WV - Sodder Family - 5 children, Christmas eve 1945 - #1

Discussion in 'Sodder Family' started by shadowangel, May 4, 2005.

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  1. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    Several years ago, sometime in the mid-70s, I was travelling through central WV with the family and saw a billbaord detailing, as I remember, the disappearance of several children from the same family. The disappearance(s) occured in the early 60s, maybe, or earlier. The billboard was located near the Hawk's Nest (a popular tourist spot) or the town of Ansted. Anyone have any idea the incident I'm referring to? I recently returned to WV with my family and could not locate the billboard.
     
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  3. marylandmissing

    marylandmissing New Member

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    It was a fire in a house and they didn't find the bodies of the kids, if I remember right.
     
  4. Shadow205

    Shadow205 New Member

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    It is so strange that you asked about this. I can remember seeing that billboard too but couldn't remember where I saw it. I was living in WV then, moved to FL in the mid 80's and just returned to WV. I ask my family once if they knew anything about it but they didn't even know what I was talking about. I live less then an hour from Anstead & Hawks Nest now. I think that I will do some sleuthing. Will keep you posted if I find anything.
     
  5. dacqueri

    dacqueri Member

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    I found a link from a Dean at a College in Dayton Ohio that was looking for the same information, so I e-mailed him with the hopes that he would have a clue about this. He said he mailed all the newspaper clippings and files he had to a woman in Fayette County and does not have her address or name anymore. He said he would get back to me later with what he does remember, as he is busy right now. When he e-mails me back I will update you with whatever information he gives me. He was in the same boat as us, just curious, and looking for information. Lets hope he can give us answers that will satisfy our curiousity!
     
  6. Shadow205

    Shadow205 New Member

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    Dacqueri, that is funny. I found the same link that you did with his email adress. We have been emailing back and forth all morning. I'm going to take a ride over there and snoop around a little bit. He provided me with some good directions and I'm going to send him some pictures. I'll keep you posted.
     
  7. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    I'm glad someone else remembers this...I was born and raised in WV, left for the Army in the mid 80's. When I recently returned to visit my follks, I drove the family to Hawks Nest then we drove around, and around, and around....My folks remembered the location as they are lifelong residents of WV, but the area was so different from what they remembered I can't be sure we ever were in the right place. My wife thought we had all gone off the deep end. Even the local newspaper couldn't help. I was just thinking what a huge story this had to have been back then...
     
  8. dacqueri

    dacqueri Member

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    Shadow25, this is great! Ever since I read this on here, I was curious as well. Hopefully this man will have information, coupled with your pictures that will give us a clue as to what happened. He said he had nightmares in his teens after seeing the billboard. He also said it happened in 1948. Someone out there knows the story, maybe the local library would have something on file about this case? Good luck in your endeavors today, let me know what you find!

    Shadowangel, I am surprised the local newspapers cannot help. If it was huge back then someone should have some paperwork somewhere! I am grateful for this man who is helping us, he is all we have right now!
     
  9. Shadow205

    Shadow205 New Member

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    I too remember the billboard from when I was a kid. I could never remember where I saw it just that it was somewhere in WV. I asked my Mom once if she remembered it and she did not. There is a newspaper article in the Charleston Gazette, I think that it was a remember this kind of article. I believe the date was 12/25/95 but you had to pay to read the article. Going to try and find some free stuff beofre doing that. I live about an hour from where this happened and will try to get over there within the next week. If anyone finds any info please post it. Maybe we can drum up enough interest to get the case looked at.
     
  10. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    1948? Wow! I didn't think it was that far back, however I was a bit on the young side when I saw the billboard, and my main "sleuthing" was with Scooby Doo on Saturday morning! (Yes, I saw the originals when they came out!) As for the local papers, all I could do was call and no one really seemed too interested in helping me. Checking the local libraries is a great idea...Shadow205 (great name, by the way!), since you're closest, any chance of checking into it for us?:waitasec:
     
  11. Shadow205

    Shadow205 New Member

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    I didn't realize that it was that long ago either. I was thinking in the '60's. I am planning on going over there and snoopin around but it will be a week or so before I get to. In the meantime maybe we'll come up with something online. By the way I think the families name was Sodder.
     
  12. dacqueri

    dacqueri Member

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    You were dead on with the name Sodder, evidently it was a Christmas Eve fire..in 1945...they had ten kids, but that was all i could gather from the little blurb you get before you pay...and something about the billboard having 6 children's pictures on it...keep on sleuthing!
     
  13. Shadow205

    Shadow205 New Member

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  14. Shadow205

    Shadow205 New Member

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  15. dacqueri

    dacqueri Member

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    Great job, looks like we got the answers we were looking for. But I also believe they were taken, and I also wonder why they never came back. That part of the mystery may never be solved. Great job Shadow205....now maybe I will finally get back to cleaning my office! I took a mental health day off from school today and wanted to clean my office, but spent a majority of my day researching this! I can't thank you enough for finding the answers!:)
     
  16. annemc2

    annemc2 her name is Suzanne Marie Sevakis

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    Wow- most excellent sleuthing, guys!! What a sad and interesting case. It sounds like these people were in a pretty rural area - what would make them the target of a kidnapping like this? Someone would have to know them and their habits very well. Strange.
     
  17. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    Great job!!!! This is such a disturbing and mysterious story....Five people just don't disappear!!! Strange, though, I don't remember the sign looking like that...maybe they did put up a new sign? I (kind of) remember the sign having the painted faces of the children down the left side...However, it was several years ago....
     
  18. Mullins

    Mullins New Member

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    I agree, excellent to see that article! It's so sad for the parents, and I agree with them...it's just a little too odd not to recover the bones from the fire debris. But what would be the motive? :waitasec: Did the parents or older siblings have any enemies? Did any of the children have life insurance policies? I don't recall them saying so if they did.
     
  19. dacqueri

    dacqueri Member

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    The theory about how the fire started sounds plausible, but you guys are right...what would be the motive? Can you imagine if this happened in this day and age? What a CSI episode this story would make! My heart goes out to the parents, and the remaining siblings...i can't imagine their despair, living by tha sign every day as a reminder of their babies...I am sure there were many endless nights sleeping...i don't recall...did they ever rebuild? Move? I can't recall if i read that!


    You did great Shadow405...thanks again for making my afternoon more enjoyable than i thought it would! If anyone finds out any more info, please let us know...i never did pay for those articles in the paper (poor and destitute teacher!) but they were dated recently as 1995...so maybe there may have been conversations with family members in it.
     
  20. Shadow205

    Shadow205 New Member

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    60 years ago.......where could they be?
     
  21. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    Here's some random thoughts I'm going to throw out...The article mentions five children were missing. The two oldest boys made it out, as did the young girl who was with the mother. There were two younger boys, and three young girls...what about the older girl who brought the presents home?
    I'm sorta familiar with the military, and I have never heard of a device like that mentioned here. All grenades have always been made of metal, and the US military never produced a napalm grenade-only large bombs. Napalm was also used in flame throwers. Napalm devices use either white phosphorus or thermite (or thermate) to ignite the napalm, which burn at about 4000 degrees...I don't think a hollow rubber ball is going to survive! (The Us does use an icendiary grenade, which is metal and tubular-it basically ignites and burns in place. I've seen one burn through an auto engine block. I'll speak to a historian at the West Point Museum tomorrow just to be sure, though).
    The father was an immigrant from Italy-I don't think his real name is George Sodder. Pretty common for immigrants to "Americanize" their names back then, I'm told.
    Keep in mind, the coal fields were a battlefield from the turn of the century and still are to some degree today. Battles between the management and the unions resulted in many deaths (Google the Matewan Massacre for an example). If the father was involved in trucking around the mines, he was a definite target. Also, that area was not the most ethnically tolerant (I still know some folks with robes and hoods hanging in the closet). I'm not bashing WV, in my heart its still home, but facts is facts.
    The area is (or was) criss-crossed with rail systems (the tourist stop Hawks Nest overlooks a rail tunnel). If the kidnappers had the trust of the kids, due to the fire, they could have bundled them off to the train and disappeared-selling them into adoption for cheap labor.
    I wonder about that oldest daughter, though...
     
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