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  1. #31
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    47

    New Photos

    I had promised to post photos of Mom and Mary Ann (Marion) when they were close to the age Louis would have been in the photo that my grandmother received. They are posted on the photo page.

    I know you'd like to see the boys (Joe, John, and Ted), but Mom doesn't have any photos of them from that age. The ones we have are much older. We do have a couple of photos of Joe from the military, but you can't see his facial features, just the long, lean shape.

    Which brings up the height issue also. FYI - in case you have success and are looking for similarities - my grandmother was very short (maybe 4'10"), and my mom is about 4'11." Marion was about 5'4." Joe was nearly 6' tall. My grandfather, John, and Ted fall somewhere in the middle. There was a wide variance in body size and shape.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Virginia West
    Posts
    280
    Quote Originally Posted by birdie74 View Post
    Hi everyone. This is my 1st post, so I'm sorry it's so long. I just have a lot of questions I've been wanting to ask, mainly about the Cipriani side of the family, and I was hoping maybe Granddaughter could ask her mother about it.

    I don't want to sound like I'm accusing anyone, especially part of their family, but since Mr. Sodder went all the way to FL to try to get answers and didn't get them, I think it's worth exploring. If they were involved, it may have been to protect them as others have suggested.

    Why was the man who threatened them before the fire upset that Mr. Sodder wouldn't settle his father-in-law's estate? Had there been a falling out between Mrs. Sodder and her family, maybe after her father's death? Were they contesting the will? Why did this man care? Was he an attorney for any of the Ciprianis or connected to them in any other way? Did the Ciprianis have pull with the other leaders of the community? Do you think they had mob ties?

    Why were the 2 oldest sons listed twice in the 1930 census, shown living with both the Sodders and Ciprianis? Did they live with their grandparents a while, or did they spend of lot of time staying there?

    Could "I love brother Frankie" be referring to to Frank Cipriani, or maybe his son, Frank Jr.? Could one of Jennie's other siblings sent it, and maybe written that as an explanation for not doing anything to stop it or to let her know where their loyalty still lies? Or maybe one of the Cipriani or Sodder kids wrote it about Frank Jr. just playing around.

    I would think Mr. Sodder's trip to FL would have strained the relationship with Frank's branch of the family, but I hoped Sylvia could share what the relationship was like overall with the Ciprianis as she grew up. Were they close to her grandmother? What about her aunts and uncles?

    I think if they were involved it could explain why the kids never came back, especially if they were convinced the mob killed the rest of their family, and that relatives saved them and changed their identities to protect them.

    Am I completely off-track?
    I think you made some very good points.

    "I Love Brother Frankie" -Could it mean I love your brother Frankie (Mrs. Sodder's brother). He is the one who was involved in saving us.

    90132-35 - This is where I am living in Italy. But I am safe.

    "ilil boys"- Maybe a hint that this is really me (Louis). Something that perhaps Mrs. Sodder called him as a little boy.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    254
    I hadn't thought of the possibility of Louis or one of the other kids sending the picture, but that would make sense.

    It had been a few months since I first heard of this case and read all the posts and articles, so I couldn't remember all of the details. I had forgotten Janutolo's name, so I reread that part today. No matter which Janutolo it was, neither one was a lawyer; both were businessmen. It seems like he would almost have to be connected to the Ciprianis in some way or have some vested interest in the estate. Could he have wanted to buy property from Joseph Cipriani's estate but couldn't since it hadn't been settled? I know wills and land records are made public, but I wonder what other details of the estate settlement can be read in public documents.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    337
    But why would George and Jennie continue to so publicly and actively look for their children if they thought it was a revenge(mob, family, or whatever) kidnapping? They would know that this is the reason and they wouldn't have been so public about their search for fear of reprisal against them and the children. I think if this was the case they would have never put up two billboards, searched the property for bones, went to New York to find the little girl in the picture, etc. I honestly don't think they ever knew what happened to their children because if it was a mob hit or a family hit they would have went along with believing at least publicly that they died in the fire. If it was a mob hit because George wouldn't pay money to them then George would have known that. He would have been told so that he would start paying money to keep any more bad things from happening to the family. Does this make sense?

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    10,387
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhett View Post
    But why would George and Jennie continue to so publicly and actively look for their children if they thought it was a revenge(mob, family, or whatever) kidnapping? They would know that this is the reason and they wouldn't have been so public about their search for fear of reprisal against them and the children. I think if this was the case they would have never put up two billboards, searched the property for bones, went to New York to find the little girl in the picture, etc. I honestly don't think they ever knew what happened to their children because if it was a mob hit or a family hit they would have went along with believing at least publicly that they died in the fire. If it was a mob hit because George wouldn't pay money to them then George would have known that. He would have been told so that he would start paying money to keep any more bad things from happening to the family. Does this make sense?

    I think your post makes allota sense, FWIW.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    254
    Rhett, I see what you mean and you made some good points. I don't think the Sodders knew for sure who did it and just tried to follow every lead they got, but they did go public about a lot of their suspicions. The media articles didn't name Mr. Janutolo by name, but it was known of the man who made the threats. Mr. Sodder's trip to Florida was also made public.

    Who knows? Like people keep saying, nothing seems to make complete sense. I know there are holes in all the theories I read and come up with myself. It just seems that a lot of people were involved, and it seems to me that Janutolo would probably be one of the main ones behind it after his threat that was so specific.

    I just have a feeling that some extended family may have been involved too, but there's no real evidence against them. Maybe they were planning to be part of arson only, and like others suggested, maybe the phone call was supposed to wake them up so they would pay but not die in the fire. Then when the kids were outside, they may have seen too much. Maybe the only options to keep them from talking would be to kill them or take them out of the country.

    Again, there are holes. It doesn't seem like they would have believed their captors and stayed gone all these years if that were the case. I'm still baffled!

  7. #37
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    Oct 2005
    Location
    Virginia West
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    280
    Quote Originally Posted by birdie74 View Post
    Again, there are holes. It doesn't seem like they would have believed their captors and stayed gone all these years if that were the case. I'm still baffled!
    You and me, both. I can see the youngest falling into another life and not having too many solid memories of being with their family, but the older ones baffle me also.

    I wonder if there is any way possible the Sodder children forum could be cleaned up-it has turned into a porn site-and the porn being blocked so it doesn't come back after it is deleted. I would love for the site to stay up-without the porn.

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    west virginia
    Posts
    9
    First time post. I have been reading for awhile and am a bit confused. How is Ciprianis and Janutolo related to the case? Are they related to the sodders?

  9. #39
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    Oct 2005
    Location
    Virginia West
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    The Ciprianis were Mrs. Sodder's parents. Janotolo was a former business associate of Mr. Sodder and a prominent businessman in the Fayetteville area.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    FL
    Posts
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    There were 2 Janutolo cousins who were both prominant businessmen in the area at the time, and it's unclear which of the two it was, but one of them had apparently gotten mad at Mr. Sodder a few months before the fire because Sodder wouldn't buy insurance from him or settle his father-in-law's estate. Jennie's dad, Joseph Cipriani, had died the year before the fire. When Janutolo left, he said that Mr. Sodder would pay for all the bad things he had been saying about Mussolini and his house would burn and his children would pay. This isn't an exact quote. I'm going by memory, but most of the articles about the case mention this incident, just not Janutolo's name.

    Jennie had a brother named Frank Cipriani who had moved down to Cortez, Fl sometime in the 30's or early 40's. Mr. Sodder used to travel to follow up any clues he got, and at one point he went down to where Frank was living because he heard that some of the kids were living down there. He tried to get help from the authorities to search for them there, but no one would help him and he wasn't able to find out anything. It's interesting that someone claimed to see the kids not long after the fire with people with a Fl license plate.


  11. #41
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    189
    After doing some over the phone interviews and some new searching I have a few questions for granddaughter. One old woman I talked to was in her early twenties living in Fayetteville, WV the night these children, Died/Went Missing. She told me that this mystery really got to her because she had to pass the billboard when it was put up on her way home. Her belief was that anyone would have given the kids back, even the mob, for that much money back than. She said she would hear other people talking about how they believed the kids were dead. But the bodies wouldn't be totally gone either. Than she asked me a question I could not answer, did the Sodder family have a well? I thought about that but it didn't dawn on me, at what she was getting at. Why in the heck would the kids try to play with a well, near a well, etc? She said, "Because you know, if they went to the well to get some water to try and put out the fire, and it was nighttime and dark out, couldn't they have fallen INTO the well? Did anyone check that?". I didn't know what to say. This had NEVER occurred to me. The second thing she said sent chills up my spine, she said, "And if they DIDN'T have a well, and the kids tried to walk down to a stream or something to get water if one had fallen in and was being swept away, were they the kind of children to let it happen, or would they have tried to jump in after the one who got swept away?" Both of these ideas have stuck with me. Granddaughter, you are the only one who might know the answer to this. Did they have a well, and if so was it searched? And if not, did they have a fast moving stream nearby? Was there an emergency fire plan? Back than most people didn't have them, but if the plan was say for the oldest children and the father to go down to the water to fetch some to put out the fire, but the children believed the father and older children were locked in the house, and couldn't get out, surely they would have tried to do it to save them, right? Just some thoughts. I also was called back by that orphanage, and no luck as of yet on the photo they are searching for. But they are still searching. Children's aid society is STILL looking as well. I also found a few TIME magazines and have looked through them but no luck yet on the photo. I am not quitting. Sorry for the delays.

  12. #42
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    Apr 2008
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    189
    I have another question. Someone else I spoke with told me that she was only eight when the kids went missing. She said she and other children were terrified of what might have happened, while most of the adults agreed with the fire department that the children had been killed in the fire and their bodies destroyed. Anyway, she said when she was ten she heard some grown-ups talking about "sparing parents" from seeing "that". She said it was so odd she remembers it to this day. She told me it was while she was cleaning the kitchen. She said during the same conversation she had heard them mention in quiet tones the Sodder kids. Still wondering if it was an unofficial thing to hide the bodies from the parents if the bodies were severely mutilated, were like watching a horror movie. Could Fayetteville firemen have taken it upon themselves to hide these bodies? I mean the thing is it sounds as though they were hiding something, thus the bringing out some bones, (much less tramatic to see), bringing out the liver, etc. If they had just buried the bodies after hiding them someplace, we'd never know where the real burial places were, but I would guess that they would be buried not too far from the Sodder's home. Just a thought. Perhaps they thought it was a kindness, but it turned out to be just a cruelty. Sometimes people try to be kind and end up being quite cruel without meaning to.

  13. #43
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    Apr 2008
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    189
    It is entirely possible I guess for those children to have been stolen by family from Florida. But WHY? That's what I want to know. Could it be possible that Frank was called by someone from Fayetteville and told the kids were in danger? And would Frank have taken this into his own hands to save the children? Without telling his brother? Another weird thing to this is why in the world would he have set fire to the home if he cared that much? Wouldn't he be frightened that George and Jennie and the older children might have perished in the fire? The only other possibility I could think of is the following scenario:::

    George is frightened when he is told his children would pay and his home would burn

    So instead of waiting for it to happen he does it himself.

    And by this I mean he has his wife and children sitting outside, he has his wife's brother waiting for the kids he tries to send the baby but his wife cannot part with the baby so they make up the excuse that the baby was in the bedroom with Jennie and George

    He sets the house ablaze

    He runs his ladder far away so he can try and say that it wasn't there to get to the kids

    They pour sugar in their own gastanks so the cars won't start and says I couldn't get up to my kids rooms

    But if this is the truth why did he search for the kids? To get the mob off of his tail? It just doesn't make sense. Most of this doesn't make sense. And I don't think George would send his kids away and than spend (Literally) the rest of his life searching for them

  14. #44
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    47
    I'm printing again for Mom. I think I know most of the questions, but before I misspeak, I'll run it all past her.

  15. #45
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    Apr 2008
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    189
    Okay just had a thought. Here is another scenario which makes a little more sense than the first one I had.

    Jennie's brother has an informant call him and tell him to get to Fayetteville right away, and that the mob is going to hit the house, set it ablaze on Christmas eve, and if this was done, is it possible that he called the house to wake Jennie up, anonymously of course, and maybe even potentially threw something onto the roof to wake them up? If that happened, and say, the smaller kids were playing outside when the brother showed up maybe he told them to come with him. And of course, if they knew or were close to their uncle they would go. Could it be possible that he took them away because he wanted to protect them or was afraid that if the children ever told their parents or someone in Fayetteville it would get back that he was the one who helped to save the children from the mob? That he saved George and Jennie and the kids? By making the phone call, and throwing something on the roof? And one other things, they had a partial tin roof, right? In my letter from the fire dept, he said he has seen fires that started from Lighting hitting the roof. Would a tin roof be like a calling card for lightning to hit it? I'm wondering, would tin attract lightning? And if it did, would it sound like a big bang like what Mrs. Sodder reportedly heard on the roof? Another question about that, if she heard a big boom that sounded like it came from the roof, could that have just been some lightning and thunder? Okay cause if lightning struck the roof, could it be plausible that she heard thunder boom in the sky really loud? That could prove there was a lightning storm outside. You don't need rain to have an all out lightning storm, right? So if there was no stealing of children, etc, it could have just been a freak lightning strike that hit the roof which started the fire.

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