The husband used a bulldozer and covered the site four days after the fire! Any competent fire investigator would have never allowed that especially after five people were presumed to have died.

    How in the world can any sane person speculate that five children miraculously escaped the fire only to be kidnapped while five other people escaped the fire? That is just ridiculous.

    I believe that the husband and wife spent their remaining years covering up for what they believed was their own failure to save their children by making up stories and other such nonsense.
    I can agree with this post - to a point. What did/do the children who survived the fire say about their siblings? Did they try to resuce them? Were they too far away? What did the survivors say?

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  31. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trident View Post
    I can agree with this post - to a point. What did/do the children who survived the fire say about their siblings? Did they try to resuce them? Were they too far away? What did the survivors say?
    I can also agree to a point, why the 5 children who were up late are dead and not the the others or some of them?
    Isnīt odd?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRK SCHILLER View Post
    I can also agree to a point, why the 5 children who were up late are dead and not the the others or some of them?
    Isnīt odd?

    Because that is what happens in a fire. Some people escape. Sometimes others don't. It isn't odd at all.

    Apparently there was no investigation by whatever fire investigators that West Virginia might have had in 1945. There is no mention of any police involvement.

  33. #43
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    [QUOTE=Falcon500;8300553]Because that is what happens in a fire. Some people escape. Sometimes others don't. It isn't odd at all.

    Apparently there was no investigation by whatever fire investigators that West Virginia might have had in 1945. There is no mention of any police involvement.[/QUOTE

    have you read about the children staying up late than the parents and other kids? and donīt you find it odd?
    I do, because they may scape to that fire or there were no home before family was up

  34. #44
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    [quote=DIRK SCHILLER;8340980]
    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon500 View Post
    Because that is what happens in a fire. Some people escape. Sometimes others don't. It isn't odd at all.

    Apparently there was no investigation by whatever fire investigators that West Virginia might have had in 1945. There is no mention of any police involvement.[/QUOTE

    have you read about the children staying up late than the parents and other kids? and donīt you find it odd?
    I do, because they may scape to that fire or there were no home before family was up


    If you are asking if some of the children stayed up later than their parents and other kids then no, I do not find that odd. In a family of twelve does everyone go to bed at exactly the same minute? Of course not.

    The rest of your post is gibberish. Rephrase it.

  35. #45
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    [quote=Falcon500;8341909]
    Quote Originally Posted by DIRK SCHILLER View Post



    If you are asking if some of the children stayed up later than their parents and other kids then no, I do not find that odd. In a family of twelve does everyone go to bed at exactly the same minute? Of course not.

    The rest of your post is gibberish. Rephrase it.
    no, Iīm asking you to read all about the Sodders and specially about the 5 children that died that night

    http://unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com/wiki/Sodder_Family

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  37. #46
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    I've read that and many other sites that address this case. This "Unsolved Mysteries Wiki" is full of holes and I will address them.

    1. Cause of fire traced to defective wiring - who determined that? everything that I have read says that the fire department did not respond until eight hours after the fire and the fire department consisted of a fire chief who didn't even know how to drive the fire truck. no fire marshal or police detective ever responded to investigate so I believe that this is bunk.

    2. 1968 someone mailed a photo to the family - obviously a nut who wanted to cause trouble.

    3. Hiring of a detective - a detective who was a thief and took off with all of the money without doing any investigating. The detective probably sent the photo with a plan to steal their money.

    4. Billboard - my opinion is that the parents did everything to convince others that their children were kidnapped to cover up their own failure to save their lives in the fire.

    5. Suspects not known but "suggests" that they were kidnapped. - "suggests by who? where can you produce any credible source that "suggests" that these children were kidnapped by anyone let alone a "child selling agency" think about it. if a "child selling agency" was involved why would they set fire to a house in hopes that someone would escape and then kidnap them without being seen? just a pile of b.s.

    6. Insurance guy - i have never heard this one but I would put it in the urban legend file.

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  39. #47
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    Hi everyone! I joined this site so that I could comment on this case. I've been reading all through the posts here, as well as online, and I believe I'm up to date on everything.

    This is frustrating, because it seems like this could either be put to rest or moved forward with a simple, modern excavation. Didn't Jonathan Bandy get approved? Is the family still working on this? Does anyone know why they're so opposed to allowing media to be made? I don't know that a "made for TV" movie would help, but I would think that Discovery Channel, or some outlet might want to do a special and investigate. It sounds like Florida or Italy would be worth looking into if no remains were found on the site.

    Also, I've seen throughout the threads where a few people have posted and basically said "I grew up local, and one time my grandfather told me more about this." and then disappeared...what?! Did anyone ever press these people?

    It just really seems like this could be solvable if the few right people spoke up and allowed help.

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  41. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by amocksun View Post
    Hi everyone! I joined this site so that I could comment on this case. I've been reading all through the posts here, as well as online, and I believe I'm up to date on everything.

    This is frustrating, because it seems like this could either be put to rest or moved forward with a simple, modern excavation. Didn't Jonathan Bandy get approved? Is the family still working on this? Does anyone know why they're so opposed to allowing media to be made? I don't know that a "made for TV" movie would help, but I would think that Discovery Channel, or some outlet might want to do a special and investigate. It sounds like Florida or Italy would be worth looking into if no remains were found on the site.

    Also, I've seen throughout the threads where a few people have posted and basically said "I grew up local, and one time my grandfather told me more about this." and then disappeared...what?! Did anyone ever press these people?

    It just really seems like this could be solvable if the few right people spoke up and allowed help.

    1. what family? the parents are long dead and the siblings (if they are alive) most likely could care less. if they are still around they KNOW the truth and want to live their lives in peace and not want outsiders to poke into the lives of their family, especially their parents.

    2. excavation - who is going to do that? do you think that the county is going to pay for an excavation of a long ago fatal house fire that no one really cares about besides Internet sleuths? you are talking about a crime scene search of a piece of land that might already been built on by a county that is probably not qualified to do such a thing.

    3. made for TV movie - oh c'mon. Why would any company want to make a movie about a case that has been made into an urban legend?

    4. local people - they probably did not "press" anyone because they knew the truth. country people may not have a lot of education but they are street smart. If I had to bet they know the answer and (see my previous posts) and don't want outsiders messing with their business.

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  43. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by amocksun View Post
    Hi everyone! I joined this site so that I could comment on this case. I've been reading all through the posts here, as well as online, and I believe I'm up to date on everything.

    This is frustrating, because it seems like this could either be put to rest or moved forward with a simple, modern excavation. Didn't Jonathan Bandy get approved? Is the family still working on this? Does anyone know why they're so opposed to allowing media to be made? I don't know that a "made for TV" movie would help, but I would think that Discovery Channel, or some outlet might want to do a special and investigate. It sounds like Florida or Italy would be worth looking into if no remains were found on the site.

    Also, I've seen throughout the threads where a few people have posted and basically said "I grew up local, and one time my grandfather told me more about this." and then disappeared...what?! Did anyone ever press these people?

    It just really seems like this could be solvable if the few right people spoke up and allowed help.
    I believe it is difficult but not impossible!
    Send a message to JENNIE, she is a member of the family, she said something like she or her mother did promise to both grandparents to do something to know what happened to their family
    Heidi S. mom of abducted Dirk Schiller

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  45. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon500 View Post
    1. what family? the parents are long dead and the siblings (if they are alive) most likely could care less. if they are still around they KNOW the truth and want to live their lives in peace and not want outsiders to poke into the lives of their family, especially their parents.

    Two grandchildren - Jonathan Bandy and Jennie (screename "Granddaughter") were active here several years ago and swore to always have interest in the case. Jennie's mother is one of the original Sodder kids present the night of the fire, and she often relayed information from these discussions with her.


    2. excavation - who is going to do that? do you think that the county is going to pay for an excavation of a long ago fatal house fire that no one really cares about besides Internet sleuths? you are talking about a crime scene search of a piece of land that might already been built on by a county that is probably not qualified to do such a thing.

    A grandson of the Sodder's stated here that he got approval from the current landowners to excavate, and that he intended to go through with that.


    3. made for TV movie - oh c'mon. Why would any company want to make a movie about a case that has been made into an urban legend?

    I've read here repeatedly that the remaining family has refused offers for such attention. For the record, I suggested that a "made for TV" movie was unlikely to be as productive as an investigative piece, which I do believe would be interesting to the public and therefore viable.

    4. local people - they probably did not "press" anyone because they knew the truth. country people may not have a lot of education but they are street smart. If I had to bet they know the answer and (see my previous posts) and don't want outsiders messing with their business.
    Then they would they surface here, simply to simultaneously act clueless and insinuate that they'd been privy to more information?

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