Main article: Wineville Chicken Coop Murders
In 1926, 13-year-old Sanford Clark was taken from his home in Saskatchewan (with the permission of his mother and reluctant father) by his uncle, 19-year-old Gordon Stewart Northcott.Northcott took Clark to a ranch in Wineville, California, where he regularly beat and sexually abused the boy — until August 1928, when the police took Clark into custody after his sister, 19-year-old Jessie Clark, informed them of the situation. Clark revealed that he was forced to help Northcott and his mother, Sarah Louise Northcott, in killing three young boys after Northcott had kidnapped and molested them. The police found no bodies at the ranch — Clark said they were dumped in the desert — but discovered body parts, blood-stained axes, and personal effects belonging to missing children. The Northcotts fled to Canada, but were arrested and extradited to the United States. Sarah Louise initially confessed to the murders,including that of Walter Collins. She later retracted her statement; Gordon, who had confessed to killing five boys, did likewise.