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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Two infamous sisters apparently skipped town after their forgery trial

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

The notorious McDonald sisters, Fay and Marie, were nowhere to be found following their conviction on forgery charges.

Court authorities were convinced that Fay had “joined her sister in Mexico.” The prosecutor, however, admitted he didn’t “have the least idea where she is.” Neither did her relatives. Their uncle had served as their counsel, but he could shed no light on their whereabouts either.

“Mr. McDonald has done all he is going to do for them,” their aunt said. “He’s all through with them and we haven’t known Fay’s whereabouts for some time.”

The prosecutor said the bondsman would have to pay Fay’s full amount, $2,000, if she failed to show up when the state Supreme Court decided on her appeal.

Both sisters were acquitted of murdering W.H. McNutt in a sensational trial. Yet both were convicted of forgery related to the same case, and both appealed their penitentiary sentences. Marie failed to show up after the court rejected her appeal, and it now looked like Fay would not show up for hers. Marie had forfeited her bond.

From the murder beat: Authorities were now investigating whether a Fort George Wright soldier prison guard, Private Charles Castangnay, had been murdered by two soldiers fleeing the fort’s prison.

A few day’s earlier, authorities had joked about the guard “eloping” with the two prisoners. But some new evidence put the incident in a more sinister light. The guard’s hat, coat, belt and bayonet had been found by the banks of the Spokane River. This indicated possible foul play.

Authorities were also trying to discover the identity of a “mystery woman” – the apparent girlfriend of one of the prisoners – who was seen near the bridge the night of the escape. Police believed that the woman might have driven off with all three men in her auto – or possibly just with the two prisoners.

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