Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 53° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: McNutt murder informant may be man who married both sister suspects

Los Angeles detectives were combing that city in an attempt to find William Wilkinson, who they believed could “throw considerable light on the murder and subsequent events,” the Chronicle said. Wilkinson was married, at different times, to both sisters suspected in the murder of W.H. McNutt. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
Los Angeles detectives were combing that city in an attempt to find William Wilkinson, who they believed could “throw considerable light on the murder and subsequent events,” the Chronicle said. Wilkinson was married, at different times, to both sisters suspected in the murder of W.H. McNutt. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

Another sensational possibility emerged in the William McNutt murder case: The “mystery” informant may have been William Wilkinson, who had been married to both Marie McDonald and her sister Fay McDonald.

This anonymous caller had told Los Angeles detectives where to find McNutt’s body. His information had proven correct and resulted in the arrest of Marie, Fay and Ted McDonald, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported.

Now, Los Angeles detectives were combing that city in an attempt to find Wilkinson, who they believed could “throw considerable light on the murder and subsequent events,” the Chronicle said.

He might also throw some light on what was called an “unusual love triangle.”

Records showed that Wilkinson married Marie McDonald, a Spokane vaudeville singer and actress, in 1912. He divorced her in 1916, and immediately married Fay McDonald, who was only 15 at the time. The McDonalds – and apparently, Wilkinson – left Spokane for Los Angeles right after McNutt disappeared in June.

They were apparently still married, but neighbors in California said that Wilkinson lived with his “young wife” in the Los Angeles bungalow for only about three weeks before they separated. He had been seen visiting since then, however. The neighbors said they heard the couple quarreling on numerous occasions.

Meanwhile, Ted McDonald told police in Fresno, where he was arrested, that he was at his sisters’ residence when the murder was committed, but he denied taking part. Another brother, William, was still at large.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com