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Murder Suspect Flees Lake City, Ore., in 1914


The headline in the Lake County Examiner on March 26, 1914, proclaimed, “Murderer Caught.” The alleged murderer was E. C. Illingsworth, who had survived and fled the area after a shootout 13 years earlier that killed a popular police officer.  Now, it seemed he had returned – at least that was what many people were thinking.

The rumor that he was back started when Lake City resident W.S. Painter walked into Sheriff Smith’s office to report he had just spotted Illingsworth, whom he knew and had last spoken with the day after the murder.  Sheriff Smith told Painter to go back and make sure he was right.  Painter later called to confirm it was the murderer, who had abruptly quit his job on a nearby ranch and was headed out of the area in a hurry.  The sheriff overtook the suspect before he reached Cedarville.

At the time of the arrest, the suspect “appeared greatly frustrated” and denied being Illingsworth, though he did admit to going by several false names. 

The newspaper article concluded that even if the man wasn’t Illingsworth, “he is a bad character at any rate.”

Sources: "Murderer Caught: Alleged Dangerous Man Held in Modoc." Lake County Examiner 26 Mar. 1914: 2. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.

Christopher Shockey has been a long-time JPR listener and contributor. He lives on a 40-acre hillside homestead in the Applegate Valley with his wife, Kristen. He enjoys supporting both the Southern Oregon Historical Society and JPR by digging up regional stories for As It Was.