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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in the Inland Northwest: A slew of people died in the area’s lakes and rivers, but one victim didn’t drown

 (S-R archives )
(S-R archives )

The area’s lakes and rivers claimed seven victims, but at least one was actually the victim of foul play.

Several cottagers on Casco Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene had noticed an offensive odor for several days. When they went out to investigate, they found the body of an unidentified man, shot through the head, with a sack of bricks tied around his neck. He was in about 4 feet of water.

The man was well-dressed in a gray suit. The Spokesman-Review, in a flight of conjecture, said he “had the appearance of a well-to-do tourist.” An autopsy and inquest were scheduled.

The other six were all accident victims. Two young men and a young women drowned while swimming in the Potlatch River near Kendrick. One man suffered cramps and the other three swimmers in the party tried to rescue him. Two of those drowned in the attempt, and the third made it to shore with difficulty and ran three-quarters of a mile to a farmhouse, where she summoned help. But it was too late.

The other drownings occurred in the Columbia, Yakima and Palouse rivers. All were swimming accidents.

From the murder beat: A 48-year-old farm worker was fired by a farmer after he kept making advances on his 23-year-old daughter. Then the crazed man returned to the farmhouse with a gun, shot the daughter, placed her on the bed, laid down next to her, and shot himself.

The farmer said he knew the worker “was a bad man.” He believed the man intended to kill the whole family, but everyone except his daughter was working in the fields.

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