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Sunday, December 8, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Prosser: Missing judge turns up in Pendleton, but then disappears again

Judge Bert Linn, a Prosser jurist and lawyer, had been missing for four months when two men from Prosser reported that they had run into Linn at a Fourth of July event in Pendleton, Oregon, The Spokesman-Review reported on July 9, 1919. Linn’s family and friends had assumed he had died by suicide. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Judge Bert Linn, a Prosser jurist and lawyer, had been missing for four months when two men from Prosser reported that they had run into Linn at a Fourth of July event in Pendleton, Oregon, The Spokesman-Review reported on July 9, 1919. Linn’s family and friends had assumed he had died by suicide. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Mystery of the Missing Judge was solved – partly.

The story began four months earlier when Judge Bert Linn, a jurist and lawyer in Prosser, Washington, vanished without a trace. His friends and legal colleagues in Prosser and in Adams County, where he had previously worked, were baffled. Judge Linn “was exceedingly popular and noted for his studious habits, his magnificent library and his ability as a jurist.”

On the day he disappeared, he had been spotted walking across a railway bridge over the Columbia River. Weeks later, his friends and his wife finally concluded that he must have committed suicide by leaping from the bridge. His wife sold their home in Prosser and moved to Seattle.

So imagine the shock when two Prosser men ran into Judge Linn at the Fourth of July celebration in Pendleton, Oregon. Judge Linn was affable and friendly, but offered no explanation for his strange disappearance. His health, both physical and mental, appeared perfectly sound. He told them he had been working in the wheat fields and was thinking of buying a wheat farm near Pendleton.

Upon hearing the news, his Prosser friends rushed to Pendleton, but when they got there, Linn had once again vanished.

Unless Judge Linn were to reappear and account for his “strange conduct,” the full mystery might never be solved.

From the library beat: Spokane City Librarian George Fuller announced plans to open a new branch library in Lincoln Heights.

Fuller also opened small libraries in industrial plants, including the Tru-Blu Biscuit Co., so that employees could easily access books.

Fuller said that library checkouts had been booming since the Armistice, and he predicted Spokane’s circulation would equal or exceed that of most cities of equal size.

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