Chicken Coop Murders/ Changeling

Matthew Pierce


Murders were unheard of in 1926, especially the murderings of small children. People were more proper back in that day, there were more followers of God so they despised anyone who’d think of the idea. These events took place in Wineville, California. The disappearance of multiple boys drew the attention of L.A police and continued through 1926-1928. But the police had no big leads or any idea of who the abductors were.

     Gordon Stewart Northcott was a 19 year old chicken ranch owner in Riverside county California. Mr.Northcott came from a weird family tree filled with incest, molestation, and abuse of children. Northcott had his mother and his nephew by the name of Sanford Clark(Clark being from canada), but his nephew was all of his big plane. Sanford came to the ranch on his own free will but as the days went on Northcott threatened him, beat, and sexually abused him. Northcott started abducting boys and hiding them in a chicken coop outside of his house, he would also force sanford’s hand in taking and killing the boys. Immigration came to get Sanford clark, during the mits Northcott saw the police at his ranch and fled on August 31, 1928 and wasn’t captured till September 19, 1928.

         Sanford testified against his uncle because of the burden on his soul, he felt he needed to. Sanford claimed his uncle would molest most of his victims and would either let them go at random areas or kill them with an axe. Police found children clothing and bits and pieces of bone fragments that belonged to a human at Northcott’s ranch. Wineville got so much bad publicity from the murders so they changed the name of the town to Mira Loma. Northcott admitted to the killings just as his mom did, they both retracted their statements when they got lawyers. The trail of the chicken coop murders took 27 days and ended with Northcott getting the death sentence and hanged on October 2, 1930, his mother faced life in prison but got released a year and half into the sentence due to good behavior, Sanford didn’t face any time and lived a long life.

      It’s estimated that Northcott could have killed up to 20 boys at his ranch but he only got charged with 3 due to lack of evidence. One of the boys that Northcott got charged for, Walter Collins led to a Lawsuit and bad publicity to the L.A.P.D. Police had no leads to what happened to Walter Collins until Sandford clark admitting that he was one of the boys that died at the ranch. The police were doing everything and anything to try and shed the heat somewhere else or shed light on situations where there was no light.

   Police brought Walter’s mother Christine Collins, a boy and claimed it was her son. Christine denied that the boy was hers and the police forced the young boy into her hands claiming he had nowhere to go, to try and turn a bad situation into a good one. After refusing to hold the boy any longer the police put her in a psychiatric ward due to her “mysterious” claims. When it got out into the public that Walter was one of the boys murdered in Wineville they released her immediately from the ward.

    Mrs. Collins filed a lawsuit against the L.A.P.D due to the way she was treated by just trying to find her son. She won $10,800 dollars and she got the officer fired who put her in there and also the chief of police. When a boy that supposedly escaped the chicken coop and was found, Christine Collins never gave up hope that her son Walter was somewhere out there

     This event lead to a movie being made called the Changeling. Clint eastwood created this movie picture and killed it. It’s a need to watch movie so get to watchin