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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Thu., Aug. 29, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

Police discovered William Frederick McColough, a young “cabaret singer,” seemingly unconscious in an alley behind the Spokane Theater.

His hands were tied with a cord and a note pinned on his coat read, “This is what you get for knowing too much about Anna Weber.”

Anna Weber was a young woman murdered two years earlier in one of Spokane’s unsolved cases.

McColough told officers that three masked men had tied him up, robbed him and left the note. He also said he had worked for the Thiel Detective Agency and had investigated the Weber case.

This was all very intriguing. Yet McColough’s story quickly began to unravel.

Police said his hands were tied very loosely with his own hat band. He showed no evidence of injuries.

Police also found a pencil in his possession, like the kind used to write the note. Officers became suspicious and asked him to write the same words. They concluded that McColough himself had written the note.

McColough then admitted that he had never investigated the Weber case and that he had not been held up by three masked men.

Instead, he had sung at the Cafe St. Germain and then partied with some friends.

His motive for making up the story was not clear. Nor could he explain why he was semiconscious in an alley.

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