Sunday, July 16, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online: Continued from part six. . . .

July 23, 1953 would be a date that even the most seasoned outsdoorsman would not soon forget. It was on this date that the fate of sixteen year old Richard Lindsey, and his pal, nineteen year old Fred Claar would become obvious. It would be a day of mixed emotion for both the residents of the Gaspe' Peninsula, and the families of the boys in the United States Of America. There would be a sense of some comfort in knowing that their remains had been found, coupled with the grief, associated with the fact the boys had died in such an agressive manner.

It was a pitiful site on the forest floor according to one searcher. Eighty- eight year old Jack Legere', currently residing in Manitoba was there on that unforgetable day. Jack was working in the mining field at Murdochville, and he and several of his co-workers lent their time to support the search for the Americans. I had the opportunity of interviewing Mr. Legere' on July 15, 2006, and though not planned, it was the fifty third anniversary of the finding of Eugene Lindsey's remains on July 15, 1953.

Mr. Legere' expressed to me, that though his recollections may not directly affect an outcome of this case, he wished to make the point that his intention was to encourage all who may know something about this matter to come forward. As well, he requested that I write into this story, the care and dedication of those who searched for days, with the very real intent of bringing some measure of closure to the respective families, when it was known by all, the end result would not be good, given the earlier finding of Mr. Eugene Lindsey's remains. I am indeed grateful to Mr. Legere'. Certainly, it places a very real sincerity on the part of everyday ordinary citizens for our fellow mankind.

Mr. Legere' informs me, that in his view, the search was not well conducted. Of course it was conducted by many well meaning people from far and wide, however, direction was obviously lacking from those charged with it's operation, with respect to the integrity and professionalism of the task at hand. This responsibility would have fallen squarely on the back of Captain Alphonse Matte. As has already been demonstrated several times in this story, this particular officer did not possess the qualities and skills necessary to be in charge and control of a crime of this magnitude, especially, in the wilds of rural Quebec in the 1950's. We have to consider, this was before the walkie talkie and cellular phone era as we know it today. In other words, whatever form of communication of the day, though paramount to the investigation and search, it simply had to be supplemented by coordination and skill in the absense of electronic means.

Mr. Legere' further points out, there was probably not one of those searching, who would be mentally prepared for the eventual finding. It is fair to assume that some would have families of their own at home, whether it be brothers or sisters, or their own children. Either way, the sight of what they were about to come upon, would forever etch a permanent memory of the gruesome conclusion of two young lives.

Strewn about on the ground, some of the searchers would come upon the skeletal remains of what would later be identified as that of sixteen year old Richard Lindsey. The skeleton, though not totally intact, appeared complete. It was obvious that Richard's body had, as well as that of his father's earlier, been ravaged by the bears in the area.

From documented reports of the day, the skeleton had been broken apart, presumably by the bears. It is interesting to note that the clothes had been removed from the body, and left in a pile nearby. A boot was lying nearby with leg bones protruding, which would indicate that whomever removed the clothes was able to remove them with the heavy footwear intact. It can be determined that the clothes were removed with human intervention, because, in contrast to the elder Mr. Lindsey, the clothes were all accounted for, and in the elder Lindsey's case, the clothes had mostly been consumed by the bears as was evidenced by buttons and other shreds of clothing being found in bear droppings in close proximity to the scene.

Beside where his body lay, Richard Lindsey's main items of clothing, his watch, his ring, and some other personal effects were found such as his cigarette lighter etc. His windbreaker style jacket and his binoculars were found at a hollow stump a short distance from the body.

Richard's rifle however, leaves a serious question mark that was never answered, perhaps because of a shoddy investigation, or in reality, the so called investigators not recognizing the importance or the relevancy. The rifle was found a full 300 feet away, with the muzzle being plugged with mud. This should have indicated a struggle to the investigators, or at the very least, establish the fact that someone had thrown the rifle. This theory appears shady to me, as anyone would recognize the dangers of throwing a loaded rifle, as the killer could have put his own life in jeopardy if it discharged.

The idea of a struggle appears more plausible. Being the experienced young outsdoorsman that he was, Richard Lindsey would certainly know the consequences of discharging a firearm with the muzzle being clogged with foreign material such as mud and debris, therefore, the muzzle would have been free and clear of all obstructions, hence, the theory of a violent struggle takes form which resulted in his death. Though never acted upon or investigated at the time, you will see a bit later in the story the relevance of this theory. Richard Lindsey's wallet was later found in the water, with identification, but void of currency.

Meanwhile, some 200 feet away on this same date, another equally chilling scene rounded out the day's discoveries. Another human remains was located. As with the skeleton that would be identified as that of Richard Lindsey, this remains bore the same tell tale reminders. The clothes had been removed, and personal effects, identifying the skeleton as that of Fred Claar, were found with his clothes adjacent to the skeleton. As with Richard Lindsey, the bears had ravaged the remains, leaving only bones.

As mentioned previously in the story, this crime scene commanded an investigation of unparalleled importance. Never in the history of Quebec, had such a grotesque crime scene been so evident. This crime scene warranted days of study before the skeletal remains should have been removed. It was worthy of forensic pathology to the extreme. It was far beyond what the Quebec Provincial Police could ever offer. Did they solicit outside help? Absolutely not. Alphonse Matte was touted as Quebec's top cop, so he would simply do it his way, because, as you will soon see in the story, Mr. Matte had already determined in his mind, the guilty party in this affair.

Later in the same afternoon, the remains and effects of both young men were loaded in a truck and transported to Gaspe'.

At this point in the story, I have a question for those of you who are perhaps over the age of 60 years. The question is simply this, do you remember what you were doing in the early evening hours of July 23, 1953? The answer would most probably be that you do not. Lani Mitchell, currently residing in Vancouver knows exactly where she was, and what she was doing on this date.

Lani Mitchell is the former Lani Baker of Gaspe'. Lani is the daughter of John and Enid Baker who co-owned the Ash Inn during this time in Gaspe'. Lani has very vivid memories of coming out of the Ash Inn and looking a few feet across the road and seeing the truck arrive, and the men unloading the boxes containing the remains of Richard Lindsey and Fred Claar. At this time Lani was approximately 9 years old, but this event created a memory that she will never forget. Lani and I made contact by e-mail as a result of her placing a comment online for this story. As a result, we have had the opportunity to sit down and discuss the story at length.

I feel particularly fortunate with Lani coming onboard in this project. Lani, with a determined effort to get to the bottom of this case, has availed herself in any way that she can to get to the truth, and set the matter straight. Lani encourages all others out there who may be able to shed some light on the situation to come forward, as it was as a result of this story, that she made her decision. I was pleased to learn yesterday that Lani has personally been in contact with Marie Stewart (Coffin) and offered her full support.

Lew Stoddard

Posted to site July 18, 2006

Watch for a new posting July 21, 2006 detailing "evidence", search, and inquests.


Janis Cameron said...

This is most disturbing, although I suspect it is necessary to portray the investigation. I do not like it in any case though. You are right Sir, it is a Horrible Horrible Horrible story. If, as you indicate Mr. Coffin was not guilty, I want the true killer brought to justice.

Janis Cameron
Quebec, Quebec

maurice said...

this is to the coffin family---good luck with all of this and mr stoddard thanks for telling it

maurice lacombe
st. rose

Dick Chenier said...

Mr. Stoddard,

Had no idea that the crime scene was even close to what you say it was. I believe you dont get me wrong, just never figured it would be like that. Must be a difficult story to write. Congratulations to you for a great job so far.

Dick Chenier

Dave Taggert said...

My opinion on all of this. I think it had to do a lot with an English community group in a predominately French area. Also I think was a complete railroad job on the part of Duplessis government.

Dave Taggert
Kamloops, B C

Gerard Burgoine said...

If all this happened in relation to this case, why then have I never seen anything written of the events that you describe?

I believe this is sensationalism to the nth degree. I simply do not believe you. It may all make a good murder mystery novel, but you have to separate fact from fiction, and simply when I take away what is fiction, there are not a lot of facts left to talk about.

Gerard Burgoine
Miramichi, N B

Lise' Giroday said...

A Message To Mrs. Marie Stewart

Hi Marie, I saw you a few nights ago on CBC Newsworld. It is a fantastic stand that you take. Bless you, and all those helping you out. I have seen your comments on here in the past, this is good.

Lise' Giroday
St. Leonard, N B

Ken McIntyre said...

I am firmly convinced that Wilbert Coffin did not do this crime. I never have been convinced and I am even stronger now that he did not.

Ken McIntyre
Calgary, Alberta

L.Baker said...

To Dave Taggart
You made the comment that you think this had a lot to do with an English community in a predominantly French area.I think you should understand that French Gaspesians were as horrified with the conviction of Wilbert Coffin as were the English.This is about incredibly bad police work,and a corrupt government willing to sacrifice an innocent man's life for future tourist dollars. I know that the Gaspé community, both English and French,fully support Marie Coffin in her efforts to clear Wilbert's name.

Edison McGregor said...

Mr. Stoddard,

I remember this case very well. I was attending teachers college in Fredericton, New Brunswick in the year of the execution.

We were all so certain that the federal government would commute the death penalty, and were all so horrified when they did not.

I can relate to at least two occasions that year whereby we used this case as a topic for debate in class.

Based on what we heard in those days in the media, we were convinced of Mr. Coffin's innocence. I can see now that the media did not inform us well at all in those days, but I can tell you this, if we were convinced of his innocence based on what we were told then, our opinion that he was innocent of the murder charge would be overwhelming today.

There were so many misconceptions floating around. I have learned so much from your website with reference to the fact that he was only charged with one murder, and the different locations as to where the bodies were found, just to identify a couple.

You Sir, are most articulate in your writing. As a retired school principal, I recognize these qualities. Keep up the good work.

Edison McGregor
Pointe Claire, Quebec

Lew Stoddard said...

Message to Gerard Burgoine. . . .

Gerard! Gerard! Gerard....You are in one of your moods again. You don't get out often enough. As I have suggested to you in the past, you have to emerge from that cocoon that you have woven around yourself.

Take an afternoon stroll to your library, look up the case, then study a bit about the Quebec government of 50 or so years back, then come back to the site and tell me where the fiction is.

Lew Stoddard

Ps....Sorry Gerard, I forgot. You have told me in the past that you are a former member of the Quebec Provincial Police, and for sure, that wouldn't be fiction, would it?

B McBrine said...

Lew Stoddard,

You are a good comedian, as well as a good writer. I am sure Gerard sees that now as well.

You are to be commended on this, you write it well. I am almost at the point of being convinced that you are going to turn over something that will have a profound impact on this case, to the point of convincing the government to do a full review. Keep at it!

B McBrine
Springhill, N S

Brendan Atkins said...

I have noticed on this site there seems to be a lot of people making comments to you from the Gaspe region of Quebec. Why did all these people sit back and say nothing for all these years?

Brendan Atkins
Timmins, Ont

University Student From Winnipeg said...

One thing that I have learned from research on this story since your writings began, and that is the fact that there were several other clearly defined cases of first degree murder in Quebec during these same years and yet, this case appears to be the only one that had a capital punishment carried out.

You may just be correct in your statements that you feel that it was done as a means of patching relations with the states. Very definitely the statistics speak for themselves, and this should be looked at.

Third year University Student from

Jake and Mary said...

To The Coffin family,

It has been a long rocky road so hang in there we are pulling for you out here in Saskatchewan.

Jake and Mary
Swift Current, Saskatchewan

Constance said...

I was really touched by the dear sweet elderly gentleman who so unselfishly came forward to tell us all that he was a member of the search team way back in 1953.

Should be a good reminder to others to speak if they know something about this and are holding back for whatever reason. Nothing is to be gained here by holding back, but tons can be gained by coming forward.

This is my opinion

Whitehorse, Yukon

Garnet Fluelling said...

I agree with what L Baker has said above about this case as bad police work and a corrupt government is a recipe for disaster.

Garnet Fluelling
Grand Falls, new Brunswick

W Webber said...

Lew Stoddard, somewhere back I seem to recall you saying that you originally hail from New Brunswick. If I am correct in that assumption, I am curious to know just where that might have been in New Brunswick.

Have sent you a separate e-mail, and hope you may find the time to drop me a short note.

I like your report thus far on the Coffin affair. My Dad always felt he was very wrongly executed.

W. Webber
Hartland, new Brunswick

Sarah M said...

Mr. Stoddard,

Why is it necessary that you always have the last word?

I notice on here whenever someone is a bit critical of yourself and the way you portray a story, you tend to slam them verbally into a corner? I question, is this proper?

I think you do a great job with your story in your presentation, but woe unto anyone who steps on your toes. You are afterall, the one who has been touting this free speech thing for the past year.

Sarah M
Windsor, Ontario

Lew Stoddard said...

Message For Sarah M in Windsor....

Welcome aboard Sarah.

Being a man of few words, I promise to be very brief in my response.

Isn't this free speech thing exciting? I mean afterall, you can post a comment here and it is never edited, it goes as you express it.

A nastier, more cynical person than myself might have the comments forum set in such a way that, for example, I would get to peek at them before I allowed them to be posted. That way, I would only have positive comments posted, but then, that would not really be free speech would it Sarah?

Now Sarah, my response.

"Never Shoot A Slingshot, If There Is A Chance That Someone May Shoot Back With A Cannon."

Thanks Sarah for reading my site, and want you to know, I love you all.

Lew Stoddard

Delbert McEwen said...


I just finished reading your last posting. From the position of the boys bodies in relation to each other, and with the Dad's body located across a river and over 2 miles distant, there is absolutely no way that one person alone could have carried this out.

I may have been a bit skeptial on this over the years, but when I read your documented account, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind.

Wilbert Coffin may have taken a few inconsequental items, but there is no way he could have done this, as there is no evidence as far as I know, of anyone being with him in the forest.

As far as robbery being the motive, I say Hogwash! Anyone who would have done this for robbery sake, would never have left 3 perfectly good high powered rifles lying there in the forest. They would have been worth considerable dollars.

You are opening my eyes on this, and am real anxious to read more.

Delbert McEwen
Saskatoon, Sask

dianepeter said...

Message to Gerard Burgione
Looking over your letter I decided to apply your own advise to it...Separate fact from fiction then take away what is the fiction.
You are right when I analysis your letter there is not a lot of facts left to talk about!
You should take Mr Stoddard's advice Go to the library and borrow the books written by Jacques Hubert, and Alton Price. In addition there is much you can find online to read. History channel made a show for History courtroom hosted by Mr Greenspan which will also be helpful to your education on this matter
Thank you
Diane Peter
Uncle Bill's Niece

dianepeter said...

Dear Dave Taggert
I would like to set your mind at ease as to this being the result of tensions between English and French in Quebec. Let me assure you that my family have the overwhelming love and support from the french in Gaspe. This summer I my sister cousin and mother (marie Coffin Stewart) started a petition to ask the gov't to reopen my uncle's case. It was incredible to see how many people at the local shopping center(french Speakers) who went to their cars got family members to come back inside to sign the petition. Others even when home to bring some back. Others walked around the different levels getting people to come to where i was so they could sign the petition. It was so awesome to have their support. Words cannot tell what it means to me and my family for their love and support
Diane Peter
Uncle Bill's Niece

dianepeter said...

Dear Sarah m
I am so glad that Mr Stoddard has the right to defend himself. That is so important if we are all to be free. can you imagine what it is like to have that right taken away be killed because you are not allowed to defend yourself. Can you imagine what it is like for a family to go through 50 years of not being allowed to have a voice to protest at the treatment one of them was subjected to . Can you imagine pain so great that we could not even speak about this to each other. Do you know what it is like to long to know your uncle but be powerless and voiceless to even ask why because you thought no one would hear or care? You know what though thanks to Mr Stoddard my family is learning just how many and how much people hear and love us. My God grant that Mr Stoddard keep on fighting for the forgotten voiceless people till justice is for us all. You know what because if it isn't for all... is it really for anyone.
Diane Peter
Uncle Bill's niece

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with your site, very nice graphics!

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,

First of all the Anonymous writer who has left a message in this post as well as the last post, with a link going to a casino site, please remove yourself from doing this again. This is serious blog that is going on. Have some respect!

Mr. Stoddard,

I have been waiting for this last posting, to find out more about the search of the 2 other Americans and what was found around their remains.

It seems to me, things are not at all the way they were portrayed way back in 1953. A fact that they sure did come to a very violent end is about the only fact that we can say was portrayed correctly. One thing missing, and am not sure if even known, is the approximate time of death that was given to the young Americans. Since there was such a distance from where the Elder American was found and the Young Americans, how much time difference was given for all the deaths. Could it have been hours? days? Surely there must have been some indication of this. It is very relevating to know that the cloths of the young hunters were placed in piles, as well as personal items such as a watch, ring, binoculars and were never stolen. Money missing in a wallet does not mean that a theft was performed, it could have simply meant that the hunter had no money in his wallet.

Rifle left behind, this was not stolen either. Why? Why were these items left behind?

Now Mr. Wilbert Coffin admitted to stealing some items from the truck that was left behind, and lets remember the items he had taken: binoculars, pair of jeans, camp stove, and the fuel pump that was not the right one.

According to the charges the motive for the Elder American murder was Theft. Why would Mr. Coffin leave the Young American's personal effects behind? Okay, we have a duplicate set of binoculars, but a ring, watch, a good rifle or 2. But then again, he was not charged for murder for all three American's was he? And since he was not charged, what did the investigators think happened to the 2 young Americans? Was there killer just left to walk away? And why Was Mr. Coffin not charged on those counts? We have to come back to the question of how long were the Young American killed after the Elder one. Why were their cloths piled and not ripped off their bodies and eaten by the bears like the Elder Hunter? And a very important fact for me, and should have been for the police back then, is the fact that boots were found, with a leg still in tact inside. Who would have taken the cloths off someone and then made them put their boots back on? Or taken the time to remove the cloths stuggling to get them over the boots?

I can understand Mr. Stoddard words from the beginning that we will not like all the facts in this story. That some of them will be horribly unbelievable.

I can also understand how some peoples would not want this case ever reopened. But one thing is very clear in my mind, if I was not already 100% positive of Mr. Coffin not being guilty of this horrifying crime I am now!

Keep going Mr. Stoddard, You are surely going to be able reach your goal.

To: Brendan Atkins,

Please remember that we are speaking of the 50's and not 2006. It is so easy for us today to say what we want, to feel relaxed enough and safe enough to voice our opinions as well to speak out when we feel injustice is being done. Back in the 50's, The government and the policing were quite intimidating, and further more we are speaking of a small town, where country folk are God fearing and respect the rules & laws with out questioning their integrity of the law enforcers ( Government included).

We have come along way, but his is why it is very important for people like Mr. Stoddard to pave the way and push the process in aiding the wrong doings of the past.

A Neice from Gaspe's Homeland

Lew Stoddard said...

Message To Neice Of Gaspe' Homeland

The questions that you ask will all be covered in the next couple of postings and at the conclusion of the story, when I will be outlining the Crown evidence, both factual and circumstantial, but I will let you in on this much, it is more than 99% circumstantial. Thank you so much for your interest, and your comments pertaining to this case are always very valid.

Lew Stoddard

Anonymous said...

I find some information here.

l.baker said...

i notice that whoever is putting up these anonymous comments with a link have also put them on some of the earlier comment pages!

Lew Stoddard said...

Just a note to everyone who comments on my site.....

As you may have noticed my comments site has been infiltrated many times. You will notice that the messages when the site has been infiltrated are always short ones with a link. If you click on that link, it will open up a page of advertizing for some casino.

The company who does this is registered in Gibralter, and I can assure you, there is absolutely no affillation with my web site "Stoddard Online" and this advertising company. As a matter of fact, I have no regard whatsoever, for any company who is too cheap to purchase their own advertising time, and carry on simply by stealing space from someone else.

Folks, you still leave your messages in the same way, however, in order to bring this to a grinding halt, it is necessary to type the large letters in the box under the message section, and the rest is the same way as always.

I hate to have to do this, but it was getting too annoying, so this was Googles suggestion to thwart the mechanical process of companies who do this. If you encounter any problems, please send me an e-mail. Now I get to try it out for myself. Thanks for all your support.

Lew Stoddard

Keith and Sandra Townley said...

Special Message To Lew Stoddard

Lew, you have done a wonderful job on your story so far, but this is a special little message to you personally.

I know this has been a very hard week for you, and justifiably so. I want to let you know though that you are in our thoughts and prayers during these tough days. Keep your spirits high Lew. May God richly "Bless You"

Your Friends always,

Keith and Sandra Townley
Edmonton, Alberta

debbie stewart, Wlbert Coffin's niece said...

Our entire family thanks you,and appreciates more than words your dedication and efforts to finding the truth about the murders of the three American hunters in the Gaspe, years ago. We also thank each and every encouraging reader. You have been blessing the hearts of my famiy members,more than you know.
We are a large family, and all four generations are carrying the deep pain of the loss of my Uncle Bill, to a gov't that would not take time to seek the truth,but was more interested in the American gov't on their back,and the tourism industry,etc. For those of you who have taken time to write your Member of Parliament, and who have signed the petition,(requesting a gov't review of the case), or who have circulated the petition in your area, we again say, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. The petition is still available,for anyone interested in signing it. Each signature counts. Justice for one helps ensure justice for all.
This is not about a case with cobwebs and dust that no one is effected by anymore. My Uncle Bill's case was important in the decision by Canada to abolish the death penalty...and today, those accused of a crime that would have warranted that penalty, are now imprisoned,rather than hung. And even today, there are still sadly those wrongly accused, suffering at the hands of the justice system. But they have a second chance. David Milgaard,and Stephen Truscott,their families and friends, and those of us who want to live in a country, where one can hope,and expect, to be treated with justice, are grateful.
The many citizens in our area of Gaspe, Quebec, both French and English ,who have come forth with information,and also shared memories of Uncle Bill's kindnesses to them or their family members, are making a big difference. So many, both French and English ,in our area, have shared their feeling that the Duplessis gov't was a very controlling, very,very corrupt gov't. They shared that they all felt,and still do, that my uncle was innocent,and tht they could not believe he was hung...they had all hoped and prayed ,like we did, up until the end, for justice, but it did not come. Many others across the country have written or phoned to say they are praying for Uncle Bill's name to be cleared,and the truth to finally be known. Now,hope that our family and friends and fellow citizens will be able to see that, is growing in our hearts.

B. Denny said...

Hi Lew Stoddard,

I know that you have been under the weather for the past while. I know that you are now up and about again, and am so glad to hear that. Thinking about you, and looking forward to your next posting of the story.

B. Denny from
"The Money Matters Show"

james coffin said...

we would like to thank Lew Stoddard for the great work he is doing on the site for the family. We are not on a witch hunt here we are all just trying to get my dads name cleared once and for all if there is anyone who can come forward with real information your indemnity will not be reveled if you wish. if you were a former police officer who seen anything that might help or a witness to some information that will help in some way or just a well informed person about the case. please please we are only trying to get the real truth out watch this site for more breaking news the Coffin family will be setting up a site to help people go to so you can sign a petition and we can get it off too Mr. Harper once again please come forward with any helpful information or you may e-mail Mr.Stoddard at again thank you for all who have come forward so far lets keep it coming in