Octomom’s bizarre 911 call channels Christine Collins

Was Octomom Nadya Suleman channeling Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins in the Changeling?

There are apparently some definite similarities between the two performances.

Here’s the story:

WHITTIER – Octomom Nadya Suleman became unhinged with fear last year when she thought she’d lost one of her children, telling an emergency dispatcher, “Oh God, I’m going to kill myself,” according to a recording of her 911 call released Wednesday by police.

Suleman made the call Oct. 27 after her 5-year-old son went missing from the front yard, only to find him a few minutes later after he returned from a walk.

Suleman’s repeated threats of suicide prompting a chiding from the dispatcher, who could hear children’s voices in the background. “Don’t say that in front of your other child, OK?” the dispatcher tells Suleman. “Keep yourself under control for your other child; he doesn’t need to hear that.”

Suleman, an unemployed single mother, has come under scrutiny since giving birth to octuplets Jan. 26 when she already had six other children, ages 2 to 7. Talks show hosts, celebrities and others have weighed in on the topic, with some questioning her ability to look after 14 children.

Compare for yourself:

Listen to audio of Suleman’s 911 call.

Changeling trailer

Northcott’s death penalty

After his 1929 conviction for killing young boys on his Wineville Chicken Ranch, Gordon Northcott was put to death within months, as Wikipedia notes:

On February 8, 1929, a 27-day trial before Judge George R. Freeman in Riverside County, California, ended. Gordon Northcott was convicted of the murders of an unidentified Mexican boy[5] and brothers Lewis and Nelson Winslow (aged 12 and 10, respectively).[11] The brothers had been reported missing from Pomona on May 16, 1928.[12] However, it was believed Northcott may have had as many as 20 victims.[13] The jury heard that he kidnapped, molested, tortured, killed, and dismembered these and other boys throughout 1928. On February 13, 1929, Judge Freeman sentenced Northcott to be hanged.[14] The sentence was carried out on October 2, 1930.

While death sentences are still handed out in California, the average time from conviction to execution is about 16 years. Thus today’s Crime Scene poll, Do you think Northcott would be executed for similar crimes today?

 

 


The mystery of Walter Collins

With so much interest in the DVD release of Clint Eastwood’s movie The Changling, perhaps those of you who have seen the film have some thoughts on the fate of Walter Collins.

It’s an open question. Was he killed by Gordon Northcott at the Wineville Chicken Ranch as Northcott and his mother claimed? Or did Young Walter somehow escape the farm and go on to lead a productive life, justifying Christine Collins’ hope that her son would return home some day?

What do you think?

 

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:

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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.

Christine Collins mystery solved

From the mailbag:

Mr Girardot,

Just wanted to let you know that the fate of Christine Collins has been solved.  Collins is listed in the death index under Christin Collins.  This linked her name to a Kathleen Collins in the social security death index.  Collins indicated that this was an alias she used after the high profile trial.  The time period fits and I’m fairly certain it is her.  Collins died on 12/8/1964.  There is also an interesting back story.  At one point in time, she was staying with James C. Borton in 1930.  Borton took in Collins because he and her father were members of the Knights of Pythias.  She also spent sometime in Oakland Californa in the early 1930′s, with friends they met when the family was in Hawaii.  At one point in time she took a telephone number under an assumed name as well. As it turns out, her sister, at  one point in time, was listed on a passenger manifest as visiting Hong Kong in 1930, in the midst of the events involving her son.  She is listed under race as Octoroon.  Even in my work as an Archivist, I have never come acrossed that term.  It’s a guess, but I believe that Aimee Dunne was of Chinese Origin, which I also thought was an interesting note. 
 
I’m planning on taking the research further and write a book.  I’ve spent too much time learning about this family, so I need to justify it somehow!

Best,

Chris Garmire
Archivist
California State Archives

Grocery store head has connection to Wineville case

Another local connection  to the Christine Collins, Gordon Stewart Northcott case:

Standing nearly 7 feet tall when clad in his signature white Stetson cowboy hat and cowboy boots, Jack H. Brown was a feared and respected lawman while serving as San Bernardino County Sheriff Walter Shay’s top investigator in the 1920s.

An expert marksman, Brown was known for his ability to fire a bullet at a wooden matchstick from 30 feet away and ignite it. He was also an expert tracker, a skill he acquired from the local Indian tribes while growing up in Kingman, Ariz.

His investigative skills were of such repute that he was recruited in 1928 by Riverside County Sheriff Clem Sweeters to help bring a serial child murderer to justice.

The case, dubbed the “Wineville chicken-coop murders,” is one of the most

Jack Brown Jr., CEO of Stater Bros., wears the diamond-studded gold badge his father, a deputy sheriff, was given for his work in solving a series of murders in Riverside County in the late 1920s. (Eric Reed/Staff Photographer)

gruesome and horrific in Riverside County history in what today is Mira Loma.

With director Clint Eastwood’s film “Changeling” appearing in theaters nationwide, Stater Bros. Chairman and CEO Jack Brown Jr. reflected on the role his father played in the case.

The movie, which has grossed more than $20 million since opening in late October, tells the true story of the plight of the mother of one of the murdered boys.

Coincidentally, the younger Brown sent Eastwood’s production company, Malpaso Productions, a copy of his 16-page book “The Badge,” which chronicles his father’s role in the Northcott case, about three years ago in hopes of sparking interest in a film.

“I could see Clint Eastwood playing my dad,” Brown said.

But it wasn’t Brown’s story that would be translated to the big screen.

Tuesday’s column — Law enforcement, Northcott and La Eme

Sure, there’s an election today and change is in the air.

But some things will never change.

I get a sense of that every time I pick up an old newspaper story or leaf through old photos on the Internet.

Take the tale of Gordon Stewart Northcott, a serial killer who preyed on young boys in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley during the 1920s.

Northcott and his mother participated in the murders of four kids at their ranch in Wineville. Ultimately, the state hanged Northcott in 1930.

He had been convicted of killing Lewis and Nelson Winslow of Pomona and an unidentified Latino youth, whose body was dumped on the grounds of a

La Puente farm just off of Valley Boulevard.

Northcott’s mother, Sarah Louise Northcott, served a 12-year prison sentence for her role in killing Walter Collins of Los Angeles.

In the aftermath of the case, California politicians in 1939 backed a tough new law targeting “sexual psychopaths.”

As written, the law allowed the state to lock up anybody who was predisposed to committing a sex crime against a child – whether or not that person was convicted of a crime.

Doubtless those who backed the law thought they were promoting change. And, the act has been significantly watered down for legitimate concerns about civil rights.

Seventy years down the road, we have a new name for psychopaths – predators. Beyond that very little has changed. And there are still no easyanswers for eradicating child molesters and serial killers.

If you check out the state’s Megan’s Law Web site, you’ll see right away there are plenty out there.

The same can be said of gangs.

On Monday I received a copy of “The Black Hand: The bloody rise and redemption of `Boxer’ Enriquez, a Mexican mob killer.”

The first chapter describes the rise of La Eme from humble beginnings at the Duell Vocational Institute in Tracy through recent times as the controlling force in California prisons and on many of our streets.

In case you didn’t know, the San Gabriel Valley is La Eme’s backyard. Many of the exploits detailed in the book took place in Montebello, Alhambra and

El Monte.

Among the incidents described are the 1998 Maxon Road killings that left an El Monte mother and three of her young children dead following a brutal Eme hit at their home.

In a September interview with Glenn Beck, Enriquez said he saw the killings as the turning point in his relationship with his carnales in the gang.

You might think that the political shot-callers in Sacramento would have a similar reaction. At the very least, you’d think they’d call for cleaning up the state prison system.

They haven’t.

There is no war on the terror that rules our streets. It’s not likely to happen, no matter how much change comes to Washington or our country in the next several months.

That’s about all you can count on come Wednesday morning.

The fate of Christine Collins

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I’ve had several emails this weekend asking about the fate of Christine Collins’ the real life woman played by Angelina Jolie in Clint Eastwood’s “The Changeling.”

Perhaps the best answer is on Roxanne Adam’s blog, “Dispatch from the Third World of Los Angeles.” Adams came across some records that indicate a Christine M. Collins died in 1996 in a tiny East Bay community. Here’s a portion of the entry:

One Christine M. Collins, born on April 24th 1900, died in 1996 in Lafeyette, a city located in Contra Costa County, California; this is the only official public record I could find. Since her son was nine years old when he disappeared in 1928, it’s entirely reasonable that she was born in 1901.

And the photo caption:

Walter Collins’ mother, Mrs. Christine Collins, who confronted Gordon Northcott in jail concerning her son. “I did not kill Walter,” he told her. “I believe you,” she replied. Later, when Arthur Hutchens claimed to be her son and she did not accept him, she was sent to a psychopathic ward. She later filed suit against the police for this action.

Walter Collins’ home

In Thursday’s column, I noted that Walter Collins lived in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles. A reader writes to correct that by noting that Walter and Christine Collins actually lived in Lincoln Heights.

Here’s the note:


A slight correction on the “Changeling” story. Walter Collins was not from Mt. Washington, he was from Lincoln Heights and lived at 217 N. Ave 23. He was abducted two blocks away. The neighborhood where he lived was razed to make way for the transit village at the Ave 26/Lincoln Heights Gold Line Stop.

Old L.A. Times and other media often mistook L.A. neighborhoods. The borders of where Mt. Washington is, where Highland Park is, etc is far more distinct now. It wasn’t always the case.

I’ve created a map that shows some of the locations from the story:

View Larger Map