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  1. #1
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    Aug 2003
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    A question...

    I have read some of the threads here and the one thing I found interesting is that the elder Sodder's decided to retire from their coal trucking business. At Christmas. With ten children in 1948. In WV. Hinky is *huge*.

    With ten children, I find this very interesting. Especially in 1948. Mr. Sodder was only 50 years old with a large family. I cannot help but wonder if his being an immigrant may have made his life very difficult for him and his family. Perhaps they were targets of racism??? Threats made and followed through? A buck was a hard buck to attain and where he was not "American", what if there were some "American's" that took issue with him taking a dollar from them, if you understand my drift.

    I do not "feel" that the missing children are alive. But, I'm just getting interested on this old case so that means nothing at this point.

    There is much more to this history than a fire and missing children. I honestly believe much has not been shared at that time nor is in any LE records. Just tossing out thoughts random like.
    "I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, "What for?". I said, "I'm going to buy some sugar".

  2. #2
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    Oct 2005
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    Virginia West
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    Welcome! I think this has been discussed somewhere else on the board but I am not sure. I think what was actually said was the Sodders retired for the night (Christmas Eve night) around 10 pm-in other words they went to bed around 10 p.m. Others have confused this with them actually retiring from their business.

    West Virginian's (and perhaps other parts of the country) use this term for going to bed. "I think I will retire for the night". However, when written down in the detective magazines and such, others misunderstood and thought the Sodders were retiring from their business.

    Mr. Sodder continued to work long after the children came up missing.

    The thread is long but very interesting. Glad you're interested.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2005
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    I think I had the same misconception early on, due to the way one of the news reports was written. It said something like, "the Sodders had recently retired..." Someone pointed out for me that the article meant they had retired for the evening, not from working.

  4. #4
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    Thank you both for clearing up the "retiring" blurb. It makes more sense now.

    I still can't help, but wonder if there was some bigotry against this family. Here they are in the 1940's, WV, and times were hard, to say the least. Isn't possible that this family were victims of such? Immigrants working at a very poor paying position and "taking away" from American's. I truly feel there is something more to this. I wish we knew who these people were friends with or simply, anything. There is so very, very little to go on here. I do not think the children who went "missing" are missing. Call me crazy, but I believe they did die in the fire and remains were missed. Or, ignored. No insult meant towards LE at that time, but I do not think they had the experience needed at that time to find remains.

    Just me going with what I got in the gut... I have been known to be wrong before.
    "I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, "What for?". I said, "I'm going to buy some sugar".

  5. #5
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    May 2008
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    FL
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    OrdinaryLife, You may be right about the bigotry, but the Sodders did live in a community with many Italian immigrants, and in fact many of the most prominant residents were Italian. Many of us believe any ill feelings toward the Sodders would have come mostly from the Italian residents who were mad about Mr. Sodder's comments against Mussolini.

    I'm so glad you're looking at this case and bringing a new perspective to the forum. Welcome!

  6. #6
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    More questions.

    Did the family have a party line phone? I know from personal experience blah blah years ago (family had it) they existed and wonder if in that part of town, where the Sodder's, lived, they had one as well.

    I also read that two rooms were on fire and one was the office the Sodder's used for business. Would anyone know what the other room of the house was?

    One last question...Who and where was the Innkeeper/Inn that stated she saw 4 out of the five children?

    Thank you!
    "I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, "What for?". I said, "I'm going to buy some sugar".

  7. #7
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    Ida Crutchfield, manager of the Alderson Hotel in Charleston was the lady who said she saw 4 of the 5 children. About a year later, she stated that one of the boys (Louis) returned to the motel with a man who never let Louis(?) out of his sight.

  8. #8
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    Okay...more! Would the remaining daughter remember if they had a Christmas tree and how it was decorated? What room it was in? Was it close to where the office was on the first floor?

    I still think, IMVHO, that this was a tragic fire that took the lives of 5 innocent children. Given how long for the fire department to be alerted and show up (several hours), I think it is very possible that they literally perished in that fire.

    I think the only way to be sure is if it were possible would be to go back to where the home existed at that time and it was could be forensically (did I spell that right?) dug and dissected. That would be a *huge* deal, I am sure, if not impossible after all these years.
    "I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, "What for?". I said, "I'm going to buy some sugar".

  9. #9
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    Virginia West
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    No, they did not have a Christmas tree that Christmas. They were waiting for Joe, who was stationed in NC to return home from the war--from what I have read.

    I am sure many believe the children died in the fire and the Sodders were unable to accept it. But there was so many mysterious things that happened right before and after the fire (and no bodies were found) to make them believe otherwise. Me, I am still on the fence.

    A grandson talked about having a dig done, however, I don't think that ever happened. I think after all these years, that probably would be the only answer if they found something. They say teeth last for a long time.

    However, Mr. Sodder did just that in the late 40's with no positive answer.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2007
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    Retired is still use at lot today in WV as someone going to bed....

    That's still pretty common in WV..


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv171 View Post
    Retired is still use at lot today in WV as someone going to bed....

    That's still pretty common in WV..
    Funny, I had company over the weekend and I heard one of my visitors say they were going to retire for the night. I had to smile. Also used in Texas - Texas Life: Time to Retire for the night and in the Cleveland trial of Bobby Cutts it said jurors were going to retire for the night. I assumed it was a WV saying but seems it is used in other parts of the country, also.
    Last edited by fox1950; 10-30-2008 at 10:21 PM. Reason: spelling error, add more

  12. #12
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    Nov 2007
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    WV pretty famous for this too.

    Someone can be moved away 50 year's ago You ask them where they from ??? They say WV..

  13. #13
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    Nov 2010
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    Isenbuettel,GERMANY
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    well I´ve a very good friend, he´s italian and he told me he won´t believe that mother going to bed letting 5 kids playing,after 10 p.m. that night?!?
    An italian "mama" is always the last one going to bed after checking on all kids already laying in bed.
    He said, he doesn´t really know what happenned but it sounds like the parents have been telling police things like "the odd phone call", "a car following the kids", "the same 5 kids staying up late that night","the doors were unlocked","the ladder wasn´t there"," the car did not work",the fire ball over the roof,etc.....
    Maybe someone kidnapped the children because of their negligence and they did get scared the social services would take the other kids away and had to cover up the story with a fire,because it is a big "coincidence" the same 5 kids just disappeared without a trace (parents and older bro could not save any of the 5 kids that stand up late that night....hmmm)
    It is kinda Madeleine Mccanns case, you do not really know ,was she abducted, had an accident and died, had an overdosis medicaments and the parents did cover it up ?!?

  14. #14
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    oh and he also said, he comes from Palermo,Italy, and the italian mafia would not kidnapp the children to sell them or give them to other family but to kill them because it is a what they use to do, called "VENDETTA"

  15. #15
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    Dec 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRK SCHILLER View Post
    well I´ve a very good friend, he´s italian and he told me he won´t believe that mother going to bed letting 5 kids playing,after 10 p.m. that night?!?
    An italian "mama" is always the last one going to bed after checking on all kids already laying in bed.
    He said, he doesn´t really know what happenned but it sounds like the parents have been telling police things like "the odd phone call", "a car following the kids", "the same 5 kids staying up late that night","the doors were unlocked","the ladder wasn´t there"," the car did not work",the fire ball over the roof,etc.....
    Maybe someone kidnapped the children because of their negligence and they did get scared the social services would take the other kids away and had to cover up the story with a fire,because it is a big "coincidence" the same 5 kids just disappeared without a trace (parents and older bro could not save any of the 5 kids that stand up late that night....hmmm)
    It is kinda Madeleine Mccanns case, you do not really know ,was she abducted, had an accident and died, had an overdosis medicaments and the parents did cover it up ?!?
    I'm Italian American, and I wondered the exact same thing about the children being left alone downstairs. Also I read that the children's mother woke up later,and said that all the lights were on downstairs, and the door had been left unlocked ? I don't know...fascinating case,though... MOO

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