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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Man accused of kidnapping 11-year-old girl

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 27, 2018

Catherine Pluym, 11, was missing and a warrant was issued for Cleopus Viens, 38, a former employee of Catherine’s father, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Aug. 28, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Catherine Pluym, 11, was missing and a warrant was issued for Cleopus Viens, 38, a former employee of Catherine’s father, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Aug. 28, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)

A “veil of mysticism” surrounded the disappearance of Catherine Pluym, 11, said the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

The mystery began two days earlier when little Catherine disappeared while walking to Sunday school.

An older daughter said she was walking ahead of Catherine and saw Cleopus Viens, 38, a former employee of Catherine’s father, drive past in a buggy. She saw Catherine “go into a doorway” to avoid Viens.” By the time the sister doubled back, both Viens and Catherine had disappeared

People in the town of Chester, south of the city, said they saw a buggy go through town, carrying a man and a girl.

Viens had been causing trouble in the family for weeks, said her parents.

Earlier, Viens had written a frightening letter to Pluym’s parents, about what he sarcastically called “the fine action which you have taken in learning Cathie to hate me.”

“But nevertheless you are to pay very dear for learning her to be that way against me,” he wrote. “I will use all my will power to bring you down busted out of business. … I do not wish to cause any trouble with my hand. It will be my will power. You may take the liberty to laugh at this letter, but in time to come you will see that word for word it will come right, and it will learn you to treat people right. Now all you have to do is wait for the consequences.”

A warrant charging Viens with abduction was issued and a massive search of the entire county was underway.

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