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.THE MURDER OF CAPTAIN "CAP" GOODLATAW
CHITINA, ALASKA  
1932



coleen_mielke@hotmail.com




NOTE: The next four newspaper articles just baffled me.
The unfairness of it all!!





In 1932, Captain "Cap" Goodlataw, the son of Chief Goodlataw and Kutchnaw Goodlataw,
was murdered near Chitina.  He had a wife named Maggie and two little girls:
Helen age 7 and Bessie age 2.


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ANCHORAGE TIMES 1932

After being missing for five days, the bullet riddled body of CAP GOODLATAW, a Native and resident of nearby Chitina, was found Saturday, buried in the turnip patch of R.L. Reed, about two miles from Chitina.  Reed has been taken into custody and is being questioned by the authorities.  It is known that Reed has had trouble lately with the Natives and it is thought that there may be some connection.  Reed is reported to have had several encounters with the law in the past due to liquor violations and only recently it is stated that his home was the scene of a drunken brawl in which Reed was severely beaten by some of the other Natives.
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CHITINA HERALD 5/29/1932
 
Cap Goodlataw who is the son of the late Chief of the Native tribe, went out on Monday to Eight Mile.  He told his wife he would be back soon. He took no gun with him so it is certain he did not go hunting.  Captain Goodlataw, as he is known, has been missing for the last six days.  Natives hunted all over for him but couldn't find a trace.  Some people thought he was at Mr. Reed's, where he frequently goes, so they got a search warrant and some of the officials went out and made a careful inspection of the place.  While hunting they found the ashes of a recent fire and in the ashes found some shoe eyelets, buttons and buckles from Goodlataw's clothing.  While they were hunting, Frank Billum found a pair of stockings and a belt behind some moss and under a stump.  So they sent into town and got 15 shovels and set 15 men to work digging for his body in a turnip patch which is about 1/4 acre in size.  When they were about half done with it they found Goodlataw's body about 1½ feet in the ground on solid frost, so it was in good condition except for a bullet hole in the neck and the back.  They brought Goodlataw into town and packed his body in ice so it would keep until a doctor could come to town to perform an autopsy. They are trying to get an attorney from Anchorage.  Mr. Reed has been charged with murder and is in the custody of the Marshal at present.
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FAIRBANKS DAILY NEWS MINER 6/17/1932

The complete story of the death of Cap Goodlataw and the circumstances leading up to his death, presumably by murder, and the discovery of his body, leaves little doubt but that Goodlataw was the victim of foul play, says a special dispatch to the Cordova Times.

Cap Goodlataw, son of the former Chief of the Chitina Indians, started out at 11 o'clock the morning of May 23rd from his cabin above the railroad cut, to visit his wife's parents who had been ill. They are located at Mile 8, out on the trail. Goodlataw promised to return the same day  he left.

Cap's wife, Maggie, in company with Mary Bell, went fishing that afternoon and at 4 o'clock were at Third Lake, some three miles from town and expected to join her husband for the hike back to town that evening.

On the way out, the two women with their keen sight, noticed that something heavy had been dragged across the road from the Reed ranch, to a large fire of stumps burning in the field opposite his cabin.

Bob Reed, in his truck on the way to town, had waved his hand and spoken pleasantly to Mrs. Goodlataw, a thing that he had not done for some months and she was somewhat puzzled.

At 9 o'clock in the evening the two women decided to come back to the village alone as they thought their relatives at Mile 8 were ill and wished Cap to remain with them overnight.

The next day Mrs. Goodlataw became very uneasy as she had told her husband that they were very low on food and he had promised to return in a few hours to restock the larder. Mrs. Goodlataw also was alarmed because her husband had gone unarmed in spite of her protests that he might meet a bear, as these animals oftentimes are seen within two miles of Chitina.

On Wednesday, greatly alarmed, Mrs. Goodlataw asked Jerry McCarthy and Jean Ring to walk out to the camp at Eight Mile but their inquiries revealed that Goodlataw had never arrived there and had not passed Mile 5, where Sam Frazier lives. Nor had he been seen by Pete Kennedy who lived at Six Mile.

The remote trail villages were then reached by telephone but no trace was found of the missing man. Some believed, however, that Goodlataw might have been out in the woods watching a still for a bootlegger, and they were not unduly alarmed until the Natives organized a search party and went over every foot of the road and on each side of the road for more than 150 feet from his home to his intended destination. Still there was no sign of the man and not a sign of any struggle with a bear.

After leaving the Tibb's fox ranch at the edge of town, and the nearby home of Paddy King, there are no houses on the trail until the Reed ranch about 2 miles out and then none until Five Mile.

Sunday morning a large party with Deputy Marshal Nels Sorby, U.S. Commissioner O.A. Nelson, William Delahout, R.A. Sullivan, Bill Cameron Jr. as well as some 24 Indians left town for the Reed ranch to see if the solution to the mystery might not be found there.

The cabin was searched and a small amount of whiskey was found in the cellar. Bob Reed, the owner,  was at once arrested and his gun taken from him.  Twenty gallons of whiskey were later discovered in kegs, hidden under stumps on the place. A belt, studded with nail heads, a peculiar red stone and a sock were found under another stump by Frank Billum and Mrs. Goodlataw gave a piercing scream when she recognized the articles as having belonged to her husband.

In the meantime, the ashes of Monday's fire were raked and buttons, shoe nails, eyelets and burned clothing were found. This was about 700 feet from the cabin, near the garden.

Despite the protests of Reed  that his garden was "planted", permission was given by the authorities to dig up the entire garden plot. The 24 Indian boys went to work on the turnip patch with shovels, shortly after 3 o'clock that afternoon. Nicholas Andy Brown soon struck something which proved to be a bare human foot and the authorities were called and the  body of the missing man was found in a shallow grave, resting on a bed of natural frost and covered with 8 to 10 inches of soil.

An examination showed that Goodlataw had been shot twice and the body now rests in the Pioneer Hall, packed in ice to keep it for an autopsy.

Reed, who is now held on liquor charges pending the continuance of investigation into the Goodlataw death, is about 60 years of age and from one of the southern states, being of the typical mountaineer type. He is rather frail looking. Five years ago he served a sentence for moonshining. The ranch where he has resided the past 6 years was purchased from Charles Simenson. Reed worked at the Kennecott Mines before coming to Chitina.

Last fall, as a result of a drunken party at the Reed ranch, in which Bob Reed and a number of Indians were involved. Goodlataw served 30 days in jail and Reed received a badly battered jaw which forced him to go to the Kennecott Hospital. However, Reed is said to have assured Goodlataw, several weeks ago, that they were friends and that he had nothing against him.

Cap Goodlataw was young, likable, vital, of good physique, tall, and weighted about 180 pounds. He was 28 years old and very industrious, having cut many ricks of wood last winter and providing well for his wife and two little girls. Joe, Charlie and John Goodlataw, residing out of town, are uncles of the murdered man.
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SHOCKING CONCLUSION OF THE
MURDER OF CAP GOODLATAW



ANCHORAGE TIMES 12/20/1932

The inability of the government to sufficiently connect the defendant R.L. Reed with the death of Captain Goodlataw, Native of Chitina, resulted in a verdict of not guilty. The jury deliberated for 7 hours. The murder trial was held in Valdez court and took 4 days. The jury consisted of: Mrs. A. S. Day, E. C. Edgerton, Mrs. M. Gravelle, Mrs. Ted Johnson,  Owen E. Meals,  W. H. Palmer, Isabelle Streeter, Todd Winter of Valdez;  W. W. Jones, Robert Manthey, Roy Neville and Mrs. Hilma Urie of Seward.

According to  testimony, Captain Goodlataw left his home in Chitina on 5/23/32 to visit relatives residing 8 miles out of Chitina on the  Richardson Highway. He left his home about 11:00 AM, promising to return about 9:00 in the evening the same day.  So far as known he was not seen on the road to 8 Mile that day nor did he return home that night nor the following day.  A messenger sent to 8 Mile reported that he had not arrived at that place.  A search instituted by the Natives between Chitina and 4 Mile revealed no trace of the missing man.  A later search by the Natives between 8 Mile and 4 Mile did not yield any results.  It was alleged that there was a deep enmity between Reed and Goodlataw and actions of the former during the search by the Natives excited their suspicion that he might have had a part in the mysterious disappearance of Goodlataw. 

On 5/29/32, armed with a search warrant, Deputy Marshal Nels Sobby and U. S. Commissioner Q.A. Nelson visited the Reed homestead to search the place for intoxicating liquor.  They searched the property with the aid of several Natives from Chitina and found several kegs of moonshine.  In the ashes of a fire (near the turnip patch) they also found some buttons, shoe nails and other articles and under a stump they found a belt and a pair of heavy German socks that belonged to Goodlataw.  Commissioner Nelson gave the Natives permission to dig in the turnip patch and after three or four hours of work the body of Goodlataw was found buried in the patch, minus shoes, socks and trousers. An examination of the body revealed three bullets had entered the body from behind, any one of which would have been fatal according to Dr. W.H. Chase of Cordova. A loaded .30 government rifle, an auto loading shotgun (loaded) and a revolver (also loaded) were found in the cabin of Reed. 

At the conclusion of the government's case, Attorney's Donohoe and Taylor, for the defense, made a motion for a directed verdict of not guilty on the grounds of insufficient evidence to connect the defendant with the commission of the crime charged.  The defendant did not take the stand or speak on his own behalf. Argument to the jury was opened by Attorney Taylor for the defense. He was followed by Assistant U.S. Attorney and he in turn was followed by Attorney Donohoe. Closing argument was made by U.S. Attorney W. N. Cuddy.
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