"THE STRANGE MURDER AT TROPICO" Missing Chinaman's Body Found, Los Angeles Herald 5 Jun 1898

ebrighton Member Photo

Clipped by ebrighton

"THE STRANGE MURDER AT TROPICO" Missing Chinaman's Body Found, Los Angeles Herald 5 Jun 1898 - THE STRANGE MURDER AT TROPICO THE MISSING...
THE STRANGE MURDER AT TROPICO THE MISSING CHINAMAN'S BODY IS FOUND JOE HUNTER'S NOISE WAS THE SCENE OF THE BRUTAL TRANSACTION BURIED UNDER THE KITCHEN The Owner of the House Placed Behind the Bars—A Strong Case Being Made Out Against Clark There Is no longer any doubt regarding the disappearance of Wong Sing Hay, the Chinese laundryman, for whom the offlc#ts offlc#ts have been searching since last Tuesday. Tuesday. His murdered body was found hidden under Joe Hunter's house off the San Fer-' nando road near Tropico yesterday afternoon, afternoon, where evidently, it had been concealed concealed by the murderer. The bojy had lain there for some time, probably since the night following the murder, and was ln a badly decomposed condition. Wong had been shot twice with a shotgun, once in the left collar bone and again In the lett •Ide of the face beneath the cheek bone. Three persons have been found who heard the reports of a shotgun from the Hunter place while Wong was there. Harry F. Clark, the young man who was caught after escaping from the sheriff'l deputies hist Wednesday, la strongly suspected suspected of the killing and as a. result of the discovery of the body Joe Hunter Hunter was also taken into custody, The reasons for the mutder can only be conjectured. At first the officers officers thought that it was for the purpose of robbery, but on searching the clothes ot the Chinese about SU in silver was discovered. discovered. Clark Suspected The disappearance of Wong Sing Hay had aroused widespread interest, and the Officers have been hard at work on the case. It was on Tuesday afternoon that the Chinese drove up to the Hunter house to leave a basket of clean clothes and take away some others. Joe Hunter and Har.-y Clark had been "batching" in the house, which consists of five rooms. So far as can be learned at present, nobody was at home but Clark. The Chinaman evidently went inside the house, but no one has yet been located who saw him enter the place. Several of the neighbors noticed Wong's horse and wagon first in the drive-way south of the house and later at the side of the cottage. George Hunter, a cousin of Joe Hunter, resides about 200 yards east of the latter's place, and he says that it must have been shortly before 6 oclock that he noticed the Chinaman's horse ar.d rig by his cousin's house. He thought nothing of the occurrence at that time, und went to perform some chores about tho house, but when he saw the rig still there half an hour or so later he thought it strange that Wong Sing should be loitering loitering so. Damaging Evidence Directly in front of Joe Hunter's house ar.d about 125 yards distant is a small hut ln which live the family of J. W. Penland. Penland. Mrs. Penland states that she saw the rig of the laundryman standing on a little rise some distance from the Hunter house. This was about 5:30 oclock ln the afternoon, and afterwards she saw tnat the rig had moved up to the side of a gum tree near the house. Au>elian Le Page, a sheepherder, a boy about 14 years of age, saw Wong Sing drive up to the Hunter place some time In Ihe afternoon and also noticed his wagon standing there. This Is the last trace of the murdered man that could be secured. About 9 oclock Tuesday night, Charles Hunter was driving along the road about v mile and a half west from north from Joe Hunter's place and noticed Wong Sing's rig standing by the roadside with nobody near. He thought this unusual, btit drove along, supposing that Wong might have been delayed by some cause. When he returned returned about two hours later and again saw the rig, his suspicions were aroused, and he immediately thought that something something had happened, and drove the rig up to old man Hunter's place. Under Sheriff Clement and Deputy Sheriff Sheriff Aguirre went to Joe Hunter's house and • uestloned Harry Clark, as it was understood understood that he was the only person at the house when the Chinese called. Clark stated that the Chinaman had called and *at down on the bench ln the kitchen and displayed some money while in the house, but that he had then driven away. The officers wire not satisfied with his answers and finally decided to take him along with them while they drove over to the laundry of Wong, which was located ln Garvanza. While the officers left the boy wunotrt a guard he leaped into the front seat and escaped with the team. He was captured, however, at La Crescenta Cunyada Friday and locked up In the county Jail. The Search for the Body It was Wednesday morning when the officers first began to look for Wong Sing Hay, and though they scoured all the surrounding surrounding country no trace of the missing man could be found for a very good reason. His body lay under the house, within a few feet of all who went there in search of clues, but for some reason nobody seemed to think that It was necessary to examine closely underneath the floor. Nearly ail the balance of the house was closely examined examined and some of the officers did venture venture under the house a short distance but failed to continue on that lead. When the searching parties first went to the Hunter house, Wong Fung, who Is a smart Mongolian, Mongolian, saw a dark spot on the kitchen lloor at the end of the bench and near the door leading into a bedroom to the east of the first room. There was a big stain around the dark spot, as If some one had scrubbed It with oil. When nske'fl to explain explain the presence of the spot Clark said that it had been made by somebody filling a lamp and spilling the oil on the floor. On the inside of the next room, close to the first spot a similar ono was found, which (.'lark explained In the same way. It was thought, however, that both of these marks were bloodstains, and subse- ciuent investigations proved this to be correct. The search continued with great vigor for miles around the house, but the right spot was neglected almost entirely. The only way to get under the house was through a little door on the north side near the front porch. The front part of the house is about two and a half feet above the ground, while in the rear part of the place the floor Is but a foot and a half above the ground, as the land ris-cs slightly Martin Agulrre crawled under the house through the little door and found it very dark Indeed. Near the doorway doorway he picked up small chunks of dirt which had evidently been held together by some sort of liquid. "That's blood, sure," he said to Samuel Hunter, who was standing at the outside of the door receiving receiving the pieces as they were passed to him. This was on Wednesday or Thursday, Thursday, but the search was not continued. On Friday Sheriff Burr, who had just returned returned from San Francisco, determined to examine more fully underneath the house. The sheriff is not so wiry as Martin, Martin, however, and.is of larger dimensions; so he did not crawl any farther under the house than did the deputy. The sheriff announced the evening after the search under the house that he was satisfied the man was not under there. Found at Last It was decided, however, to take another chance under the house, though, yesterday. yesterday. A posse composed of Deputy Constable Constable Jas. Johnson, Deputy Sheriff Frank Davis, J. V. Brighton, W. Barnhlll, Fleming Fleming and Sheldon and the Indefatigable Wong Fung drove to Joe Hunter's place in the afternoon. Johnson was the first to open the door, and there, on the sill just inside, he noticed a small drop stain. "Say. fellows, come over here and take a look; this looks like blood," he called, and Immediately Davis, who was close to him, stooped down and after taking a good look saw that the stain was from blood. This encouraged the party, and Johnson and Davis crawled on their stomachs under under the house and started to make a thorough thorough search of the place from side to side and end to end. Johnson went over on the east side of the building while Davis kept on the other side, which was near the small entrance. The men had nothing but matches to aid them In their search, and the work was very laborious. After Davis Davis had advanced about ten feet from the door back toward the kitchen he saw a trail along the dirt which caused him to make an exclamation of surprise. This trail was exactly What a body dragged along the ground would have caused, und Davis then felt sure that what was at the end of this trail would prove whether Wong Sing Huy had been murdered or not. By this time the difference in the height of the floor began to assert Itself as Davis found himself encompassed ln considerably less space than when he stnrted. A few more feet and a disagreeable odor reached his nostrils. "Boys, he's here; I smell him," cried Davis Davis to the crowd outside, but then his match went out. When he struck another the LOS ANGELES HERALD: SUNDAY MORNING, JUNE 5, 1898 first object his eyes fell on was a parcel of egg shells. > _ "No, I don't," he exclaimed once more. "It's nothing but some bad eggs." But the further on Davis crawled the worse became the odor, and finally, when he got behind the chimney, which is Just west of the center line ot the house, he saw a man's form lying on the ground. "I've found him. He's up here by the chimney," called out Davis, and when the crowd understood that the body was really under the house they hurried to the door and tried to get a look, but wlUiout success, as it was fully thirty feet from the door to where the Chinaman lay, and had they been able to penetrate the darkness darkness the chimney would have screened the body. The body was found lying on Its back, with the right arm outstretched and the head pointing toward the northeast. It was clad In theregular working clothes of the Chinese and over the head were a couple of sheets, while about the neck was a smaller cloth. In order to get the body out It was necessary to have more light under the floor, and so a hole was knocked In the side of the wall which enclosed the space. With much difficulty the body was dragged out, and then a horrible sight presented presented itself when the cloths had been removed. removed. Fearfully Mutilated The skull had been broken In many places and the flesh was black, while there was a large hole on the left side of the face under the cheek bone made by a shotgun. The dead man had also been shot In thf left clavicle near the neck, a big round hole nearly the size of a quarter of a dollar dollar being visible. The blood from this wound had saturated the white blouse of ;the murdered man. Decomposition had set In, and the head and upper portion of the body were ln a terrible state. Wong Fung recognized the remains as those of the missing Wong Sing Hay. At first it was thought that the breaking of the skull had been done with nn ax or some blunt instrument, hut subsequent examination showed that both of the wounds had been made with a shotgun, and the charge which went into the head had simply rent the bone Into four or five parts, as in each case the weapon had been held close against the unfortunate Chinaman, the powder marks being plainly discerned ln his blouse and his left cheek. Sheriff Burr and Coroner Campbell were notified by telephone, and the former and his deputies hurried to the Hunter place, while Deputy Coroner Summerfield was early on the scene and had the remains removed to the undertaking rooms of Dexter Dexter Samson In this city. With the discovery of the body the officers officers had something tangible to work upon, and another investigation of the house was made. The sheets which had bejn utilized to cover up the Chinaman's head were found to have been taken from the bed in the room off the kitchen, but a still more incriminating circumstance was discovered discovered in the same room. The officers looked about to try to learn if possible tbe exact spot of the murder, and they generally agreed that Wong Sing had been sitting on the little bench near the loor leading to the bedroom when he was killed. It is probable that the wound in the clavicle clavicle was made lirst. as it ranged downward and Inward, as was found at the postmortem postmortem on the body last night, while the face wound ranged inward and upward. The character of the wounds Indicate that the victim must have been seated when the clavicle was aimed at, as the angle is exactly the same that charge would take if the gun was held at the shoulder of the murderer standing directly in front of the Chinese, ln order to make sure of the deed the gun was then placed against the face of the Chinese, as he probably lay on the floor and the second charge lired. Those dark stains in the kitchen by the bench and in the adjoining room are thought to mark where the Chinese fell and to have been caused by the blood from the two wounds. Having killed the Chinese, Chinese, the murderer naturally thought what was the safest means of getting rid of the body without being discovered. To Avoid Detection The Hunter house stands on an elevation elevation In plain view from the roads and neighboring houses, and as the murder was committed In the afternoon the murderer probably decided not to run the risk of being seen carrying the body under the house but would wait until nightfall. Into the ndjolning bedroom from where the sheets were afterwards removed the body was dragged and laid ln the northeast corner corner of the room, and then the bed was shoved across the corner, effectively hiding hiding the body from the gaze of visitors. How long the body was allowed to remain under the bed is not known, but it probably was nearly an hour and a half. When the murderer went to remove the body he discovered discovered that the blood had flowed onto tho matting and saturated eiulte a big space. After removing the body the murderer took the pains to return to this room and carefully cut out all the blood-stained matting, about two and a half feet in length and a foot and a half wide, and then scrub the floor. When the officers examined that room yesterday they found the hole ln the matting and the evidences that the floor had been recently scrubbed. The balance of that section of matting was carefully removed and will be chemically chemically analyzed. Not One Han's Work At lirst the officers thought it possible that only one person was concerned ln the killing, but with the discovery of the dead body fully thirty feet under the house, where it could only have been taken by arduous labor, they began to suspect that more than one person was mixed up In the work. All the circumstances of the murder point very strongly toward young Clark's guilt, but the main reason the officers thought that a second person mlgnt have had a hand In the case was because of Clark's small stature. He Is only about five feet two inches tall, and it was reasoned reasoned that so small a man could hardly have been able to drag the body of Wong Sing, who weighed about 135 pounds, underneath underneath the house when the werk.aU had to be done ln a crawling position. Who that second man may bo the officers have not yet decided. The evidence thus far secured makes the case look very black for Clark, as the Chinese Chinese was seen going; to the Hunter place, shortly afterwards shots were heard and young Clark was observed to come out of the place and look around the country mcl re-enter the house. No one has yet been found who saw Wong Sing after he drove to the Hunter place. In addition to this, young Clark borrowed a shotgun in the afternoon of the same day. This weapon was secured from Samuel Hunter, who resides resides about a quarter of a mile from Joe Hunter's place. Clark called on Samuel Hunter and asked for the loan of his shotgun, shotgun, as he wanted to kill squirrels. Hunter Hunter refused to give him any cartridges with the gun, so about 2 ln the afternoon Clark called at the cabin of R. Penlanct and there borrowed four shells. He went to the Joe Hunter place and Mrs. Penland states that she saw him shoot once at tile side of the yard and heard a second shot about live minutes later from the rear of the place. These shots were fired about 2:30 oclock. About 5:30 oclock she says she saw the rig of Wong Sing standing in th;-yard th;-yard but did not sec anything of the owner. owner. About 6:30 she and her husband h:'a»d a third shot from the house of Joe Hunter and this sounded dull and not as loud as the others in the afternoon. They paid no attention to this, as they were eating supper. supper. In Aurellan Le Page, the shepherd boy, Is a very serious witness against Clnrk. The Le Page boy states that his sheep were on a hill about 150 yards from Joe Hunter's place, and he saw Wong Sing drive up to the place in his wagon and go into the house. The Chinese had been inside inside about ten or tifteen minutes when Le Page says he heard two shots at intervals of perhaps live minutes and may be less. Almost immediately after this Clark came out of the kitchen, went to the Chinaman's wagon, looked in it and then walked to the other side of the house and looked around the country, after which he went into the house. Le Page was not positive about the time of this occurrence, but It was shortly before sundown. The inquest will be held this morning at 10 oclock at Dexter Samson's rooms on South Spring street. Clark's Craftiness The nerve of the rascal Clark is extreme. On Wednesday afternoon, after he had given Clement and Agulrre the slip, While seated hi their buggy by driving away, he stayed in the chapparel but a short time, and, wtnding his way over the hills, reached the Pasadona road, where, he took! a car for this city. He got off at the Hoffman house on Main street, where he telephoned for a messenger boy. When the messenger arrived arrived Clark sent him away in the neighborhood neighborhood with a bogus message. As It was so near by the boy left his wlieel leaning against the curb. This was) just the opportunity opportunity the murderer had been waiting for. As soon as the messenger's back was turned he jumped on the wheel and made off. This was the blcycie which he left in La Canyada. The sheriff had contemplated contemplated swearing out a complaint against Clark for running off with the deputies' horses and carriage, just to hold him while the search for the Chinaman was being prosecuted, but when he heard of the bicycle bicycle transaction he concluded that there was more ln that, and he was taking steps to get the complaint prepared when news was telephoned in at 2:45 o'clock that the body of the murdered Wong Sing Hay had been discovered by Deputy Sheriff Frank Davis, burled under Constable Hunter's house. Just previous to the receipt of this message message Constable Joe Hunter Interviewed a Herald rr uorter, and was extremely anxious anxious tha' the fact should be published that the officer who arrested Clark, Phillip Bague by name, was one of Jiis own deputy constables. When the finding of the hapless hapless Chinaman's corpse was announced under Hunter's house, the suspicions which had been de\ r e!oped that the constable knew more of the business than he was willing to tell were confirmed ln the mind of Sheriff Burr, and he at once placed Hunter under urrest. He wus taken to the county Jail, but no charge was entered on the blotter •gainst him, and, temporarily at least, he was permitted to remain ln the jailor's office, office, lnsteai of being locked up. While seated there he was asked by a reporter in a Joking way: "Hallo! What have they got you ln for?" To which he replied: "That's what I'd like to know." No one Is allowed to see Clark, who had not been Informed late last evening of the rinding of the body. It appears that Clark exhales an Insufferable odor, which, despite of a bath which he was made to take and a change of clothing, persists ln diffusing itsslf In a most disagreeable manner from his body. His Face Punched John Phillips, a fisherman of Redondo, suffered a badly bruised face at the hands of an Irate husband tn a lodging house at 119V4 West Second street yesterday morning. morning. He went to the rooms to call on a woman with whom he claims he had formerly been however, and Gray, administered battery, with used passing somewhat several has The for on Illegible. ************* £ Allen's Prosperity i ft J&d 1 iwll | We're 1 . Office * g Most of them into offices £fc our new New Salesrooms at * street —just across the street from t To business men this is a most as irrisistible as the prices feature of the offers is their 2 their superior finish and I $13.50 $14.50 A Roller Top Desk of Another one in oak, funv anj completely equipped ers and throughout with cabi- {of books —made nets, slides,drawers and „. „„„ tfav>fc pigeon holes—the sort pum up SIOCK that don't get out of kind that never order. don't shrink. % Sftftftftftftftftftftftft U Pioneer Broadway || I ! Villc dc 1 | POTOMAC BLOCK , I Tor Quick 1 Stylish Tailor-Made •1 manufacturers at prices far I | Ready-to-Wear Suits . . I LADIES' CLOTH SUITS, percaline lined. LINEN |j all seams turned and bound, tJA CA ished, P reduced to %]>y.OU hem j§ COVERT SUITS, coat silk lined, graceful MIXED Ii hanging skirt, CI? AA of || reduced to »pl *V»UU reduced _ TWEED SUITS, box jacket, silk lined, j Is mohair braid trimmings, (|i AA 1 check I reduced to •PI4.UU j reduced * ! | June Prices in Shirt sv! 65c Perfect-Fittirifi Shirt Waists, to close jjf 7Jc perfect-Fitting Shirt Waists, to |f BSc Perfect-Fitting Shut Waists, to close j| New Bathing Salts, Ha thing Caps, y In complete assort ;rent , at popular & REMEMBER OUR

Clipped from Los Angeles Herald05 Jun 1898, SunPage 7

Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California)05 Jun 1898, SunPage 7
ebrighton Member Photo
  • "THE STRANGE MURDER AT TROPICO" Missing Chinaman's Body Found, Los Angeles Herald 5 Jun 1898

    ebrighton – 08 Dec 2014

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in