This story thundered all over America in 1928. The young boy Gordon Norcott and his mother Sarah were accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering a few little boys. The California State Police was involved in the scandal, and based on the monstrous crime, Clint Eastwood shot the film “Substitution”. The details of the story versed Daria Alexandrova.
Gordon Stuart Norcott was born on November 9, 1906 in Canada. At 18, he and his parents moved to California. The family settled in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Soon, Gordon acquired a decent piece of land in three acres near the village of Vineville. Norcott built a house and several chicken coops and started breeding birds. Together with her father Cyrus and mother Sarah, they managed the household.
Soon Norcott decided that his assistant would not hurt him - for this purpose Gordon “discharged” his nephew, 13-year-old Sanford Clark, from Canada. The boy's mother happily accepted the offer. Over the next two years, letters came home from Sanford, where he painted in paints on how well he lived on his uncle's ranch.
Sanford's sister Jessie Clark decided to come back to Vineville. She was embarrassed by the tone of the letters, moreover, she wanted to see her brother. Upon arriving at the ranch with relatives, the girl became even more worried: Gordon’s behavior seemed suspicious to her, and Sanford himself was not his own. One night, he made his way into the bedroom of his sister and told him about the monstrous things that had happened in the house of the Norcotts. The boy said that his uncle beat him and molested him, and also forced him to participate in the murder of several children under the threat of death. Jesse was at a loss. She decided that the wisest decision would be to return to Canada and contact the authorities. The girl contacted the American consul and asked to bring her brother home. That, in turn, notified the Los Angeles Police Department. Immigration officers started working as a teenager - on August 31, 1928, they arrived at the ranch and took Sanford under the pretext that the boy had been illegally transported across the border.
Gordon, who from a distance noticed the approach of the police, ordered his nephew to talk the cops. He managed to escape. Together with Gordon, his mother disappeared. Sanford told the police that his uncle kidnapped, killed and raped three little boys with the participation of his mother. He did not deny that he himself was an accomplice, but claimed that Norcott threatened him with reprisals. Sanford announced the murder of another child - a Mexican boy. Gordon forced his nephew to cut off his head, burn it, and then crush the skull. The teenager pointed to the burial sites of the remains of children in the hen house. The police found the graves, but the bodies were not there - Norcott had previously moved the remains and buried them in the desert. However, particles of corpses and blood were found in the graves.
Gordon and Sarah Norcott were already detained in Canada, they managed to get to the city of Vernon in British Columbia. Mother and son arrested on September 19, 1928. Sanford called the names of the three boys killed. They were brothers Lewis and Nelson Winslow, 12 and 10 years old, and 9-year-old Walter Collins. He did not know the name of the killed Mexican boy. The Collins brothers disappeared on May 16, 1928. Relatives received two letters from them, where they confessed that they had run away from home to go to Mexico, but nothing was known about their future.
With Walter Collins, the story came out quite mysterious. The boy disappeared from his home in Los Angeles on March 10, 1928. His mother, Christine Collins, immediately went to the police. Detectives have suggested that the child was killed by someone from the enemies of his father, since Walter Sr. was involved in dirty work and was serving a sentence for armed robbery. The press found out about the disappearance of the boy, the police were accused of inaction. Five months after Walter disappeared, his mother was informed that her child was in Illinois. Triumphant detectives staged a demonstrative reunion of Christine with her son in the hope of silencing the annoying hacks. However, Christine said that the boy found was not her Walter. The police assured the woman that during this time he had managed to change outwardly and advised to spend some time with her son to make sure that it was him. But after three weeks, Collins again came to the station and turned to police captain Jones, claiming that the child was not her.
Jones did his best to get Collins in a mental hospital. So it happened. The woman was hospitalized for compulsory treatment. At the same time, the police decided to interrogate the found child again. He admitted that he is no Walter Collins. The 12-year-old boy was named Arthur Hutchins Jr., he was from Iowa. Hutchins ran away from home after an argument with his parents. He wandered around the cities, going for a ride, but was once detained by police who decided that Hutchins was very much like the outwardly missing Walter Collins. When Arthur realized that he had a chance to get to Los Angeles and see Hollywood, he decided to support the version of detectives and called himself Collins. Christine, who had spent more than a week in the mental hospital by this time, was immediately released.
The scandal broke out more than ever: an angry woman filed a lawsuit against Jones and won the case. The court ordered the police captain to pay the unhappy mother more than 10 thousand dollars, which he never did. Based on the story of Walter Collins, Clint Eastwood shot the film “The Changeling,” starring Angelina Jolie.
As for Gordon and his mother, they confessed. Norcott confessed to killing more than five boys. However, after extradition to California from Canada, they both refused the original testimony. Sarah tried to take all the blame on herself - a woman would not be sentenced to death.
Norcott was suspected of killing 20 boys, but only three were able to be proved (the Winslow brothers and the Mexican teenager, and Sarah Norcott was accused of Collins’s death). Cyrus Norcott, who was also interrogated by the police, claimed that he knew nothing about the crimes. The investigation also revealed that the mother was aware of the pedophilic inclinations of her son. He often took the little boys under various pretexts on the ranch, where he raped them, but then, as a rule, let them go. Sarah Norcott was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released after only 12 years.
On February 13, 1929, Gordon was sentenced to death by hanging. The verdict was carried out on 2 October. At that time he was 23 years old. The town of Vineville in connection with the case, which was dubbed "Vainville murders in the hen house", and the close attention of the press and onlookers changed the name to Mira Loma.