The Bend Bulletin from Bend, Oregon on August 19, 1953 · Page 42
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The Bend Bulletin from Bend, Oregon · Page 42

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Bend, Oregon
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Wednesday, August 19, 1953
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Page 42
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0 The Bend Bulletin, Bend. Oregon Wednesday, August 19, 1951 , Triple Murder At Lava Lake Three Decades Ago Unsolved; Trails Lead Into Blind Alleys ' by Leslie Tooze Tho hoavysnow around Big Lava lake in Central Oregon's high Cascades was just beginning to thaw in April, 192-1. For a group of observers, however, tho scene held little of its UHual beauty. The group was there to perform a solemn duty. They had just discovered Central Oregon's most brutal murder.' ; ' . ; . Tho slaying of three winter-bound trappers sometime in January of 1924 still goes without retribution. Despite probing into every lead, a conviction has never been obtained. ' Ed Nichols, Roy Wilson, and Dewey Morris set out for a winter's trapping in the Lava Lake area in high spirits. They had a snug cabin at their disposal belonging to Ed Lo gan, Jiend logging contractor . They had ample supplies and, from all reports, the prospects of abundant game. Before snow fell in Die fall of 1923, the throe trappers had their linos strung and their sets in order. At Chrislmns time one of them returned for a short visit in Bend, lie reported that all was well at the Lava Lake camp. Trappers Vlsitwl ; The last report available on the three men prior to the stark discovery of their bodies, was given by Allen Wilicoxcn, former owner of a resort at Elk lake. Willcoxon spent the night of January IS m the cubin of the trappers. The next morning he continued his trek via snow shoes to inspect tho resort at Elk lake and later returned to Bend over a different trail. Willcoxon reported on his return mat the trappers were in good health and spirits. No further word came from the Lava lake camp that winter. By April, some conjecture was being Before You Start to the Fair Stop In for "Minute Man" Service at COX'S SERVICE CENTER OPEN Gas Oil Lubrication Tires Batteries Accessories Mechanical Service COX'S SERVICE CENTER UNION Oil DEALER Corner Bond & Frankli?) PHONE 3 Pictures Recall Lava Lake Murders Just short of 30 years ago, the entire state and Pacific northwest was shocked by the news that three Demi trappers had been murdered at their cabin, high in the Deschutes country. 1'letiircd here, at top, are members of the party that found tile bodies of the murdered men in Little Lava lake, when the ice broke. Below, cabin where the trappers made their 'headquarters, and where, they were murdered as they : stepped from the door. made in Bend as to what might be the trouble in the lonely highlands. I On April 13. three Bend men, H. D.. ! Innis, Owen Morris, brother of one of the trappers, and Pearl Lynes set out for Lava lake. : Cabin Reached - When they arrived at the cabin, an emaciated cat sprang out the door, rushed between one of the men's feet and headed for the nearby fox pens. Surprised, the three entered the cabin, realizing at once the place had been abandoned for some time. The table was set, and food left on the stove suggested the trappers had been ready to sit down for breakfast when something drew them outside. The visitors estimated the cat had been shut in the cabin for some months. It had eaten all the available food there. The three men investigated the rest of the camp, at that time not suspecting foul play. Untouched food in the fox pens was mute testimony -that a stranger had tried to The FORD on its 50th ANNIVERSARY II J 1 v Jhxd B' mil iimmw JfcijfcwiiiiiiLii 'i'" ""' ' &&J,?36tJ3ZfJt eu&Mrjfcf'-&tifiJf tJAk&t&iZ iiU'y The 1953 Ford Crestline Sunllner with Its smart open car styling is available in 12 new colors ranging from Coral Flame Red to Raven Black. With fts "Breezeway" top lip,' the Sunliner provides the weather-tlgjit comfort of a sedan. Two-tone leather and vinyl seats blend with Inside paneling and harmonize, with outside colors. Henry Ford said it first .... in 1903 . . as true today YOU CAN PAY MORE BUT YOU CAN'T BUY BETTER SEE YOU AT THE FAIR! SETTLEMYER MOTORS. Inc. and it's just 920 BOND Street Your Friendly FORD Dealer Phone 680 feed the shy animals. Afraid and distrustful, the foxes apparently had refused to eat. None.of the little animals were in sight. . Bloody Hammer Found Then the searchers found a bloodstained hammer in a storage shed, but no pelts or animal carcasses were in evidence. A search alone .tfietjaplines did not offer any .solu- .vuuMJ uie wiicreuuuuis ui uie missing trappers. Innis, Morris, and Lynes were suspicious as they returned to Bend for the night. The next day, Innis and Ed Lo gan, owner of the Lava lake cabin and fox farm, returned to the camp. Together they crossed to Crane Prairie, a few miles distant, where the trappers kept an extra cache of food. When they inspected the cache, they found nothing touched. Upon returning to the Lava lake cabin, Innis and. Logan found deputy sheriff Clarence A. Adams a-waiting them. The three set off for Big Lava lake, about one-quarter mile distant. On the shore they noticed a curious thing. The heavy sled used by the trappers to haul provisions was half submerged in snow by the water's edge. The circumstance was odd normally the trappers kept this sled propped against the side of the cabin except when it was in use. Exploring? the sled for some clue, they found a dark stain on one of its rough boards. Later, Dr. George V. Van-devert of Bend analysed the stain. It was human blood. Dim Trail Present Had the three men not been expert woodsmen they might not have attached significance to a dim trail which led to the middle of ice-covered Big Lava lake. Two tracks, which had weathered the last snow, might have been made by the runners of the sled. The searchers followed the track to the middle of the lake and found that a hole had been cut in the ice and had refrozen. One of the men reached down to investigate a small object. He held up to the light a brown human hair. There was now no doubt "in the-minds of the men crouched on the ice .that somewhere beneath them lay the bodies of their friends. Final affirmation, however, would have to wait until the ice broke up on the lake. That happened the next dry. The searchers stayed in tho lava lake cabin, and the following morning found more evidence to pad their conclusions. The carcasses of four foxes were discovered beneath a tree, expertly skinned. One fact, however, led Logan to believe that whoever had skinned the foxes did so in a hurry. The feet remained on the curcasses, automatically reducing tho market value of the pelts. Two more foxes 'were found to be skinned more carefully. Their pelts wore estimated previously by Logan to be worth $1,000 and $600 respectively. Human Hair Found One of the investigators stumbled across even more telling evidence later. In a spot of snow bared by thaw was a patch of human blood, and in it, more human hair and a front tooth. That evening two of the men headed for Big Lava lake to catch fish for dinner. When they arrived they saw that the ice cover on the lake had broken up. They called immediately to their partner, and when he joined them, they paddled out in the lake in an old row boat found on the bank. ... Near the place where the hole had been chopped in the ice were three bodies, face-up in the water. Wilson, Morris, and Nichols were fully clad, but their bodies muti lated. Sombrely, the s earchcrs hauled the bodies within a few feet of the shore. Deputy sheriff Adams immediate ly left for Bend, stopping only once, at the Fall river fish hatchery, to call ahead to authorities. . Party Moves In The next day a party from Bend set out for Lava lake. It included Jerome Ward, Ray Ward, Owen, Ben, and Don Morris, brothers of one of the slain men; Robert W. Sawybr, editor of the Bulletin; My ron aymons; county coroner C. P. Niswongor; and Paul Hosmcr. Investigation of the three corpses showed that each man had been shot in the head with a revolver, and raked across the upper part of his body with shot gun charge. immediately, speculation began as to who the slayer might be. It was determined that in order to find the trappers' camp in the hea vy winter snows, the man would have had to be an expert in the woods and well aquainted with the area. Reference was made to a recluse who lived at nearby Cultus lake. However, Deschutes county sheriff S. E. Roberts emphatically denied Erickson was in any way involved. The only motive the crime could bo laid to was revenge. The invest igators searched their memories for any incident involving the trap pers which might fit into that idea Khiully one of Ilium luiiioinhi'ii'd that a man at one time employed at Elk Jake hud hud some trouble with one of the (nippers. The man' name win Lee Collins. II wua learned that ho knew the l.uvu Lake urea well, having trapped there one winter.' ' Collins, who was nlao known us Chiit'les Klnwey, ui'Kuetl violently once with one of the (rappem over a wallet KlniKcy hiul been accused of stuullnK. Kinuoy, or Collins, had sworn 'to get" the trapper. Sheriff Kuberts searched his files for Klni.oy, only to find that the mun wus wanted In Deschutes county on a charge of usmiull and armed robbery In IB'Jl As reports of the tr'plo murder came in, Hie quiet ot Deschutes county wus disturbed. Public sentiment ran high In Mend, Memorial services for the three trnnpom were conducted on a note of outraged Justice. , News Travels Far The news traveled over the northwest, account!) being carried by every newspaper In the region. It was through this publicity that a Portland truffle policeman, W, C. Bender, entered Into the loose web of evidence. Bender reported that a man, whom he then Identified as Kinney, confronted him one morning in u downtown Portland street, asking the name of a reliable fur dealer in the city, Tho man, Bonder said, had a burlap bag slung over his shoulder. Bender sent tho mun to tho Schumacher Fur company, where ho met Carl Schumacher, president. Schumacher bought the furs In the trapper's possession for $110 cash. The trapper displayed a license made out to Ed Nichols, ono of the. sluin men. Despite a search which led all over the northwest, Klmzcy's trail ended. As public sentiment begun to concern Itself with other things, the hunt cooled, In a few years the investigation was shelved, except fur u few men who still kept a Klm-xuy vigil, Claude L, MuCuuley begun the first of hi six terms us DosclmU'n county sheriff In November, lU'iH, (Continued on Pane H) 26 Years of Service We Specialize in Furniture Moving and Storage For Past, Courteous and Cartful Service Phone lend 987 TWO FIREPROOF WAREHOUSES PACKING AND CRATING HOUSE MOVING ' LOCAL HAULING We will haul anything of any quantity anywhere. Wo Are Howled and Insured Carrier HOLM AN TRANSFER & STORAGE 201 Irving Bend m AL NIELSEN SAYS: Attend The Fair But Watch Your Fuel Supply Now's the time to take the worries out of winter. Just call us now and tell us to take care of your fuel oil problem. One phone call will do it! From then on it's our responsibility to see that your fuel tank never runs dry! And we'll do it, too, with clean, even-burning GENERAL fuel oil that is carefully and a'ccu.fately metered as it' flows into your tank! There's nothing finer than eager, quick-firincj Mobilgas and expert Mobilubrication to keep your car in sleek and contended running condition. , Make it a habit to drive into your neighborhood Mobil Station for prompt and courteous service. General Petroleum Products M East First E. L. NEILSON, Distributor Phone 644 Your car is in safe hands when we service it. Once it leaves our service station you can be sure it's ready for the road. Oil SHELL SERVICE Gasoline GOODYEAR TIRES BATTERIES ACCESSORIES fie sure and see the COUNTY FAIR The Biggest Show In Central Oregon WALL AM 1112 South Third We & HUFSTADER Give S ft H Green Stomps Phone S88

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