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Friday, August 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Police find missing stockbroker’s car in Los Angeles, in possession of family who owed him money

The “Belgian blue” Stephens auto, owned by missing Spokane businessman W.H. McNutt, was found by police in Los Angeles, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on July 28, 1919. It was in the possession of Fay Wilkinson and her relatives, who had recently purchased the Wolverine Hotel from McNutt in Spokane. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The “Belgian blue” Stephens auto, owned by missing Spokane businessman W.H. McNutt, was found by police in Los Angeles, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on July 28, 1919. It was in the possession of Fay Wilkinson and her relatives, who had recently purchased the Wolverine Hotel from McNutt in Spokane. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The “Belgian blue” Stephens auto, owned by missing Spokane businessman W.H. McNutt, was found by police in Los Angeles.

This was a sensational new development in this missing-persons case, because the auto was found in the possession of Fay Wilkinson and her relatives.

These were the people who had purchased the Wolverine Hotel in Spokane from McNutt, on a contract. McNutt had gone to the hotel to collect money from the Wilkinsons several times, according to McNutt’s wife, and they had threatened him.

He disappeared after trying to collect one more time. Shortly afterward, the Wilkinsons also disappeared from Spokane, leaving the Wolverine Hotel “in disorder.”

Investigators traced the Wilkinsons to Los Angeles, where police spotted the car. When confronted, Wilkinson said she bought the car from McNutt and had a bill of sale.

Spokane police reported that Fay Wilkinson was well-known to them under several different names, including the names Fay McDonald, Mrs. Frank Pryor and “Miss Blake.” Her household goods had been shipped to Los Angeles, under the name Miss Blake.

No trace of McNutt was found in Los Angeles, and no arrests were made. In the absence of a body, investigators had no evidence that a crime had even been committed.

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