Sanford Clark and the Wineville Chicken Ranch Murders

Reporter Ruby Gonzales put together an interesting piece about Sanford Clark for today’s papers.

Clark, the nephew of Gordon Stewart Northcott, was ultimately sentencedto five years at Nelles for his role in the case that led to the deaths of Walter Collins, Lewis and Nelson Winslow, and an unidentified latino youth.

Here’s the top of Ruby’s story:


Jerry Clark, 17, was on his way to a hockey game when his father, Sanford, pulled the car over and revealed a shocking past.

When he was 15, Sanford Clark became the main witness against his uncle, Gordon Stewart Northcott, who kidnapped boys from the Southland in the 1920s then molested and killed them at a chicken ranch in Wineville.

Not only did his uncle rape and beat him, Clark told authorities he was made to help dispose of the bodies and, at gunpoint, ordered to shoot one of the boys.

“Sanford said he never planned to tell Jerry the story,” said Anthony Flacco , who is writing a book about Clark and was at the Whittier Museum last week doing research.

But he said Clark was worried reporters working on an unrelated killing near their town would unearth his past. His concern was that his children would hear about it from others. His fear didn’t materialize.

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  • michaeline hoy

    i want to know why havny they looked everywhere on the farm because not all kids will be buried in the same place.. why in the world do police have to act so ignorant…. the law should be changed becuase why should a person who child has gone missing have to wait 24 hours until police come and still nothing to do about.. within those 24 hours of wait something might have happened and who know by waiting a whole day to fine nothing.. i still have many questions about thins and many more…

  • Liderien

    Actually the law has been changed. We now have whats called an Amber Alert for children who are missing. Depending upon the investigation into the disappearance of a child, police will decide whether that child is a run away or indeed has been taken. At this point officers will call for an Amber Alert to be in effect. This will usually takes no time at all. Law Enforcement agencies will be notified within minutes all over the country, surrounding areas first with descriptions and any information they might have on the suspect. Usually in Amber Alert cases, the suspect is a non-custodial parent. Nevertheless, the 24 hour period remains for adults unless circumstances could prove foul play.
    You should also look into the wonderful powers of lime, which is what Gordon used to cover the hacked up pieces of bodies from the boys. That might answer a lot of your questions there. You also have to remember the era in which these tragic events took place.

  • Jazmen

    I Cried When I Heard This Story I Mean I Can’t Imagine This Happening!!! I Felt Bad For Sanford Because He Had To be Part Of it. I Also Fell So Bad About What Gorton Did To These Boys.He was A VERY Sick Person.

  • century

    I don’t think Sanford Clark should have been punished or imprisoned. He helped the police so much and he was clearly forced to kill those kids. He lived a clean, amazing life afterwards, even adopting 2 kids because he didn’t want to pass on the genes. What an amazing human being.

  • catherine bower

    I was born and raised in mira loma, calif I never heard about the murders, Untill the movie and the book. Thank you for informing us of the History some might of never known. Thank You , Cathy bower

  • ashley

    I agree with the above poster; sanford clark is a hero and nothing less.

  • lauren

    o my i watched the movie about this, my mom didnt think they used the actual names, until my avid teacher told me that we have to write about famous people or someone historic, so i looked up christene collins and it was her real name so now im taking cornell notes on thi sstory and its so much more heartbreaking then the movie because it’s the real thing. northcutt definately deserved to be hung

  • Anonymous

    Sanford Clark should have been held accountable for the murdes as well. He was certainly old enough to know the difference between right and wrong.

  • Philippe

    Why didn’t the police ask Sabford clark about Walter Collins’escape ? If he was caught by his Gordon, or achieve his escape ?

  • Michael Chute

    Why didn’t Sanford try to run and get help when the boys were locked up? I fear that he may have been able to help them?

  • Joslinhope

    I feel horribly for what Sanford Clark had to go through. As for his running to get help? He was a child himself and was worried that his uncle would kill him too if he even tried. I don’t think people should worry about what he DIDN’T do and concentrate on what he DID do…if not for him, these crimes may never have been found out and perhaps the murders would have gone on for years more. I say he should be thought of as a hero for his actions!!

  • Joslinhope

    I think what Mr. Clark did was amazing. I think that people who are saying he should be held accountable should look at themselves and wonder what would they do if they were in that situation. Until you have been in a situation like that, you have no idea what you would do. He was a CHILD. He was in fear of his own life and under the thumb of a psychopath. But instead of wondering what he didn’t do, think about what he DID do…without his statements and testimony, these murders may have continued on for years to come. Good for you Sanford Clark, your children should be proud. You are a hero in my book for finally ending the massacre.

  • kay

    I watched this entire movie not knowing that any of it was true. As soon as I found out that most of it was, I wanted to know more about Sanford Clark. I think he was the bravest out of everyone, and his actions truly extraordinary. His own mother and uncle were committing these crimes, the people who were supposed to set an example for him, and he bravely rebelled and told the police. The outcome would have been much different without his testimony, and I think the movie should have focused on that a tad bit more.

  • Reynalda98

    This is truly a sad case!I became really interested in the case after watching “Changeling” even more so because I realized that Wineville is now Miraloma and my parents just purchased a home there so as I started to research on this case I realized that the murder house is till standing to this very day and it is just a few miles from the house in which I presently live with my two kids!I’ve passed by the infamous house,”if you can call it a house although I feel it’s more like a torch-er chamber” so I really wanted to know more, so I read the book about Sandford’s life it’s called “The Road Out Of Hell” by: Anthony Flaco WOW! this book changed me! I realized that the movie was only at the most 1/3 of this horrific story! There is no doubt in my mind that SATAN was among us!If you are truly interested in this murder story I recommend the book it will answer every question in your mind.

  • JD

    What is the name of the movie based on Sanfor Clark and the Chicken Coop Murders?