Friday, August 31, 2007

THE WILBERT COFFIN STORY

THE CONCLUSION

PART 4.
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To the consternation of many, the Holy Scriptures do not teach us that money is the root of all evil. It does teach us however, that the "love" of money is the root. As this story plays out to the final curtain, this fact will become more and more evident.

.Let us review for a moment what we have to date. We have one group of people in the Gaspe' woods dreaming of striking it rich from the minerals in the ground. This group is aware of confirmed mineral content in some of the established claims, and are now prepared to mount resistance to anyone offering any degree of competition.

.In the opposite direction, this same group must be prepared to negotiate with those who might be willing to buy out a claim at a profit or at an inflated price. Suddenly, the free enterprize capitalistic system appears to veer off track. It gets scary. One has to quickly decide, does one's friends suddenly become the silent enemy, or perhaps were some of those that were designated as enemies over the years really surface as friends after all? .At this point, no matter which side they are aligned with, they have a common denominator, the "love" of money. On the other side of the coin, there is always the fast buck artist. They outright steal claims, they make deals, they falsely promote. They have always been there, and always will be. Their motive is simple, get in and make money.

.It appears that no matter how some people make their money, they have a built in system that encourages them to brag. They simply do not know how to keep their mouth shut. It is no different in the mining business, the haves and the have nots. With the claims of Wilbert Coffin's group, there were those who drew attention to the situation in their daily activities. A good example was Jack Eagle. Jack operated an illegal booze can on the Gaspe' coast. Many knew of this venture, many did not, including some of his close relatives and friends. I really have no quarrel with someone who has decided to independently run a business, except it attracts the unsavoury when it is operated outside the parameters of law.

.Mr. Eagle himself, openly bragged of the value of his claims adjacent to those of Wilbert Coffin. He also bragged of the value of those claims which he owned on the outside extremity of the main group of claims. Perhaps he did this to create hype and to encourage others to invest their money, but either way, someone is always listening with a plan.

.It is now necessary to back up in the story to the first week of June, 1953. In Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, Eugene Lindsey, his son Richard, and family friend, Fred Claar are making final plans for their fateful journey to the Gaspe' peninsula. Richard and Fred are excited about the trip, a chance to go bear hunting in Canada. Eugene is not caught up in the excitement. He has made the trip several times in the past. The one main thing that would be occupying Eugene Lindsey's mind this time would be the possibility of making a few bucks in the mining game in Canada.

.On a prior visit to the area, Eugene had expressed interest in how the system worked. In his home region, Eugene had confided to others his interest as well. Eugene Lindsey was not worried or concerned about raising the necessary capital to become involved in the mining exploration game. He would always carry sufficient cash on his person to satisfy the needs of any new venture, plus he had the added feature of having instant access to further funds back home if the need arose. He was in perfect condition to broaden his horizons.

.As most know who are familiar with this story will know, this venture into the forest would be the last for Eugene Lindsey and his party. At the hands of a person or persons unknown, the fate of these three American citizens was sealed. Three questions arise. By whose hands, why, and how? In order that a true picture emerge, it is necessary to study each murder systematically to determine the order each individual death played in the total crime involving the three individuals
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Let us begin with the killing of Eugene Lindsey. On July 15, 1953 a headless corpse was found in the vicinity of Camp 24 in the Gaspe' woods. Firstly, I want to make it clear to you why these camps are named as they are. For years we have been reading of Camp 21, camp 24, and camp 26 and so on. I can only assume that those who came before and wrote never bothered asking. I am a nosey sort, things bother me if I don't know the answer. I have to admit that the late Constable Lewis Sinnett was kind enough to explain the names in a written statement that I have been fortunate to obtain. The numbers in each camp name merely denotes the mileage that the camp is located from the pavement or main highway, thus making it very easy to navigate in the area within the network of roads.

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With the news of the discovery of the partial human skeleton in the forest, news services from across North America were buzzing with the story. Details did not appear to matter. It appeared that the people would believe anything. After all, they were describing the wilds of eastern Canada, way out there on the Gaspe' peninsula. Except for Canadians, the rest of the world would not know where it was located anyway. The more bizzare the tale, the more believable it was. Each new tale encouraged the next one and so on.
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It was now prudent to assume that a case of murder, or at the very least, a case involving a death of very mysterious circumstances was rearing it's ugly head. The provincial pathologist, Dr. Jean-Marie Roussell was delivered to the area. His job was well pronounced, to identify the body, and establish the time and cause of death.

Let us set something straight for the record here and now. Unfolding was a case of monumental proportions. The Quebec Provincial Police were not capable of satisfactorily bringing the matter to conclusion. One has only to follow the chain of events following the discovery of the body parts to arrive at that conclusion. Here we have a search party of some twenty men tramping around in every direction, with absolutely no direction. You may ask, why was that? The answer is simple. Those leading the search party had no training. One cannot blame the searchers themselves, they were everyday ordinary working people who had left their respective places of employment to assist.

.The actions of Captain Raoul Sirois as head of the search team speaks volumes as to the mentality of some of the leaders. This particular captain exhibited bravery above and beyond the call of duty. Single handedly Captain Sirois took on a black bear in the area. Captain Raoul was forced to employ deadly force with his own service revolver to take down the bear. The only thing that tarnished this act of heroism was the fact that the bear was already dead when he fired his first shot. Captain Sirois did accomplish one thing however. He managed to tarnish a very important exhibit within the crime scene when he filled the dead bear full of lead. The carcass of that bear should have had an autopsy performed on it to establish the cause of death.

.It was impossible to pin-point an exact cause of death of the remains. This was due in part to the fact that it had lain exposed to the elements for several weeks. During that several weeks, scavengers had played an important and obvious role. Hungry and marauding black bears are not known for their table manners while foraging for food after a long hard winter. This was particularly evident considering the fact that the body had been dragged across a small river. Birds of prey would also be a factor.

.Based on the condition of the remains, exact identification would be next to impossible. The head and torso region of the body were never found, therefore complicating identification. Clarence Claar, father of Fred Claar suggested that if the body was that of Eugene Lindsey, he could be identified by his long finger nails.

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It is also important to note that an exact time of death could not be established. There was no forensic testing done. There were only fragments of clothing remaining in bear droppings in the area. The remaining bones were then gathered up and put in a cardboard box and transported by truck to Gaspe' town for storage and further study leading to positive identification.
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I want to make it clear here. There is no doubt in my mind that the skeletal remains gathered from the forest floor were none other than those of Eugene Lindsey from Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. I do though take exception to the sloppy methods utilized for what would be termed as proving positive identification. Dr. Roussell would later state that the long finger nails did exist, but in addition he had employed more scientific means determining the identity of the remains. Dr. Roussell did not state exactly what the scientific means consisted of. I suggest that he did not state what the scientific means was, simply because there was no scientific means used. In reality, if some heat had been applied to Dr. Roussell as in a modern court of law, he would have fallen apart.
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If you are thinking that Dr. Roussell acted and performed in a very callous and unprofessional manner, I suggest that you pay close attention to this story from now until conclusion. I suggest to you that this so called professional from the province of Quebec was overflowing with bias, leaning heavily toward conviction, when in fact, he should have been an arms length away. You are going to see how the prosecution in this case embarked upon a cause of death a total of three times, and in all three instances, the cause of death was declared to be from gunshot wounds. I suppose one could say there is nothing too startling about that. Possibly not, but read on. There is something startling though when this conclusion is arrived at in the absense of a firearm, spent cartridge cases, bullets and bullet fragments, and not one broken bone in three bodies. It gets better when Dr. Roussell will declare that one victim had been shot "five" times. Without doubt, I am convinced that Dr. Roussell's findings should qualify for inclusion into a publication such as "Ripley's Believe It Or Not". Without doubt, when all is said and done with reference to provincial pathologist Dr. Roussell in this case, I am of the opinion that the province of Quebec, and more specifically, The Quebec Provincial Police did not serve and represent the people in a fair manner.

It is not uncommon for those trying to cover up or sway belief in something to expose a far bigger gap that will eventually bring them down. The judiciary of Quebec did a grand job of deception throughout this case. In most instances though, they did not do a good job of covering their tracks. They refused to look beyond the box in their prosecution methods, and at the same time, they appear blind to the fact that some day, some time, and from somewhere, someone would trip them up. I am speaking specifically of the autopsy reports on all three victims in this crime. I have talked about it a bit in the past, however, I am now able to speak with much more certainty. Shortly, I shall be presenting to you the crime scene, depicting the death of Richard Lindsey and Fred Claar. At that time, I shall show you actual copies of the autopsy reports. I shall also show you two instances from those same reports that completely destroys the crown's theory as to cause of death.

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This is where I shall leave you in this posting. It is a sad ending today because it closes the door on a fellow human being. True, you may not have liked Mr. Lindsey a lot but he had a right to life as do all of us. It was the love of money that brought him to Quebec in this particular instance driving a 1947 Green Ford Truck. It was now someone else's greater love for money that forced his trip back to Pennsylvania in the same 1947 Green Ford truck. This time though, someone else would be doing the driving. A cardboard box containing the skeletal remains of Eugene Lindsey would be one of the three pieces of cargo on the back of the truck, forming a pitiful reminder that life is precious and fragile.
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It is necessary to include all these elements into the overall story. It is sometimes the little things, the things that others do not bother with, that provide the key to open the big door. I shall also tell you that those I have named as perpetrators of these crimes will be coming back into the story very very soon.

Posted by Lew Stoddard
This manuscript is protected by copyright. Reproduction in whole or in part, by whatever means, is not permitted without the express written permission of the author Lew Stoddard.

16 comments:

Bent said...

This is shaping up very well, Lew. It is also shaping up in a way to prove that it is never too late to embark on a cold case and try to solve it. You did it with a case from 1953.
I am trying to do the same thing on a case that is from 1959. The murder of Lynne Harper. Now that Steven Truscott's innocence is a fact, it is certainly time for all of us to attempt to identify Lynne's killer.
We need help from sharp people like yourself, Lew.

My sincere thanks goes out to you and Lani for doing such a great job on the Coffin case.
I also want to once more state the respect I have for Wilbert's sister Marie and his son Jim. You are two wonderfully strong and compassionate people!
With respect,
Bent

V McLean said...

lew I think that you have done a very thorough job as well.I know there is still stuff to do but it sure makes a lot of sense now. much more than what some of those other ideas did over the years.

V McLean
Calgary

Janice Mulheron said...

I do agree with you Sir, whether we like Mr. Lindsey or not has no real bearing on the fact that he died needlessly by someone who was willing to snuff out anothers life to build their own lifestyle.

I am impressed with your opening lines to this particular posting. A good example of the love of money to be sure. Keep up the good work Sir.

Janice Mulheron
Regina, Sask

Anonymous said...

Mr. Stoddard, with all due respect, sir, as I do believe you are performing a public service here long over due,however you are backtracking on this posting you have shown instaed of moving forward with new details.You talk about the bear shooting,You say you will next give us the full autopsy report but you have already talked about this bear event and given us a full autopsy report in the past.There is not a thing new in this post. Your present approach is beyond me sir.I am confounded as to why you are not moving forward with the men who were the killers and how they were involved as you had stated so empathically you would do in the your next post. That is what we want to know now.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous.
Lew: You have done a wonderful job with this topic but it is beginning to look like you either don't have a conclusion or, for some reason, you are consciously just dragging it out. This is about the forth time you have rehashed the Lindsay autopsy. If you do have a conclusion in mind, then time to move forward and conclude. Frankly, the post is getting a little boring with all the recaps.

Thanks for all your hard work.

Lew Stoddard said...

This is a comment reply to Comments 4 and 5 from anonymous. I shall address them collectively as I do know they are authored by the same person.

Firstly, you are quite right, I have bounced back and forth at times. You used the autopsy reports as an example. I would suggest to you that you review each time what I have written. You will discover, there is something in each that sets it apart from the previous writing. This is usually in the form of supporting documentation.

Unfortunately, all information does not appear at my door at the same time, making it necessary to update.

Had you taken the time to read the last posting, you would have seen as well the notation that the three individuals that I have named will be re-entering the story very very soon. You have to learn to read and absorb. You cannot skim. This is one of the reasons why it is necessary to sometimes repeat. Many folks get into a rush, and in doing so, lose the complete focus of a story.

To repeat myself one more time, I am not planning a book, nor am I writing for a newspaper publication. Therefore, I am not bound by a set guidlines as laid out by an editor. My mandate is and always has been since commencing this project to simply investigate and report my findings, no matter where the path may lead. Perhaps if others would have taken that stand over the past half century, this case could have been put to rest years ago.

I am not interested in repeating all the garbage that has been so prevalent over the years in this case. I am however, interested in providing to my readers, a fair unbiased report based on factual evidence. If that means repeating here and there, then so be it, because down deep Sir, I know that you wouldn't want it any other way.

Thank you for reading my site Sir and taking a few moments to comment. I will close with my own mission statement, " Your opinion may not parallel mine, however, I will argue until the end of time for your right to express it."

Thanks again,

Lew Stoddard

Simon said...

you are good with your words lew and keep the story going because more and more comes out. as for those that bitch tell them to go and watch cartoons becase more at there level to understand. Thankyou sir.

Simon Lemaire
Riviere du Loup

M and P Barnes said...

A quick note to the Coffin family to let you know that we support your efforts to clear Wilberts name and I think it will happen. The results of Steven Truscotts case is encouragement that things can happen in spite of years of agony. It has been good to be able to increase the awareness of this campaign on this site.

You are truly fortunate for the efforts of a few folks working on the case. Best of luck to you all.

M and P Barnes
Barrie, Ontario

Fran McBrine said...

Have enjoyed your writing and the dedication that you have put into this from the beginning. People who comment on here in a negative way regarding your work really do not have a lot of intelligence. If they did they would realize a little bit of what has to happen to be able to prepare and complete this project. I say carry on Mr. Stoddard in whatever fashion necessary to reach closure.

Fran McBrine
Penticton, B C

Ron Haywood said...

I agree completely with Ms. McBrine. This story has been presented well considering the passage of time. Keep it up Sir.

Ron Haywood
Cranbrook

Anonymous said...

I am looking at the woods gate permits for entering the woods. The Americans had a ten day stay. How did anyone know if people who had a permit for a certain number of days, if they had stayed longer…was there a way to know if anyone left the woods after their permit had expired…..because the Americans had a permit for 10 days and were there for over 30, and no one at the woods gate noticed.. no one in the town noticed, no one traveling the woods around the areas of the camps noticed……so what this is saying is that in 30 days there was not a soul went around the area of camp 21, 24,or camp 26… why was this…the woods permit I see are for the 6,06,1953 to the 9, 06, 1953…. on the woods permits for the whole month of June would it show who entered the woods after the American hunters did….….through any of the woods gates in Gaspe…. Mr. Annett in his statement told that the gate stayed open between midnight and 5 am on June 10, 1953…this could mean the woods gate was unattended and anyone could have gone in or out without being seen….…I believe it was left open for a reason…...also the forest warden, Jerry Patterson, did he not make rounds in the forest for 30 days… it seems no one could have been around camp 21,24 or camp 26, for over 30 days, or they would have came upon the remains of the American hunters…also when the call came that the American hunters had not returned home, it seems that they found the abandon vehicle very quickly…on the first day of the search…… this I am finding very very strange…..with everyone passing through the woods that this vehicle was not noticed as sitting there for 30 days, abandon…….this woods and the camp areas were very well traveled in 1953 in June, it is hard to believe that not one person, or persons stumbled upon the bodies of the hunters…seeing how after they were reported missing, it took only five days for the local searchers to find the remains…...
I also noticed in post of 29 sept, 2006 a piece where the provincial police was asking (verify on all cars that entered the forest since the beginning of the searches… (And try also to find the car that lost the metal circle of a headlight)
Then on your post of October 21, 2006 of the trial in Perce, I noticed the statement of Jack Eagle, apparently his truck had a front end accident,on one side... he explained it away as happening in 1952…..he said he found pieces of left side headlight… (Could this vehicle have been missing the metal circle of a headlight, the one the police were asking about?)
I have to say, this was a messed up investigation that took place in 1953……

Lew Stoddard said...

Message to all those folks named "Anonymous" This seems to be a very popular name.

A few days ago "Anonymous" was critical because I tend to repeat myself. I explained that in most cases that is because some folks do not read, they skim.

Today I notice Anonymous is asking many questions in his/her comment. Each and everything that you ask, plus commentary on things that you suggest have been covered in previous postings to this story.

In order that I might adequately address all your concerns, I would have to re-write the complete story. Guess what? I have no intention of doing that!

I will suggest to you however, that you pick a nice quiet spot, away from the rat race of life, and re-read the story starting at the beginning, except this time, absorb what you are reading and do not skim.

Give it an honest try, and then if you are having difficulty with a particular part, give me another call.

Lew Stoddard
Host Of "Stoddard Online"

Anonymous said...

Your intentions and work are good. Does that mean you can not accept critique? You do repeat yourself often. The grammar and run-on sentences do make your work more difficult to comprehend. You have noted you would update more often. You have since defended your work, but not posted anything new. Is there a conclusion?

Nephew Rick said...

Rest assured that Lew is doing his best to publish the conclusions to this historical miscarriage of justice. We hope that anyone that has more, or new information, continue to contact Lew. All new information is thoroughly researched by Lew and this takes time. Your patience and understanding are most appreciated. Keep on hunting Lew.

Lew Stoddard said...

Just a quick note to anonymous. . .Isn't free speech exciting?

I assume that you are responding to my last comment where I suggested that you take some time away from life in the fast lane and re-read the complete story.

I suggested that if you were still having comprehension problems that perhaps you would contact me again. It would appear that comprehension problem has reared it's ugly head again.

You see, being a man of very few words such as myself, I shall be as brief as possible in my reply to your question as to whether there is a conclusion or not.

Your question is quite timely actually. I had actually attempted a new segment last evening, however, technology prevented the complete text from posting, so alas, I am stuck for one more day.

But you know what? Someone once said, "there is a silver lining in every cloud." This cloud is no different. There is a reason for everything. I had no sooner made the decision to abort the posting for a day and I received a courier envelope.

This envelope contained a personal letter actually written in 1972 to a dead man. The dead man was Wilbert Coffin. I shall be publishing exerpts from that letter, and hope to be able to edit and include some of the text from the letter in this posting.

The person who wrote the letter was one of the major players early on in the Wilbert Coffin story.

So you see, again I stress, review the story so that it is fresh in your mind, then the conclusion will be so very much more meaningful for you.

I know it is difficult sometimes to concentrate on a fifty plus year old murder case when you are surrounded by all that beautiful Autumn weather out there in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Thank you once again for your continued support of the "Stoddard Online" web site.

Lew Stoddard
Host of "Stoddard Online"

Anonymous said...

Post 13 is not from the same person who earlier asked you for a conclusion.
(Why bother to falsely state that you are able to tell when two posts were from the same person???)

I am writing from ONTARIO, and WAS interested in your point of view. I now find it rather hard to believe you are open to more than one point of view, and that would cloud anyone's judgement in an investigation. (Isn't that what you've been saying all along about investiagtors of the day??? applies to you too!)
As a reader I feel you do not value my time or my feedback. You have thrown insults clearly intended for someone else. I simply would like to read new information, something you stated would be published here.