During Christmas Eve 1945, a tragic event will unravel one of the most mysterious cases in history. America, One call, a raging fire and the disappearance of five brothers will make the Sodder family part of a large number of unsolved files.
beginning of tragedy
Born in 1895 in Tula, in the north of the Italian island of Sardinia, giorgio soddu he went to his maternal home with his brother America With only 13 years. already on north american soil changed his last name to sodergot a job and formed a strong bond within the community where he lived.
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soder He started working as a driver. With the experience gained behind the wheel, he managed to get another similar one, but in the field of commercial transport. First they transported construction materials to the state Pennsylvania and then he’ll take the coal, activity that in those years was controlled by the mafia,
On one of those trips aboard your truck, soder He went to a store and met the owner’s daughter: Jenny Cipriani, In form of, The young woman came to the United States with her family when she was just a child.
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Cipriani and Soder fall in love and settled in a two-story house on the outskirts of fayetteville, an Italian-American colony in the state of West Virginia. There, the marriage produced a total of 10 children.
The family quickly won a place in the hearts of the neighbors for the help they provided. But far from the kindness he offered familia soder faced a a terrible disaster Feather first christmas eve after the war,
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At dawn, the couple and their four children slept on the ground floor of the house fayetteville, Above were the other five. Only Joseph, the second of them, was missing because he had to do military service. In the middle of the night a call Disturbed the peace of the house.
Jenny picked up the phone, but it was the wrong call. The woman noticed something wrong: the house lights were on why the front door was left ajar, He shut it down, shut everything down and went back to bed.
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after a few hours a sharp blow over the house and strong smell of smoke Woke them up. When they left the room, they saw the inferno inside their house: flames were consuming everything, consuming the wood, especially the the staircase that led to the upper floor where the five brothers rested,
with desperate cries Soders tried to raise the kidsEven then, there was no answer, This fact led them at first to think that the children had already run away from home. The couple and their four children, who were sleeping on the ground floor, went outside and sought help from their neighbours.
George tried to call the fire department, but the phone lines were dead. From outside the house, he wanted to reach the second floor by the ladder he had, but it had disappeared, In a last ditch effort, he tried to move the truck close to the rear of the car so the kids could jump out, but he couldn’t start that either.
The Soder family’s eldest daughter, Mary Ann (19), was the one who fled into the street and managed to drive a neighbor into town and call the fire department for help. Finally, around dawn, help arrived from rescuers, but until then, everything was ashes,
resigned, the Soder family thought their children Maurice Antonio (14) Martha Lee (12), Eric Lewis (10), jenny irene (8) betty dolly (5) He was burnt to death. Although after removing the debris no human remains found, And from that moment began endless conjectures and waiting for a judgment that will never come.
tracks that lead nowhere
The house was gutted a week after the fire soderThe police decided to leave the five children sleeping on the top floor as dead. The authorities also issued the respective death certificates. But far from the formality of printing documents, Jenny and George begin to investigate what happened to their children.
The children were presumed dead, with local authorities closing the case. Unhappy with the decision, Soders requested that the FBI intervene in the case, a possibility they were denied because it was a local incident. firstIt had no national interest. In view of the refusal The couple decided to hire private investigators to try to shed light on the matter.
From the beginning, Jenny Soder suspected that her children had not died in the fire because it was unlikely that, if they had died of burns, no remains would be found of the five bodies. The woman consulted a mortuary specialist who assured her For human remains to decompose they must be above 2,000 °C for at least two hours.A temperature that could not have been generated even at the worst moment of fire.
Receiving no answers, Souders ties up loose ends and George, a staunch critic of Benito Mussolini’s ideas, recalls a run-in a few days before the fire. A builder had offered him insurance for his house, and Soder turned it down. Enraged, the man predicted that he would experience a catastrophe: “Your house will go up in smoke and your children will perish, and you will pay for your dirty thoughts on Mussolini.”
In 1949, nearly four years after the fire, Sodders ordered a private investigation into the area. Excavations were conducted and ancient coins, a burnt dictionary and bones were found which, after analysis at the Smithsonian Institution, determined they belonged to the same individual between the ages of 16 or 17. but according to The report states that the bones were not exposed to fire.
Other theories indicate that the Italian Mafia may have been behind the children’s disappearance. As a coal baron, Soder had cornered a lot of the market and a way to wield that power. It could have been the kidnapping of their five children.
three versions of the children’s hideout
A few days after the tragedy, some eyewitnesses claimed to have seen children at the time of the fire. But there was no connection between one testimony and the other. while his neighbor fayetteville She assured that she saw the five brothers inside a car on the morning of the fire, a waitress from a bar in a neighboring town said she had seen them. with a man and a woman.
A week later, there was another person who testified to having seen the Sodder brothers. This time the testimony was from a woman who worked at a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, 700 kilometers from the location of the fire. He assured that five children stayed there along with two men and two women. The woman remarked that the adults did not allow the children to communicate with her and that they behaved strangely, something that supports the theory of abduction by child trafficking networks.
Similarities, a picture and an unsolved mystery
After seeing a picture of a girl like one of his daughters in a youth newspaper, George Soder traveled to New York. He asked the editors of the newspaper if they could give him information about the girl, but they refused to do so as she was a minor.
He also received a report that his children were in Florida. However, Söder could not find them even at that stage.
In 1968, Soders received a letter with a photograph of a man in his late 30s. On the top margin of the photo you can read: “Louis Soder, I love brother Frankie. Little kids. W90-132”. The letter was postmarked in Kentucky and George sent a detective to investigate because Jenny was pretty sure it was his son’s. Studies and techniques of the time failed to identify the man in the photo.
George Soder died at the age of 74, months after receiving a photograph of a young man who looked like Louis. His wife continued to search desperately for his children until his death in 1989. Despite these parents’ efforts, despite offering juicy rewards, they never find out what happened to the five brothers.