Missing Sodder Children

Unsolved Mysteries: The Sodder Children

60 years later and this case still remains unsolved. Will the Sodder Children ever be found?

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Christmas Eve, 1945, Fayetteville, West Virginia. The Sodder family ended the night with laughter, new toys, and love. Unfortunately, the morning only welcomed smoke, a burned down home, and five missing children. Within 45 minutes, the Sodder's lost not only their home but part of their family as well.

While some believe that the fire was on accident, that the children perished along with the home, I believe it was something more. I believe that the fire was planned and that the children were taken from their families by people who were angry with the father, George Sodder, and his mysterious childhood in Italy.

As an Italian immigrant, George Sodder came to the United States at 13 years old, leaving behind his childhood and starting a new life. "He found work on the Pennsylvania railroads, carrying water and supplies to the laborers, and after a few years moved to Smithers, West Virginia." (Abbott, smithsonianmag.com). Shortly after finding work, George met his wife, Jennie, and the two had ten children.

The Sodder family grew to become one of the most well respected families in the area. However, George Sodder's past was a mystery to everyone. George never spoke about why he left home, but many, including myself, believed that it was because of his dislike for the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini. It was known by many in the town that George was not a fan of the Italian dictator which caused several arguments to heat up with other families. I believe that George sought out a chance to start a new life from the Italian dictator and because of this he made enemies along the way.

While George traveled to the United States in order to seek out a new life, enemies must have been made during the process. The Italian mafia was big during the time and being someone known for their dislike in the Italian dictator could only mean trouble. Before the event of the fire, several incidences happened with the Sodder family- a series of events that I believe were leading up to the fire.

A man approached the family, asking about hauling work, and ended up going to the back of the house. The man spotted two fuze boxes and claimed that they would one day start a fire, despite George going and having it checked and cleared to be in fine condition. Shortly after, a salesman approached the family asking if they would like to purchase life insurance. When George declined the man grew vexed, soon threatening the family, "Your goddamn house is going up in smoke," he warned, "and your children are going to be destroyed. You are going to be paid for the dirty remarks you have been making about Mussolini" (Abbott, smithsonianmag.com). Lastly, the older Sodder children had spotted another man parked along the highway, watching their younger siblings head home from school.

On the night of the fire; Maurice, Martha, Louise, Jennie, and Betty Sodder had been staying up late, playing with the new toys they had received from the oldest sister, Marion. "Jennie told them they could stay up a little while longer, but they had to remember to turn out the lights, close the curtains, and lock the front door. George and Jennie and four of their other children then went to bed" (MacGowan, historicmysteries.com). As the family headed off to bed, the five remaining children stayed up and played with their new toys. Hours later, close to one in the morning, Jennie woke up to the phone ringing, a woman's laughter on the other line asking for an unknown person. Jennie claimed the woman had the wrong number and before going back to bed, she headed to the living room where she found the lights on, curtains open, door unlocked, and her oldest daughter asleep on the couch. As Jennie began to fall back asleep, she heard one loud bang and then a rolling sound on the roof.

When Jennie Sodder woke up an hour later, she smelled smoke. Jennie found the fire that had been started in George's office. The family managed to escape, all except for the five children that had been playing with their new toys the night before. Due to the phone being down, Marion, the eldest daughter, went to a neighbor's home and called the fire department, only to result in them not showing up until morning.

Unable to find the ladder that was usually on the side of the house, George went to his trucks, thinking he would be able to get to the attic, where the children slept, and crawl in that way. But to his avail, the previously working trucks were now not working and the family had to watch as their home burned to the ground, leaving nothing but debris and a broken family.

The fire was claimed to be a result of faulty wiring, but if it was faulty wiring the power wouldn't be working. Not only did Jennie see the lights on an hour before the fire, but the family saw the lights on as the house burned to the ground. Additionally, a witness claimed they saw a man removing a block and tackle. I do not think the man managed to pull the engines out entirely, but I do in fact believe that he tampered with them enough to get them to not work. The man who had been wanting to work for the Sodder family knew the layout of the land and where everything was. That man could have easily hidden the ladder and destroyed the engines.

There were also no bones found on the property and with experiments done by Jennie with animal bones, it was conducted that there should have been indeed bones left behind. Perhaps not exact bones, but fragments of the bones. Either way, bones should have been left behind if the children did, in fact, perish with the home, but there were none.

There were also sightings by witnesses claiming that they saw the children in a car the night of the fire and the morning after. A woman who ran a tourist stop 50 miles west of Fayetteville claimed that she served them breakfast. A week after the fire in Charleston, a woman in a hotel saw four out of the five children with two Italian men and women. The men were very hostile and wouldn't let the children speak when the woman tried to talk to them. So it is clear to see that the children did, in fact, not die, but were taken by possible Italian mafia members.

Unfortunately, this will forever be a cold case. While many believe that the fire was an accident, I believe it was a sinister act to get George Sodder to 'pay' for disrespecting the Italian dictator. While the children may still be very well alive, living a hopefully pleasant life in Italy or somewhere else, the family continues to search and hope for answers on their missing siblings. What I can't wrap around my head is that if the family and people who don't even know the family are so committed to this case, why aren't our police departments and law officials?


Works Cited

Abbott, Karen. "The Children Who Went Up In Smoke". Smithsonian, 2018,

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-children-who-went-up-in-smoke-17242980

2/. Accessed 4 Oct 2018.

MacGowan, Doug. "The Sodder Children Mystery | Historic Mysteries". Historic Mysteries,

2018, https://www.historicmysteries.com/sodder-children-.... Accessed 4 Oct

2018.

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.
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Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.


2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

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Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.


4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

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The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


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I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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