The Wineville Chicken Murders (* updated on jump)

18264-northcott in jail-thumb-300x380.jpg

Clint Eastwood’s “The Changeling,” which was released today has some interesting local connections.

The story is a retelling of the Wineville Chicken Murders committed by Gordan Stewart Northcott and his mother Louise Northcott on a chicken farm in 1928.

The Northcotts kidnapped boys from throughout the Southland, including Walter Collins, the subject of the movie, which stars Angelina Joile as Clark’s mother Christine Collins.

Besides Collins, the Northcotts kidnapped Louis and Nelson Winslow of Pomona and an unidentified “Mexican” boy from La Puente. Most of the kidnappings were done along the main route between Riverside and Los Angeles, which is now kown as Valley Boulevard.

At one time, I hoped to write a book on the killings and in the process I collected several old newspaper articles and a copy of the remaining court file from Sacramento.

Northcott’s mother pleaded guilty to killing Walter Collins and was sentenced to state prison.

As for Northcott, he attempted to defend himself in Riverside on the Winslow charges and conducted a cross-examination of his nephew, who was a key witness. ..I’ll continue to update this through the day. There are several interesting Web sites devoted to telling the tale as well. I’ll get some links up too.

*Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the case.

LA Times Then and Now

Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

Boy confesses he’s not Walter Collins

43 thoughts on “The Wineville Chicken Murders (* updated on jump)

  1. im really interested in this story and would like to know more about it.i was very intreged when i resistantly watched the new film “changeling” i couldnt belive this was based on a true story,i would like to read more into the whole murders i felt so emaotionaly connected with the film i feel i need to find out more.

  2. I have just recently seen the movie the changeling and it has really touched me and i would really like to find out more information regarding the actual facts and events. I was wondering if you could help me.

  3. I drove by the house today, which is still standing. It is creepy looking. The exact address is 6330 Wineville Road, Mira Loma, CA.

  4. I have visited this blog to read the entries. Guess I am like most. Amazed, saddened….Mary Chapin Carpenter describes it best in one of her songs where she says “it’s no doubt that life is a mystery and so too is the human heart”.

  5. My wife and I just finished watching the movie, “Changeling”. We were deeply disturbed as we have 2 young boys whom we love very much. I wish the death penalty was still used to deter the most heinous criminals from choosing to do such violent and inhumane acts of terror towards the innocent. My brother in law is an Ontario Provincial Police Detective and has been for several years. I am also friends with an undercover OPP officer who works with the various police forces throughout the country of Canada. I truly hope through help from all of us as citizens of Canada, we never allow crimes to continue in our neighbourhoods, in our counties, in our homes, etc.
    The value of who we are as individuals is worth protecting for the rest of our lives, whether police officers or not. May we all stand up against crime as this brave and enduring Mother, Christine Collins did for her beloved son, Walter Collins.
    Most sincerely,
    Luke Roberts

  6. this movie was crazy. i live in riverside like 10 minutes driving from wineville road. its crazy to know something like that really happend

  7. I think the hanging of Northcott, let him off to easy. He should have been chopped up with an axe. I know that is a little morbid, but just a thought.

  8. I thought the movie was terribly sad but production was amazing and so were the actors! I felt for the poor Collins woman and wish they would’ve got it out of that terrible man what happened before he was hanged.

  9. i live like 10 mn away from this place and theres this wine factory really fancey in the middle of this land i never new about this until my boyfriend told me to watch the movie its scary how people like this can do this type of stuff wooow i wass so amazed cause the factory is actually called wineville and behind thatt just looks so scary

  10. I SEEN THE MOVIE CHANGELING, & I WAS JUST SO TOUCHED BY THE STORY & WHAT HAD HAPPENED.I HEARD THE HOUSE IN WINEVILLE MIRA LOMA WAS STILL STANDING.SO I TOOK A RIDE TO GO SEE IT CAUSE I LIVE 20 MINUTES AWAY, AND IT WAS THE CREEPIEST FEELING EVER!!! THERE IS A CHICKEN COOP IN THE BACK OF THE HOUSE, I WONDER IF IT’S THE SAME ONE THAT GORDON HAD????

  11. A lot of people have asked about the name of the book….This is the name of the book “Nothing Is Strange With You: The Life and Crimes of Gordon Stewart Northcott” by James Jeffrey Paul.

  12. My friend recomended the movie to me and when we watched it both of us were so moved.its so sad and sick that someone could do that to someone. Especially a child. Right after I watched the movie I wanted to know more. So I went on the internet and tryed to find everything I could. I still want to know more.

  13. Scary stuff me and my sisiter were watching the movie we were touched by it…and the end of the movie we were shocked to find out that wineville is now mira loma..so we googled it and we also found out we lived down the street from the ranch!!!!!!!! scary

  14. The house is not at the old winery as one of the posters mentioned. It’s at 6330 wineville ave. and is just south of Limonite on the east side of the road. It’s a small house, currently vacant (as of 3/20/09. It’s a very modest box-like home. A brand new tract of large modern homes is directly across the street to the west. surrounding this property are now other homes. unlike the decade during the period of the murders, this area is now populated. the areas where remains could be are built upon. an area of interest however, is a large vacant area of over 20 acres which is on Limonite, just a slight bit North East of the house. I live within walking distance of this property.

  15. I live two houses down and its really scary.
    I don’t understand why the people that lived next to them, which are there neighbors never really knew, or heard anyone screamed. This is kind of intimidating. It is also rare, maybe neighbors were involved to. Who knows only they know… what happened.

  16. Once upon no time, there was a little Soul who said to God, “I know who I am.”

    And God said, “That’s wonderful! Who are you?”

    And the Little Soul shouted, “I’m the Light!”

    God smiled a big smile. “That’s right!” God exclaimed. “You are the Light.”

    The Little Soul was so happy, for it had figured out what all the souls in the Kingdom were there to figure out.

    “Wow,” said the Little Soul, “this is really cool!”

    But soon, knowing who it was was not enough. The Little Soul felt stirrings inside, and now wanted to be who it was. And so the Little Soul went back to God (which is not a bad idea for all souls who want to be Who They Really Are) and said,

    “Hi, God! Now that I know Who I am, is it okay for me to be it?”

    And God said, “You mean you want to be Who You Already Are?”

    “Well,” replied the Little Soul,” it’s one thing to know Who I Am, and another thing altogether to actually be it. I want to feel what it’s like to be the Light!”

    “But you already are the Light,” God repeated, smiling again.

    “Yes, but I want to see what that feels like!” cried the Little Soul.

    “Well,” said God with a chuckle, “I suppose I should have known. You always were the adventuresome one.”

    Then God’s expression changed. “There’s only one thing…”

    “What?” asked the Little Soul.

    “Well, there is nothing else but the Light. You see, I created nothing but what you are; and so, there is no easy way for you to experience yourself as Who You Are, since there is nothing that you are not.”

    “Huh?” said the Little Soul, who was now a little confused.

    “Think of it this way,” said God. “You are like a candle in the Sun. Oh, you’re there all right. Along with a million, gazillion other candles who make up the Sun. And the sun would not be the Sun without you. Nay, it would be a sun without one of its candles…and that would not be the Sun at all; for it would not shine as brightly. Yet, how to know yourself as the Light when you are amidst the Light -that is the question.”

    “Well,” the Little Soul perked up, “you’re God. Think of something!”

    Once more God smiled. “I already have,” God said. “Since you cannot see yourself as the Light when you are in the Light, we’ll surround you with darkness.”

    “What’s darkness?” the Little Soul asked.

    God replied, “It is that which you are not.”

    “Will I be afraid of the dark?” cried the Little Soul.

    “Only if you choose to be,” God answered. “There is nothing, really, to be afraid of, unless you decide that there is. You see, we are making it all up. We are pretending.”

    “Oh,” said the Little Soul, and felt better already.

    Then God explained that, in order to experience anything at all, the exact opposite of it will appear. “It is a great gift,” God said, “because without it, you could not know what anything is like. You could not know Warm without Cold, Up without Down, Fast without Slow. You could not know Left without Right, Here without There, Now without Then.”

    “And so,” God concluded, “when you are surrounded with darkness, do not shake your fist and raise your voice and curse the darkness. Rather be a Light unto the darkness, and don’t be mad about it. Then you will know Who You Really Are, and all others will know, too. Let your Light shine so that everyone will know how special you are!”

    “You mean it’s okay to let others see how special I am?” asked the Little Soul.

    “Of course!” God chuckled. “It’s very okay! But remember,’special’ does not mean ‘better.’ Everybody is special, each in their own way! Yet many others have forgotten that. They will see that it is okay for them to be special only when you see that it is okay for you to be special.”

    “Wow,” said the Little Soul, dancing and skipping and laughing and jumping with joy. “I can be as special as I want to be!”

    “Yes, and you can start right now,” said God, who was dancing and skipping and laughing right along with the Little Soul.

    “What part of special do you want to be?”

    “What part of special?” the Little Soul repeated. “I don’t understand.”

    “Well,” God explained, “being the Light is being special, and being special has a lot of parts to it. It is special to be kind. It is special to be gentle. It is special to be creative. It is special to be patient. Can you think of any other ways it is special to be?”

    The Little Soul sat quietly for a moment. “I can think of lots of ways to be special!” the Little Soul then exclaimed. “It is special to be helpful. It is special to be sharing. It is special to be friendly. It is special to be considerate of others!”

    “Yes!” God agreed, “and you can be all of those things, or any part of special you wish to be, at any moment. That’s what it means to be the Light.”

    “I know what I want to be, I know what I want to be!” the Little Soul announced with great excitement. “I want to be the part of special called ‘forgiving’. Isn’t it special to be forgiving?”

    “Oh, yes,” God assured the Little Soul. “That is very special.”

    “Okay,” said the Little Soul. “That’s what I want to be. I want to be forgiving. I want to experience myself as that.”

    “Good,” said God, “but there’s one thing you should know.”

    The Little Soul was becoming a bit impatient now. It always seemed as though there were some complication.

    “What is it?” the Little Soul sighed.

    “There is no one to forgive.”

    “No one?” The Little Soul could hardly believe what had been said.

    “No one!” God repeated. “Everything I have made is perfect. There is not a single soul in all creation less perfect than you. Look around you.”

    It was then that the Little Soul realized a large crowd had gathered. Souls had come from far and wide ~ from all over the Kingdom ~ for the word had gone forth that the Little Soul was having this extraordinary conversation with God, and everyone wanted to hear what they were saying. Looking at the countless other souls gathered there, the Little Soul had to agree. None appeared less wonderful, less magnificent, or less perfect than the Little Soul itself. Such was the wonder of the souls gathered around, and so bright was their Light, that the Little Soul could scarcely gaze upon them.

    “Who, then, to forgive?” asked God.

    “Boy, this is going to be no fun at all!” grumbled the Little Soul. “I wanted to experience myself as One Who Forgives. I wanted to know what that part of special felt like.”

    And the Little Soul learned what it must feel like to be sad. But just then a Friendly Soul stepped forward from the crowd.

    “Not to worry, Little Soul,” the Friendly Soul said, “I will help you.”

    “You will?” the Little Soul brightened. “But what can you do?”

    “Why, I can give you someone to forgive!”

    “You can?”

    “Certainly!” chirped the Friendly Soul. “I can come into your next lifetime and do something for you to forgive.”

    “But why? Why would you do that?” the Little Soul asked. “You, who are a Being of such utter perfection! You, who vibrate with such a speed that it creates a Light so bright that I can hardly gaze upon you! What could cause you to want to slow down your vibration to such a speed that your bright Light would become dark and dense? What could cause you ~ who are so light that you dance upon the stars and move through the Kingdom with the speed of your thought–to come into my life and make yourself so heavy that you could do this bad thing?”

    “Simple,” the Friendly Soul said. “I would do it because I love you.”

    The Little Soul seemed surprised at the answer.

    “Don’t be so amazed,” said the Friendly Soul, “you have done the same thing for me. Don’t you remember? Oh, we have danced together, you and I, many times. Through the eons and across all the ages have we danced. Across all time and in many places have we played together. You just don’t remember.”

    “We have both been All Of It. We have been the Up and the Down of it, the Left and the Right of it. We have been the Here and the There of it, the Now and the Then of it. We have been the male and the female, the good and the bad; we have both been the victim and the villain of it.”

    “Thus have we come together, you and I, many times before; each bringing to the other the exact and perfect opportunity to Express and to Experience Who We Really Are. And so,” the Friendly Soul explained further, “I will come into your next lifetime and be the ‘bad one’ this time. I will do something really terrible, and then you can experience yourself as the One Who Forgives.

    “But what will you do?” the Little Soul asked, just a little nervously, “that will be so terrible?”

    “Oh,” replied the Friendly Soul with a twinkle, “we’ll think of something.”

    Then the Friendly Soul seemed to turn serious, and said in a quiet voice, “You are right about one thing, you know.”

    “What is that?” the Little Soul wanted to know.

    “I will have to slow down my vibration and become very heavy to do this not-so-nice thing. I will have to pretend to be something very unlike myself. And so, I have but one favour to ask of you in return.”

    “Oh, anything, anything!” cried the Little Soul, and began to dance and sing, “I get to be forgiving, I get to be forgiving!”

    Then the Little Soul saw that the Friendly Soul was remaining very quiet.

    “What is it?” the Little Soul asked. “What can I do for you? You are such an angel to be willing to do this for me!”

    “Of course this Friendly Soul is an angel!” God interrupted. “Everyone is! Always remember: I have sent you nothing but angels.”

    And so the Little Soul wanted more than ever to grant the Friendly Soul’s request. “What can I do for you?” the Little Soul asked again.

    “In the moment that I strike you and smite you,” the Friendly Soul replied, “in the moment that I do the worst to you that you could possible imagine ~ in that very moment…”

    “Yes?” the Little Soul interrupted, “yes…?”"Remember Who I Really Am.”

    “Oh, I will!” cried the Little Soul, “I promise! I will always remember you as I see you right here, right now!”

    “Good,” said the Friendly Soul, “because, you see, I will have been pretending so hard, I will have forgotten myself. And if you do not remember me as I really am, I may not be able to remember for a very long time. And if I forget Who I Am, you may even forget Who You Are, and we will both be lost. Then we will need another soul to come along and remind us both of Who We Are.”

    “No, we won’t!” the Little Soul promised again. “I will remember you! And I will thank you for bringing me this gift ~ the chance to experience myself as Who I Am.

    ” And so, the agreement was made. And the Little Soul went forth into a new lifetime, excited to be the Light, which was very special, and excited to be that part of special called Forgiveness.

    And the Little Soul waited anxiously to be able to experience itself as Forgiveness, and to thank whatever other soul made it possible. And at all the moments in that new lifetime, whenever a new soul appeared on the scene, whether that new soul brought joy or sadness–and especially if it brought sadness–the Little Soul thought of what God had said.

    “Always remember,” God had smiled, “I have sent you nothing but angels.”

  17. Please remove the ridiculous, post by nick cooper:

    little soul, blah, blah blah.
    WTF?

    It like Northcott has come back from the grave and is babbling away in this thread.

  18. Well, either way, it is sad what happend to these kids. Makes me sick. What people are thinking and how they can live with themselfs, I don’t know. I am surprized they both weren’t killed by their inmates. Hummm…..

  19. I watched the movie changeling, and i thought it was so sad. but i wonder if the house is haunted. it probably is, someone should investigate that.

  20. I really love the soul-story that nick posted. (But I imagine you can only appreciate it if you realise it is the truth.)

  21. A story of horribleness, after seeing the movie, and reviewing the true history, I kiss, and hug my children with all of my love. Tears are defiantly shed for these families.
    I believe fully in the death penalty as long as the convicted has had a fair, uncorrupted court proceedings. We as humans as a whole together public body, should be following religious proceedings, and rules as it pertains in our books from God(all religious books vary similar consequences) pertaining to murder, etc. God has stated VERY clearly the rules regarding these actions, and what we should do to rectify these crimes, punishments to give. Some of us have way too many ‘bleeding hearts’ when it comes to punishments of death. Dissipate the evil that resides on this Earth, and follow the goodness of the heart. Be with God not against him.

  22. I heard that they are still having an ongoing investigation at the ranch looking for bones to try to piece them together to see if Walter Collins could have been one of the boys. With technology today there should be a way. I keep watching the movie over and over and I am just mesmerized that the people we trust to protect us would do that to a person, even back then. It just shows coverups never stop and look how early they started.

  23. I have been to the house that they state is the house. If that is truly the house then I don’t know what to say. it had to have had an upgrade. Stucko is what the house is made of not wood. I would swear on that in those days stucko wasn’t around. it was wood. either way, it looks like a modern house from like the 1980 to 1990s and not that much space. There are occupants now residing at the residence on 6330 Wineville rd. You cant miss this place if its the true house. they do have junk in the back yard, and the sidewalk is a horse trail or something and there’s a wagon wheel up against the wooden fence near a mail box. I think you would have to seriously go over there at night sit across the street with a video camera and tape what you see slowly. also a digital camera should be used as well. then take that footage home with you to see what you may find. Orbs,ghost,spirits what ever. The other thing is, In chino Hills, there’s a place called Green Mist. Its closed off right now but if you go down the road, on your left hand side, there is or at least use to be a farm house with chicken coop there used as a working chicken coop though but the house is more likely to have come from the 1920s era vs the one in wineville. Plus the other thing is, looking this up, wineville goes further out besides what they are saying. So you may want to check into this more so . But as far as the address goes, yes people live there and I was just there this year. 1/15/2010

  24. I have been to the house that they state is the house. If that is truly the house then I don’t know what to say. it had to have had an upgrade. Stucko is what the house is made of not wood. I would swear on that in those days stucko wasn’t around. it was wood. either way, it looks like a modern house from like the 1980 to 1990s and not that much space. There are occupants now residing at the residence on 6330 Wineville rd. You cant miss this place if its the true house. they do have junk in the back yard, and the sidewalk is a horse trail or something and there’s a wagon wheel up against the wooden fence near a mail box. I think you would have to seriously go over there at night sit across the street with a video camera and tape what you see slowly. also a digital camera should be used as well. then take that footage home with you to see what you may find. Orbs,ghost,spirits what ever. The other thing is, In chino Hills, there’s a place called Green Mist. Its closed off right now but if you go down the road, on your left hand side, there is or at least use to be a farm house with chicken coop there used as a working chicken coop though but the house is more likely to have come from the 1920s era vs the one in wineville. Plus the other thing is, looking this up, wineville goes further out besides what they are saying. So you may want to check into this more so . But as far as the address goes, yes people live there and I was just there this year. 1/15/2010

  25. I read that Gordon Northcott terrorized Christine Collins right up to his death, sending her notes and, as depicted in the movie, asked her to come visit him at San Quentin before his execution so he could confess and put his conscience to rest. All he did was play with her mind and further torture her. He refused to give her closure on the demise of her young son. The question of whether her boy was alive or dead weighed on her heavily for the rest of her life.

    After his execution, the guards found a hand drawn map of the ranch grounds in his cell with supposedly the locations of more grave sites. Investigators checked out the grounds based on what the map was showing but found nothing. Again, Northcott, with his sickened, masochistic mind continued to terrorize right up to the end.

    Yes, hanging was too good for him. A dull axe would have been more appropriate.

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