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

Discussion in 'Sodder Family' started by Cubby, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. dorishall

    dorishall New Member

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    Not everyone will agree, but it’s obvious to me that the fire that ravaged the Sodder home was set deliberately, and that the five missing Sodder children did not die in the blaze. OK, so who is to blame?
    There’s the guy who tried to sell George an insurance policy who didn’t like his views on Mussolini. If that sounds crazy, well, you haven’t known many crazy people. I have. Trust me, anything is possible. And if you don’t believe someone would go to such lengths over politics, then you must not be up-to-date on current events.
     
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  2. martik

    martik New Member

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    A thought about the photo, possibly of Louis, and the accompanying note. I agree that the note probably contains an address in Palermo. I also think that the word "boys" has been misinterpreted; Louis was the fifth boy in the family, and might have been trying to identify himself as "boy 5."
     
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  3. martik

    martik New Member

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    Update, after sleeping on this: The word in question might not
    be "boys" or "boy5." The "y" might be an "x." That is, the writer might be giving a box number, 5, as part of the address...?
     
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  4. Shadow205

    Shadow205 Well-Known Member

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    Glad to see interest still being shown in the Sodder children.
     
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  5. branmuffin

    branmuffin On Time Out

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    Hi, I've been reading all the threads here, it's taken me about a week. So many theories, so many mysteries, with a multitude of questions that will never be answered.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say based on what I've read, on WS and numerous other sites, I believe the evidence supports that everyone one of those children died in their beds the night of the fire.

    I believe John told the truth to the investigators that he tried to rouse the children; I even believe it may have been a little white lie that he lived with for the rest of his life. That he had just returned home from the war, with fresh memories of the hell he may have endured. Waking up in an inferno may have obliterated any altruistic feelings he had toward his younger siblings and only escape was on his mind. John is an enigma; he is the least talked about sibling yet his one statement to the police is the linchpin to the answers.

    I also believe any evidence of human remains was obliterated in the less than stellar investigative techniques applied by the fire department and police force, further hampered by the father's bulldozing the site.

    I believe that the fire could have easily burned up to 1500 degrees F, enough to render a body to ash and bone fragments.

    The unanswered questions for me would be how did the fire start, what accelerants in the general vicinity (coal, oil drums, etc) could have created an inferno so quickly.

    Sifting through the sheer volume of unexplained behaviors, suspicious acts, incompetent officials, and grief stricken parents, I don't see any items that stand out for me to suggest a conspiracy of silence. Grief is a strange thing. It can be cathartic or it can create a fantasy of denial.
     
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  6. Satch

    Satch Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for this good post!

    Did not know that John was in the war. Joe, the oldest brother, was in the Army at that time. I believe that the White Lie, was that John did see his siblings remains, but to spare further emotional pain, he told his parents, the surviving siblings, and later people that he saw nothing. I believe it is possible that the children may have been found by LE (remains.) but they didn't wait to hurt the family any further. I agree with your findings.

    Satch
     
  7. branmuffin

    branmuffin On Time Out

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    Both John, the eldest and Joe had enlisted into the military. John got home a week before Joe. Joe was actually in the States, he just couldn't get home for Christmas. How terribly sad that song must have been for them. Surviving a war to come home to such devastation.
     
  8. ColyH

    ColyH Well-Known Member

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    Just saw this posted on Facebook which links back to an article on medium.com. The article has a photo which is supposedly the Sodder farm house although I am not certain it is. I have posted the photo below for others here to look at and would have a better idea if that's the Sodder farm house. i have also posted a link to the article. The Sodder Family: A Christmas Inferno

    [​IMG]
     
  9. branmuffin

    branmuffin On Time Out

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    That is not the Sodder home. It's the home of a woman called Susan Mummey who was murdered in Pennsylvania in 1934 because a young man thought she put a hex on him.

    It is food for thought though, because it makes me think the style of the Sodder home may have been similar, in that they were both clad in wood with the lower level extending beyond the roof line of the second floor. It also gives me an idea that the Sodder residence' upper story was a classic shotgun style where you had to go through one room to get to the other which jibed with prior information regarding the layout. That the boys' bedroom was at the back of the girls which was at the top of the stairs and the only door was between the two rooms.

    Edited to add: It's hard to take an article seriously when the image they show of the Sodder children are all very pale kids with blond hair. Plus the age difference between the oldest and the youngest isn't representative of the ages of the children. There was twenty years between Sylvia and John.
     
  10. Satch

    Satch Well-Known Member

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    George did in 1969, not 1968:

    George Sodder (1895-1969) - Find A Grave Memorial

    Satch
     
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  11. carolann0308

    carolann0308 Active Member

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    What Really Happens in a House Fire

    I think the fire spread very quickly and although everyone did what they could, the children that could not get out in time died. My brother is renovating a home built in 1928 and has found newspaper and old fabric in the walls that was used for insulation. It's a miracle that so many old structures are actually still standing with the lack of oversight back then.
    Was it Arson? Maybe. But even today in modern structures fire is hard to stop and hard to control especially if you don't have the tools needed or a well trained very close local fire department. Bulldozing the buildings remains within days just makes no sense to me.
     
  12. branmuffin

    branmuffin On Time Out

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  13. ColyH

    ColyH Well-Known Member

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    I am sure all of the Sodder family photos were destroyed in the fire which is ashamed.
     
  14. Satch

    Satch Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bran Muffin,
    I would assume that whatever house is there today, if a house is there now, bares little to no resemblance to the original home that was destroyed in the fire. Sadly, we will probably never see the original Sodder Home, which was burnt to ashes and bulldozed over several days after the fire. I believe that the photos of the land at the Find A Grave site are the location markers of Jennie's garden, which she planted and kept until her death in 1989. (After George bulldozed the remains of the house into a landfill, on which the garden sat.)

    The best reference point would any documents or photos from the West Virginia town City Hall where the Sodder's lived. Still think that an original property floor plan would tell us much information!

    Satch
     
  15. branmuffin

    branmuffin On Time Out

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    ITA. It would be great if we knew the floor plan. Not much chance of that now. I'm sure when that house was built it wasn't a requirement to provide the city hall with plans for approval. It may have already been 40 years old when it burned down making it built near the turn of the century.
     
  16. Satch

    Satch Well-Known Member

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    On what street or road did the Sodder's live at the time of the fire? We should not post any public address for privacy reasons, but if the general location is known, I would like to Google Maps the area to see what it looks like today.

    Satch
     
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  17. ColyH

    ColyH Well-Known Member

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  18. Grammy27

    Grammy27 Member

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    Hello, I'm new here. I've known about this case for several years. Its certainly interesting. I have some thoughts I'd like to share.
    1. If John and George Jr. passed through the bedroom where the children were sleeping, why did they not grab them and carry them out. At least the younger ones. That would be my first thought, not just shaking them.
    2. There are reports of a car or cars with Florida license plates seen in the area. It was Christmas but people at that time didn't take long trips during the holidays. And even though Jennie's brother lived in Florida there was no mention of him being in the area for a visit. It was cold and snowy in West Virginia so I just can't see someone from Florida going there for no reason.
    3. The young man in Houston telling the woman he was Louis Sodder. When George and his son in law went to Texas and met with two young men who denied being the boys, the son in law said the oldest bore a strong resemblance to the family.
    4. The photo mailed to Jennie. You could make up a string of numbers all day and what's the chance of them being the postal code of Palermo?

    I live in Florida and if I can eventually travel to Cortez, where Jennie's brother lived, I would love to do some investigating. I think there's a strong chance these children were not in that fire. Another point- my son and my daughter both live in two story homes. When the kids go up or down the stairs it makes a lot of noise, even one child. Children don't move quietly and the fact that it was Christmas would mean they were very excited. I think at least one person would have woken up and heard them.
     
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  19. Ozoner

    Ozoner Well-Known Member

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    The photo mailed to Jennie was a hoax. The man in the photo did not look even remotely like the Sodder boy. Faces do change with age, but in fairly predictable ways. Everything about that man's face was wrong. There is zero chance the man in the photo was a Sodder.
     
  20. Grammy27

    Grammy27 Member

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    Hello Ozoner,
    I listened to the podcast interview with Jennie Henthorn today. She said that "Frankie" was Louis nickname for Maurice. On the back of the photo it said "I love brother Frankie ". Of course the family knew this. And probably kids and teachers at school. But I am very doubtful that grown ups in the area knew this. If the photo was a hoax, how would the person have this knowledge?
    As for the young man not looking like young Louis, many things can change a person's looks, malnutrition, illness, being in the sun, drug and alcohol use, etc... So I just don't think the photo is a hoax.
     

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