Deputy Federal Marshal Frank Eslick advanced a shocking theory about the apartment fire in Republic, Washington, which killed Robert and Rudolph Nugent.
“I think they were murdered and an inquest should be held and a rigid investigation made,” he told The Spokesman-Review. ” … I am positive those boys were murdered. An automobile had been standing in front of the hotel and it was found a hole had been punched in the gas tank and I believe it was from this source the murderers obtained gasoline to start the fire to burn up the bodies.”
Republic police had a different conclusion. They believed that the brothers had died accidentally in the fire when the apartment house-hotel collapsed. Police there seemed to think that it “was nothing but the result of a couple of bootleggers getting drunk and burning themselves up.”
Eslick said they might indeed have been bootleggers, but that didn’t mean they weren’t murdered. In fact, he believed that one of them had $550 in his pocket, possibly from bootlegging, and that they were murdered and robbed. The fire was started to cover up the crime, he believed.
From the missing persons beat: The mysterious disappearance of Joseph Egg, a Walla Walla farmer who vanished with his five children while his wife was at a movie show, took a new twist.
Prosecutors charged Egg with “willfully deserting his wife, leaving her in dire and precarious circumstances.” Deputies were seeking Egg, who was thought to have left his children in the care of a woman and gone to a ranch somewhere in the vicinity.