Monday, September 10, 2007

THE WILBERT COFFIN STORY
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THE CONCLUSION
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PART FIVE
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Approximately one week later on June 21, 1953 the fears of many connected with the case now became reality. The skeletal remains of two human beings were found approximately two and a half miles from that which had been identified as the remains of Eugene Lindsey. These latest findings were in close proximity to camp 26. It has been reported over the years that these two sets of remains were found together. They were not. In reality they were found several hundred feet apart, and on opposite sides of The St. John River of the Gaspe' peninsula. This fact may seem minor and insignificant, however, it could play an enormous role in actual causes of death.
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Without doubt, this possible crime scene had all the trappings of the worst ever dealt with by the Quebec Provincial Police. Never in recorded history of the department had a more gruesome scene presented itself for investigation. Obviously, this investigation would command the best in investigative procedures. There simply was no room for error. The parameters were well defined. If at this point you are of the opinion that all is well with the search, investigation, and follow up, I suggest that you take a deep breath and read on.
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The skeletal remains of two human bodies were relatively intact, though bearing the signs of the intervention of forest animals, namely black bears. The flesh was gone from the bones, thus complicating not only positive identifucation, but visible cause of death. Wallets found nearby would give the searchers the first positive signs of identification. The wallets would contain only an insignificant amount of cash. Personal effects such as a ring and watch would be found near the remains as well, as if placed there by an outside source. Truly, this was a crime scene that would require study. A lot of it. Was this done? Read on and you be the judge.
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In keeping with a botched investigation, the bones of both skeletons were placed in cardboard boxes and placed in the cargo area of a pickup truck bound for Gaspe' town. This decision was made after reaching the provincial medical officer, Dr. Roussell. Dr. Roussell would simply come to Gaspe' and prepare his report in the basement of the police station, whereupon he would study the skeletal remains. Though fifty- four years later there is absolutely no question in my mind that these remains were those of Richard Lindsey and Frederick Claar, I am completely astounded as to the cold and callous means used in the identification process, considering that a man would eventually hang based on the findings.
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The autopsy reports as prepared by Dr. Roussell can hardly be described as professional. There is absolutely nothing in those reports that remotely identify a cause of death in either body in spite of the fact Dr. Roussell maintains that cause of death was administered by a firearm. This "fact" was arrived at in the absense of a murder weapon, spent shell casings, bullets and/or bullet fragments, and as well, not one broken bone in either body. Dr. Roussell was further able to state that Frederick Claar had been shot five times. He would further state that in the case of Richard Lindsey, that Master Lindsey slowly bled to death over the course of many hours. Again it is important to consider here that Dr. Roussell determined these findings with no flesh or blood vessels left on the bones.
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An interesting aspect with regard to Richard Lindsey was the fact that his fully loaded cocked rifle was found some two hundred feet from his skeleton. Further it was determined that the muzzle of his rifle was filled with mud and debris. Later it would be established that the muzzle became clogged during the scuffle which ended his life. Common sense was evidenced by the fact that young Richard would have been very well versed on firearm safety and would have surely known that if the rifle was to have been fired with a clogged muzzle, it would have meant an almost certain explosion. After all, this particular hunting party from Pennsylvania were members of The Pennsylvania Association Of Sportsmens Clubs and would therefore be aware of firearms care and safety. In other words, they possessed good equipment, and were thoroughly knowledgeable in it's operation.
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With the confirmed discovery of all three members of the Lindsey/Claar hunting party now apparent, the most massive judicial proceeding in the history of Quebec was about to take shape. This would be no ordinary murder case. It involved not only the Gaspe' peninsula, but the government of the province at Quebec City as well. The worst part was, this case had it's tenacles piercing the government of Canada at Ottawa, who in turn was fielding crushing blows from the government of Pennsylvania and the government of the United States Of America at Washington, DC. This case must wrap, and it must wrap quickly. In other words, find a suspect, and build a case.
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On the day of discovery of the remains of Eugene Lindsey, Sgt. Henri Doyon, officer in charge of the Gaspe' detachment of the Quebec Provincial Police commenced his official investigation of the affair. As a result of scrutiny of reports that I am in possession of, it was common place for Sgt. Doyon to request assistance for serious crimes that required travel and knowledge of the surrounding woods. This time was no exception. He telephoned Captain Raoul Sirois, officer in charge of traffic for Quebec for the Quebec Provincial Police. His request was simple. He asked for and received permission for Constable Lewis Sinnett to work with him on the investigation. As in other cases Cst. Sinnett's knowledge was invaluable. He knew the forests, and he knew the people. He was also totally bilingual.
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On the same day as the discovery of the remains of Richard Lindsey and Frederick Claar, an unusual police vehicle would arrive at the detachment office in Gaspe'. This vehicle was decked out with a bed and a chauffeur. The vehicle was transporting a hand picked officer. He had been hand picked by Maurice Duplessis. His name was Captain Alphonse Matte.
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Captain Matte had one question for Sgt. Doyon. Who was the last person to have seen these American tourists alive? Sgt. Doyon responded by saying that a local man, Wilbert Coffin, had been seen some weeks back with one of the Americans in Gaspe'. They were trying to obtain a part for a vehicle.
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Captain Matte's reaction was sure and swift. He stated,"I am now in charge of this investigation and I want to learn everything about this Wilbert Coffin." And so it began, in reality on this day Wilbert Coffin would take his first step on the way to the gallows at Bordeaux nearly three years later. The reason for this was simple. From that point of time onward, no other suspect would be considered, and no other course of action was ever contemplated. Wilbert Coffin was now the mouse, and Captain Alphonse Matte was the cat.
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We have finally reached that point in the story where you will see an entirely different case being constructed. It is not being built by circumstantial or hypothetical situations. It is assembled from facts that have always been there, but never touched upon by the judiciary or the media. If it had been and been presented in a court of law, I am confident that Wilbert Coffin would have lived to see old age.
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I know there are some who insist on a quick answer to all this. Allow me to reiterate. I have worked with Lani Mitchell on this case for nearly sixteen months. I would be allowing an injustice, not only to the families involved, but to myself and Lani as well if the results of our findings were not presented in a well orchestrated and dignified manner. Indeed, we are hopeful that the fruits of our labour will be a contributing factor in the eventual overturning of this case. We will never deviate from that course.
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I am further convinced that when you see the exact case that we will present, you will be in agreement that the story had to be told. This story has been around for some fifty-four years for anyone to research and investigate. I have chosen to do that, and I am glad that I did. It makes one appreciate what hard work is all about, but more importantly, it makes one realize what can be accomplished. The "Untold Wilbert Coffin Story" will be presented here on the web site in just a few days. Thank you again for being a great audience.
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Lew Stoddard
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This manuscript is protected by copyright. Reproduction in whole or in part, for whatever reason, is not permitted without the express written permission by the author, Lew Stoddard.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello and good afternoon,

I have kept up with your story for the last few months and beleive you are doing a wonderful job. My one question is seeing as though it is being told in a story fashion and we all keep coming back to hear the end, Does Marie Stewart know the conclusion please tell me that she has been consulted and knows the outcome of your fidings rather than prolonging the story of her brother even further. I admire your dedication and the support you have given teh Coffin family and the fact that you are uncovering things that have never been unearthed in the past but I hope that Marie has the conclusion locked away in her heart and not suspense as the rest of us.

StoddardOnline said...

Suggestion for Anonymous. . .

You are seeking an answer to a question concerning Marie Stewart. I would suggest that you contact Marie Stewart directly, or for that matter, any member of her family.

Lew Stoddard

Anonymous said...

So, when will we know who the guilty party is? I hope it's not going to take another fifty years.

Bent said...

Anonymous,

Stories like these have to be written and presented in the fashion that is suitable to the writer. Are you one of those who needs instant gratification? It is easy to write whatever the heck you want without regard for the writer or the other people on here when you call yourself anonymous. It is nice to hide behind the anonymity isn't it?

Your sarcasm is out of line.
Lew is doing a great job. Display some patience will you?

Bent

Gus Mitchell said...

On 12 September, 2007, anonymous said
"So, when will we know who the guilty party is? I hope it's not going to take another fifty years."

I doubt that we will ever know who the real guilty party or parties were. The intent of this investigation right from the start was not to try to find the guilty but rather to bring forth a stronger case that Wilbert Coffin was given an unfair trial based on circumstantial and manipulated evidence and that the case should be re looked at with the intent of having his name cleared.

Based on evidence that has been uncovered by Lew and Lani it is possible to present a very plausible, but speculative, scenario of an entirely different series of events compared to the ones that were presented at the trial.That alone, should be enough to cast doubt and have the case re looked at. Whether that will actually happen is anyones guess as it depends entirely on the will of the politicians and it is not an issue that is paramount to their election or re-election.

It is almost impossible 50+ years after the case to definitively come to a conclusion as to who were the real killer(s) as most of the main characters are now deceased. Unless someone who is still living and who has new evidence that would stand up in court comes forth Wilbert Coffin will never be declared innocent of the crime. The best we can hope for is, like in the Truscott case, Wilbert Coffin be acquitted based on a miscarriage of justice.

There are apparently still a few people alive that claim they have "the true story" but unfortunately, for whatever reason, they chose not to divulge their information.

When Lew does finally present his final conclusion one has to remember that again, it is a speculative one based on evidence, and cannot be taken as fact

Gus Mitchell
Vancouver

Anonymous said...

I am a member of the Coffin family and I would like to take this opprotunity to thank Lew and Lani for all their hard work and dedication to help clear our family name. I think we are all getting caught up in the postings as a novel rather than actual facts of a real life event that took place. I personally do not know the outcome of Lews postings what matters here is the awareness Lani and Lew have brought to the case and the evidence, many letters and petitions and fundraising that has been brought forward due to this site. Again perhaps Lew does not have the answer to who commited these crimes but I do beleive that he has proven over and over that Wilbert Coffin should not have been hung and that there is enough evidence for re opening of the case to CLEAR the Coffin name. The evidence and the portrait that Lew has painted in our minds and those of many Canadians through this site is a far stronger case than the case built against Wilbert Coffin back in the 50's I beleive in my mind that the purpose is to educate our fellow canadians and to try and clear Wilberts Coffin's name. Now in 2007 nothing can bring back Wilbert Coffin nor change the effects he may or may not have had on many lives over the years the point is to let him rest in peace and to give the Coffin family closure. Lew your dedication and courage is admired and I thank you for emersing yourself into this cause like no one including our own family has ever had the courage, know how or means to do before. Any doubt put out there to the guilt of Wilbert Coffin is a step forward.

Keep up the good work

Marion Coffin

Lani Baker Mitchell said...

Thanks Marion. We appreciate your kind words. What Gus says is true. We will never be able to ' point a finger' and have the real killers of the American hunters brought to justice. However, the evidence we have uncovered is So compelling, and was SO available to ( and was SO ignored by) the investigators of the day, that a concerned, caring and WISE government would certainly want to do the right thing!
As for the few people that I know wish to remain silent, while I have always had some understanding of your reluctance to speak up,the complete details concerning this tragedy can only be sorted out with your help.Certainly Wilbert Coffin was not the only one in the Gaspé forests during those days...I know in fact it was a rather ' busy place.' I can be reached at bakerkid@gmail.com if anyone wishes to contact me about the case. Your name will never be divulged without your permission to do so. Please help!

Sandra Doucette said...

Memo to "Anonymous"

It is obvious that you know just enough about this case for the majority of Canadians to know that you really know nothing about it at all.

I know nothing about you in real life. You may have swam with the dolphins, you may have won a Nobel Peace Prize, you may have discovered a way to stamp out world poverty. Who knows? You may even have walked on the Lunar surface. Some might even suggest that you are still there!

The bottom line is simply "get serious." Show some respect for what someone is trying to do, especially when they are accomplishing what could not be done in a half century.

I personally paid Lew Stoddard a visit yesterday. He was kind enough to brief me on the balance of his writings coming up, regarding the Coffin affair. I shook my head in amazement as I looked at his computer. In approximately one hour, I saw the results of nearly a year and a half of hard work, dedication, and a sheer desire.

I can assure you, there is much more to come in the next week or so. It is time that you acted the part of a grown-up.

Lew Stoddard is nothing more than the messenger delivering the news to an uninformed public of what actually happened in Gaspe' in 1953. This is not the time to "shoot the messenger."

One final thing, you keep asking about a conclusion and when those responsible will be named. As Lew has suggested many times, never, never, skim a literary piece. It is apparent that you are still skimming because If you scroll backward two or three postings, you will find that the names have been there for nearly a month. I do hope that this helps you somewhat.

Sandra Doucette
Mission, British Columbia

Anonymous said...

I understand how frustrating it is to wait and wait and wait but really whats the hurry? it has been over 50 years and Mr. Stoddard is not sitting at his desk wondering how to get us to come back and read. he is not laughing and saying I wonder how long everyone will hang in here....He is making sure he tells the story right. making sure the facts are indeed the facts. and please don't forget that mr. stoddard is ill also so everytime he does a post be thankful that he is well enough to do it! I have no patience either but i understand the time and effort he has put in to this case. I truely believe that when he is done his last post we will sit back and say Dang it was there in front of us all this time!!!! Take care Lew and GOd bless!

Anonymous said...

Suddenly everyone has gone very quite on this site. There has not been a comment made in twelve days…this is good. We are learning patience, I believe…
looking forward to the conclusion...

Lew Stoddard said...

A Message To All From Lew Stoddard/

You are correct, the site has been quiet for quite a few days, though I stress, it was not planned that way.

The rigors of chemotherapy treatment, coupled with a visit with the hospital created a very unfavourable atmosphere for me.

After approximately one year, the treatments have now been suspended and I am feeling much better. Long way to go yet, but progress is being made.

I want to let everyone know that a new posting will appear this week-end. My story is completely written. I just have to edit and put a few finishing touches on the dividing points, so that it can be presented in logical correlation.

Throughout this latest medical obstacle, I have kept in touch with the Coffin family. In speaking several times with Marie in the past few weeks I have learned that she is about to commence radiation treatments. I ask you to join me in wishing her well.

Once again, Thanks for being a patient audience, and I am looking forward to your comments and discussions when this wraps up completely.

Lew Stoddard
Host of "Stoddard Online"

Anonymous said...

Something you were feeling very secure about is no where near the deal you seem to think it is you are just another reporter playing in the lives of the Coffin family,you may be very ill as you say, but if you have finished writing it post it, sir you have already lost alot of credibility in the game you seem to be playing,or are you waiting for that publisher to come along and make you the right offer for your book, what makes you more believable than any other reporter, who has told the story of Wilbert Coffin in the past its now come time to put up or shut up sir.

Nephew Rick said...

To; Oct.2 anony.
If there were about 500 more Lew Stoddards and a few less anonys, the world I believe, would be a far better place. The Province of British Columbia is blessed with his presence as is Canada. If a few more people with the talents of Lew would work towards improving the justice system there would be less innocent people in jail and their families being put through hell. All our lives are built on hope and that is what Lew has provided the Coffin family and others. I hope you understand that getting convictions overturned is playing cards with someone who has stacked the deck. Looking forward to your next posting Lew.