Friday, December 16, 2011

Suspect Roundup: The Rainier Unsub

Cuz unsubs are camera shy
I don't know if anyone is still actually reading this blog but in an effort to keep myself on a somewhat regular posting schedule I've decided to introduce a new, monthly feature/post; The Suspect Roundup.  I will be featuring one suspect, from the well known and plausible to the unknown and incomprehensible. I'll provide photos when available but when a photo isn't available, you'll see something like the image on the left. So without further delay, let me start off with my first Suspect Roundup!

The Rainier Unsub is the name I give to a man who wandered onto a ranch in Roy, Washington, a little hamlet about 12 miles away from Rainier.  The owner of the ranch, Frank Betchard, related to authorities a tale of a man who came knocking on his door to beg a meal on Wednesday, about 2:00 p.m., after the murders..  This in of itself is not remarkable but the conversation at dinner might have been.  According to Mrs. Betchard and her daughter, the man spoke about the Coble murder which had occurred on Monday night, the 10th of July.  They specifically stated that the man said "there had been a murder in Rainier Monday night."  The crime wasn't discovered until Tuesday the 11th in the afternoon and wasn't carried in any newspaper until Wednesday morning, the 12th.  The Betchard family had no knowledge of the crime until the unknown beggar told them about it at 2:00 P.M. the 12th.  Now I do have to concede that it is possible this beggar had spent Tuesday evening in the town of Yelm, woke up and saw the news in the paper and told the Betchards.  Yelm is just five miles south of Roy but Yelm had no local paper until 1922.  The nearest large cities which likely were the major newspaper distribution points were Tacoma and Olympia, both 17 miles away as the crow flies.  Either of these newspapers would have been in Yelm Wednesday morning screaming headlines about the murder.  But wouldn't it follow that the Betchards would have heard about the murders by 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday as well?
Headline from Wednesday, July 12, 1911
As you can see from the headline, this was a "last edition" copy which implies there was an earlier, morning addition proclaiming that a murder had occurred.  The description the Betchard women gave of their beggar was "younger, better dressed and darker complected [then the suspect mentioned above]."  Which means he would have been (or looked) younger then 60/45 (the paper declared the suspect to "look 45"), dressed better than an itinerant hobo/railroad laborer and darker complected then an emigrant from Sweden, and we all know how tan those Scandinavians can look.


Anonymous said...

I am still reading your blog...and I still LOVE IT!!!-CJL

Anonymous said...

I'm still reading it too -- thanks for posting!


Anonymous said...

Still reading. Please keep up the good work. Very interesting!

George, Ukraine said...

Just came in from google, your blog's at #4 for "1911 axe murders". Being a sort of historical true crime fan, I must admit I never knew about these horrific mass murders before. I've just read a good roundup of the Villisca tragedy at yesterday (it's in Russian) and I definitely want to learn more about the case. Thanks!