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100 years ago in Spokane: A man abandoned his baby after stealing a car, and the discovery led to another disturbing family development

 (S-R archives)

Spokane police were chasing a suspected felon – and trying to figure out what to do with the 15-month-old baby the suspect abandoned when he fled.

Frank Howard, a former bartender at Durkins & Ulrich, had stolen a car in Soap Lake, loaded it with his baby and his furniture, passed several bad checks, and headed for Spokane. A warrant had been issued for him in Ephrata, so police were on the lookout.

When he stopped at a gas station in Spokane, an old acquaintance from Soap Lake happened to pass by.

“Why, you son-of-a-gun, I know you,” he said. “You’re the sucker that stole Finney’s car in Soap Lake.”

Howard first tried to deny the charge, but then he suddenly jumped out of the car and ran.

The service station employees now had a quandary. Not only did they have a stolen car full of furniture sitting at the station, they also had a baby crying in fright.

Police came and took the baby to headquarters, and later placed the baby in a home. They hoped to locate the mother, Howard’s wife.

Yet she was nowhere to be found, and authorities had reasons to fear that she might never be found. Howard, according to friends, claimed that his wife had abandoned him and the baby in Walla Walla. He told other friends she deserted him in Colfax. Neither story appeared to be true. She had not been seen for several weeks.

Now police feared that his wife might have “met with foul play.”

The search for Howard continued.

From the booze beat: The county prosecuting attorney race was roiled after candidate Harry L. Cohn claimed that certain local “Wets” had attempted to bribe him in exchange for going easy on Prohibition enforcement.

Cohn was being challenged to name those men, and so far, he had not done so. Rival candidates said they would not make a statement about his charges until he provided details and proof.

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