This is the last set of photos related to the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders (the true story behind the film, “Changeling”) that I plan to post on this blog. While not the worst of them (I left those out), the following photos include material and descriptions that are disturbing. Don’t read further if you think you can’t handle it, please.
I have limited this set of evidence photos to those that are specifically related to Walter Collins, for the sole reason that Eastwood’s “Changeling” centers around Walter’s disappearance; it is by no means an attempt to diminish nor invalidate the tragic fate of the other boys (possibly as many as 20) tortured and brutally murdered by the Northcotts.
I post these photos not only to satisfy morbid curiosity (which we all have–after all, we’re Human), but to emphasize that while “Changeling” is a movie featuring the narcissistic histrionics of Angelina Jolie, the sickness and violence of the Northcott case was very real. The following photos are a glimpse of that reality.
All photos and captions were taken directly from the Los Angeles Public Library Archives, and are primary-source material; they are digital scans of actual evidence used in the real Northcott case in 1928 (disturbing content–this is your last warning!):
Deputy Sheriffs C. A. Sweeter, left, and Ben B. deCrevecoeur point out the entrance to a chicken coop at the “murder farm” in which Walter Collins was imprisoned, according to Clark, and murdered by Northcott. In his admission of killing the Collins boy, Northcott says he made his victims pray before an altar which he had built specially for the purpose before he killed them. “I wanted the little boys to make their peace with God so they would go to heaven,” declared Northcott. Stains found on a rude canvas cot where Walter Collins slept have been analyzed and identified as human blood.
Chicken coop on the Northcott farm near Wineville, where Walter Collins was buried. Northcott‘s mother, Sarah [Louise] Northcott, confessed to this killing.
View of the chicken coops on the Northcott farm, where an arrow points to the room where Walter Collins was imprisoned and killed, according to Clark.
The “murder farm” of Gordon Stewart Northcott near Wineville in Riverside County. The panorama shows in detail the exact places where dark deeds transpired, according to Deputy District Attorney Earl Redwine and Sanford Clark, Northcott‘s 15-year-old nephew, whose story brought about Northcott‘s arrest at age 24 in Canada. Clark accused Northcott of mistreating, murdering and burying boys in quicklime. Two boys were murdered and three buried in the chicken houses in the background. Arrow at right shows a coop where Clark asserted Northcott imprisoned Walter Collins, kidnapped Los Angeles boy, and finally killed him with an axe. Collins was held captive in the coop, slept there on a rude cot, and could only look into the pens at right. Slaying and burial sites of the Winslow brothers are noted.
J. Clark Sellers, criminologist, examines an axe which Sanford Clark says Mrs. Louise Northcott used in Walter Collins’ murder. Rex Welsh, police chemist, declares the axe is stained with human blood. It was found in a chicken coop on the ranch.
Sanford Clark shows officials the chair from the “murder farm” in which he says the Winslow brothers and Walter Collins sat when they were killed, struck from behind by a hammer and hatchet wielded by Gordon Stewart Northcott.
Keywords: Christine Collins, Walter Collins, Changeling movie, true story, 1928, LAPD, Gordon Northcott, Wineville murders, Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood