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Scary little fates: uncovered cases of abduction of American children



A mother helping her son kill young boys, a maniac holding in captivity a girl kidnapped by him for 18 years, a mysterious neighbor who lured a child into the basement by offering him a soda: all this sounds like stories for thrillers, but these are real cases that happened in different years in the usa writes

Photo: Shutterstock

According to the FBI, about 460 thousand allegations of missing children are received annually: many of them run away from home, most quickly return, but some children become victims of real tormentors.

Mother did not lose hope

Nine-year-old Walter Collins disappeared 10 on March 1928 in California - that day the boy went alone to a local theater. The suspicions of the police fell on the enemies of the father of the child - a famous fraudster and robber, who was in prison: assuming that they could kill the boy, the police searched the nearby lakes, but they did not find the body.

The search for Walter Collins followed the whole country. The Los Angeles Police Department threw about a hundred employees on this task, but the investigation did not progress. A few months later, criticism rained down on law enforcement officers: people demanded to find a child.

When the situation began to acquire critical proportions, a boy suddenly appeared in Illinois, who called himself Walter Collins. The boy’s already almost hopeless mother, Christine Collins, paid $ 70 to return the boy back to Los Angeles.

However, it turned out that the boy was not the same: at the first meeting with him, Christine said that this was not her son.

A still from the film "Substitution". Screenshot: Cinema Advisor / YouTube

In response, police captain JJ Jones advised her to take the child to her house for a few weeks, and then draw the final conclusions. Exhausted by endless experiences, Collins agreed.

Three weeks later, the woman again came to the station and continued to insist that the boy found was not her son. Her words were also supported by the testimony of dentists and the testimonies of acquaintances who also did not recognize Walter's child.

Despite the validity of the claims made by Christine, Jones managed to send her to a psychiatric hospital with a diagnosis of “12 Code”, under which at that time people who were considered dangerous to society were put in prisons and hospitals. Fortunately, at this time, the false Walter confessed, and Collins left the hospital after 10 days. As it turned out, in fact, the child posing as Walter Collins, was called Arthur Jacob Hutchins, and he was - 12 years.

Hutchins spent all his childhood in Iowa with his parents, but later ran away from home - the guy wanted to get to Hollywood at all costs to see his beloved actor.

A striking resemblance to Walter, which at that time was spoken throughout the country, played into his hands. The boy decided to take his advantage and with this get to California and the city of dreams.

After being released from the hospital, Christine immediately began a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department. Ultimately, the court ordered Jones to pay her compensation in the amount of almost $ 11 thousand, which she, however, did not wait. Later, the story of this woman formed the basis of the film "Substitution", which was released in the 2008 year.

The first clues appeared in the case only after the testimony of the 13-year-old Sanford Clark - in August 1928, the police took the child who lived on the farm of his uncle, Gordon Stuart Northcott, near Vineville. Clark's elder sister turned to law enforcement officers - her brother told her that his uncle forced him to participate in the murder of four little boys on the farm.

Later, three of them were unofficially identified by the police - allegedly the brothers were the Lewis and Nelson Winslow brothers who went missing in Pomona on 16 on May 1928 and Walter Collins.

Gordon Stewart Northcott and his mother Sarah Norcott fled the farm the day the police arrived to pick up 13-year-old Sanford. As it turned out later, before leaving, they also took with them the remains of the bodies of the murdered children, which law enforcement officers could not find.

They managed to detain the terrible family only in September 1928. Sarah Norcott immediately took the blame for the murder of Walter Collins and tried to shield her son, who, according to her, had serious mental problems - as a child, Gordon was allegedly abused by all family members. With age, he showed a penchant for and a desire to kill children: the woman herself knew about the features of her son and indulged them.

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As a result, Sarah Norkott was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 31 of 1928 of the year - she was sent to Tehachapi State Prison to serve her sentence. She was able to leave from there by parole through 12 years.

Although investigators were convinced that Gordon was involved in the murder of Walter Collins, he could not be charged with any charges because of his mother’s sentencing. California police also suggested that, in fact, Gordon killed at least 20 people, but could not find strong evidence of these crimes.

As a result, the indictment against Gordon contained only the murder of an unidentified Mexican boy and the Winslow brothers.

During one of the interrogations, Christine Collins tried to find out from the man whether he had really killed her son, but could not even get him to answer the question whether he had ever seen her boy.

This gave the woman the hope that her son could still be alive.

The court sentenced Norcott to death by hanging. On the eve of the execution of the sentence, he suddenly contacted Christine Collins and stated that he was lying when he said that among his victims was her son. Norcott promised to tell her the truth if she came to him in person. A few hours before the execution of the criminal, Collins was able to meet with him - this precedent was the first in the United States in more than thirty years. However, the efforts were in vain: all that Norkott said was limited to a statement that he was not involved in crimes.

As for the investigation into the disappearance of the child, over time, California authorities officially recognized him dead.

Only his mother, who continued the search for her son until the end of her life, could not accept the death of the boy. The last mention of the woman is a newspaper article from 1941 of the year - then she still continued to sue ex-captain Jones, who at one time made her believe in the miraculous return of her son.

"What have you done to my child?"

In 2017, a New York jury found 56-year-old Pedro Hernandez guilty of kidnapping and killing six-year-old Ethan Patz, who disappeared on 15 on May 1979. On that day, his parents first let him go to school alone: ​​the boy had to go two blocks and catch the bus. However, he never reached the school. That same evening, his mother wrote a statement to the police.

Photo: Shutterstock

After the loss, Ethan Patz became the most famous wanted child in America: the boy's father, who worked as a professional photographer, replicated a collection of photos of the boy. They were published on numerous posters, displayed on Times Square screens, and also printed on milk packets - later this method was widely used to search for missing children.

The child was sought for many years. In the first two weeks of Ethan's search, police questioned about 500 people, but this did not yield any results.

The first suspect in the case appeared only three years later - it was Juan Antonio Ramos, who lived in a drainage tunnel near the Patz family home. According to investigators, the man lured the boy to his home in order to commit violent acts against him.

However, this version could not be confirmed - Ramos suddenly disappeared.

It was possible to find him only in 1988 - as it turned out, the man was serving a sentence for child molestation in the Présnalnia prison. He was taken to New York for interrogation in Ethan Patz’s missing case. There Ramos told law enforcement officers that he was really trying to seduce a boy who looked like Ethan on May 25. However, after the child began to actively resist, the man took him to the subway and released him.

The boy was officially declared dead only in the 2001 year. Until that time, his parents, Stan and Julie Patz, had not changed their phone number and place of residence in the hope that their son would return home. Desperate, they completely blamed the death of the boy on Ramos and in 2004 brought a civil lawsuit against him. In the ensuing legal proceedings, the suspect was found guilty of the death of Patz, despite the fact that he actively denied his guilt.

By court decision, he was supposed to pay inconsolable parents compensation in the amount of $ 2 million - the family never received this money. For many years, Stan Patz continued to send the prisoner two letters a year — on the child’s birthday and on the day of the loss. In the letters he put an ad on Ethan wanted with the inscription: "What have you done with my child?"

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The Ethan Patz case was reopened in 2010. In April, 2012 searched for the boy’s body in the foundation of a house where a police dog smelled human remains. The building belonged to 75-year-old Otnil Miller - the man was personally acquainted with the six-year-old Ethan. In the process of punching concrete, a piece of concrete was allegedly found on which there were traces of blood. However, later the examination denied this information.

In the same year, a new suspect, Pedro Hernandez, appeared in the case. At the time Ethan disappeared, he was only 18 years old, he worked in a store near the boy’s house. During the interrogation, the man told investigators that he had met Ethan on the day he was lost, offered him a soda, and then took the boy down the stairs to the basement and began to choke him. After that, according to Hernandez, he put the body in a plastic bag, and he, in turn, in a box. He left her near the garbage container, although at that time he was sure that the child was still alive.

Pedro Hernandez. Screenshot: New York Daily News / YouTube

When asked by the investigators about the reasons for the murder, Hernandez could not give a clear answer. His lawyers tried to prove that their client suffers from a personality disorder, so he does not distinguish between the difference between fantasy and reality.

The first trial of Hernandez was unsuccessful, as one of the jury found him not guilty - this was enough to send the case for review. It took nine days during which the jury did not leave the room. As a result, they unanimously reached the verdict that Pedro Hernandez was guilty of kidnapping and killing Ethan Patz. The court sentenced Hernandez to life imprisonment - 38 years after Ethan's loss.

“I am very, very grateful that the jury finally confirmed what I had known for a long time. That this particular man, Pedro Hernandez, did something terrible so many years ago, ”said the boy’s father after the verdict.

In tribute to solidarity with the tragedy of the Patz family, May 25 was recognized in the United States as National Day for Missing Children. Since 2001, it has been celebrated around the world.

“They idolized father”

When missing children can be found after many years of searching, this becomes a happy exception - however, the happy end is preceded by terrible years spent in confinement by the child.

Jayce Lee Duggard was abducted in 1991 at the age of 11 years in the small California city of South Lake Tahoe. The fourth-grader left the house and went to the school bus stop. At that moment, a passenger car drove up to her - a gray sedan - in which a man and a woman were sitting. The passenger dragged Jacy into the car, and the kidnappers disappeared into an unknown direction. All this happened in front of the stepfather of the girl Karl Probayn, he tried to catch the kidnappers on a bicycle, but could not.

Jaycee’s abduction received national publicity - her images were constantly broadcast on television. The police used considerable forces to search for the girl, but did not achieve any results. Probine himself was one of the first suspects, but the police soon dismissed this version as untenable. Nevertheless, the marriage of a man with his mother, Jaycey, broke up.

Meanwhile, the kidnappers - Philip Garrido and his mother Nancy - brought the girl to their home. The man raped the child and continued to do so for many years. Garrido already had a criminal conviction for rape and was on parole.

Jaycey settled in the backyard of the house - it was a makeshift barn, well hidden from prying eyes.

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Three years later, at the age of 14, Jacy gave birth to her first child from Garrido. Childbirth took place at home - during pregnancy, a man showed the girl films about the process of childbearing. The second child was born in 1997 year. Gorrido named his daughters Angel and Starlight.

Sometimes he took them with him to the city — a man was seen accompanied by two “lovely fair-haired girls” —but they never attended school and had never been to a doctor’s appointment.

Jayce and her daughters spent 18 years imprisoned - and during all this time the police several times had the opportunity to find a captive, whom she did not use.

In 1992, less than a year after the abduction, an anonymous call was received from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department. Unknown reported that he saw a girl very similar to Daggard, who was in a car at a gas station located three kilometers from Garrido’s house. According to the anonymous author, the girl was sitting in a large yellow van. A similar old Dodge was discovered in Garrido's courtyard later, in 2009. The caller did not give the car number, and the place next to the gas station was examined superficially.

In 2006, a neighbor called Garrido phoned the 911 service and said that there were tents in the backyard of the house where children live. He described Garrido as a sexually preoccupied psychopath.

A local law enforcement official spoke with Garrido on the threshold of his house and simply warned the man that it was illegal to live in inappropriate places.

Later, when Jaycee Lee Daggard is found, the public will ask why the official who oversaw the parole of Garrido and visited his house did not notice the “prison camp”, which contained three people. The police will respond to this, that the place of confinement of Jaycee was fenced, with a hedge and tarpaulin, which made him completely invisible to an outside look.

Gorrido himself had a small printing business - he printed leaflets, brochures and business cards. Over time, he allowed Jaycee to help him. The investigation found out that the girl had access to the phone and email, but she never used them.

In August 2009, Garrido and his daughters came to the police department at the University of California at Berkeley, where he tried to get permission to hold a “special Christian event” on campus. Garrido spent a long time on the Internet blog, in which he said that he hears the voices of angels.

Local guards drew attention to the strange behavior of girls: alienated looks, as if learned answers to questions. Later they recalled that the eldest girl, who at that time was 15 years old, seemed to worship her father. “She looked at him as if he were a god,” security guard Allie Jacobs said.

Photo: Shutterstock

Soon, law enforcement officers demanded that Garrido explain to whom he had two teenage girls, since officially he had no children. The man was confused in the testimony, and soon he was detained.

After Garrido was in custody, Jaycee Daggard told the police who appeared that she was Alice and, together with her daughters, fled from her aggressive husband to her relative Philip. Alice told the truth only when Garrido himself confessed to the abduction and rape.

The neighbors of Garrido, learning about who lived with them all these years, were amazed. “We never thought anything bad about this guy, he just seemed a little nuts,” said local businessman Tim Allen, who had ordered business cards and letterheads from Garrido for many years in a row.

Jayce and her daughters returned to their parents. Stepfather Karl Probin said that the girls were brought up in the spirit of obedience to their father, and his arrest was a shock to them.

“They clung to him. And now they are upset because it is their father and he is in prison. Jaycee couldn’t tell them that she was abducted, ”Probin said.

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