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Mira Loma History
Riverside County, California

Wineville Chicken Murders
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Wineville Chicken Murders
by John Kurz of the Rubidoux Historical Society
Written 5 October 1988

For twenty-five years, I have heard the story of brutal murders of children in the Wineville District and that it was so notorious that in 1931, the name of the town, Wineville, was changed to Mira Loma, which means "view of the hills." The date of the murders was about 15 May, 1928.

Excerpts of the news accounts:
Riverside Press, Saturday, September 15, 1928, "Evidence of gruesome murders uncovered in Wineville district."

"Boy detained at Los Angeles detention home tells officers almost unbelievable story of crimes committed by rancher, Stewart Northcott." Sanford Clark, 15, tells this account of his uncle, Gordon Stewart Northcott, 21 years old:

Clark said he was kidnapped from Saskachewan, Canada, two years ago and brought to the Northcott ranch, held prisoner and was abused and beaten. He told a story of vicious degeneracy and brutality, and that his uncle was a degenerate of the worst type. Clark told of where to find two graves, one of Walter Collins and the other, Lewis Winslow, 12 and Nelson Winslow, 10, of Pomona, fifty yards from the chicken house on the Northcott ranch.

The chicken ranch was five miles south east of Wineville (now Mira Loma), off of Etiwanda Blvd. (on Wineville Ave in Riverdale area). Investigators found an axe and bones, hair, and fingers in lime were found. Cyrus George Northcott, 62, father of Gordon Northcott, recently brought a load of lime to the Northcott Poultry ranch, Riverside County Sheriff Clem Sweeters investigated.

September 17, "father admits son admitted murders to him." Bodies were said to have been "cut into pieces and thrown promiscuously over the ranch." It was also said that Gordon Stewart Northcott cut off the head of a Mexican boy at El Monte and carried the head to the "murder farm." The body was found several weeks ago in Puente, in a burlap bag. The bodies were never found, but graves soaked with blood, bones and fingers were found.

This story ran from Sept 15 to October 1930 in the Riverside Daily Press and the Corona Daily Independent and other newspapers nationwide.

Gordon Northcott fled to Canada as did his mother, Louisa Northcott, and his sister, Winnefred Clark, mother of Sanford Clark, who told police of the terrible murders. There was a time when Northcott's sister wzas missing and the authorities thought he had killed her also.

September 20, 1928, Northcott was arrested at Okanagan Landing near Vernon, British Columbia,. He dinied all charges. His mother was arrested at Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

From the "murder room" at the Wineville Ranch was a fly-leaf paper from a book, which a letter from the Winslow boys had written a letter to their parents saying they were ok. Later, it was learned this book was one loaned from the Pomona Library, as a book loaned to the Winslow boys. A whistle and boy scout badges were found at the ranch, also belonging to the Winslow boys. In a verbal confession of Northcott admitted murdering the Mexican boy. He later denied the charge.

In December 1928, Louisa Northcott admitted the murder of Walter Collins and was sentenced to life in prison. She was sent to San Quentin.

Gordon Northcott fired his lawyers and took over his own defense. On In February, 1929, after the trial of 27 days, Northcott was found guilty of killing Lewis Winslow, 12, and his brother, Nelson Winslow, 10, and an unidentified Mexican boy. February, 1929, Judge Freeman sentenced Northcott to be hanged. The sentence was carried out 2 October 1930.

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