60 year Anniversary May 1st 2007
Georgia Jean Weckler
Updated 03/05/2007 18:56
The following are Newspaper articles and pictures about the kidnapping of Georgia Jean Weckler on May 1st, 1947, she was never found. The spelling is as it was written at the time and tried to keep sequence of the articles where possible. Included pictures of the family and letters, one about the history of the farm.
Daily Jefferson County Union
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Friday, May 2, 1947
Have you seen hers This picture of missing Georgia Jean Weckler was taken Mar. 27 when she appeared in a style show in Fort Atkinson, Wis. Since then her permanent wave has straightened. Here is the description of her when she disappeared: Age, 8; height, 4 feet 3 inches; weight, 70 pounds; hair, blond, eyes, brown; clothing, pink button sweater over a blue "T" shirt, blue jeans, blue flowered skirt, rubbers and a brown flowered scarf. ---LeRoy Gore
Posse Seeks Missing Girl Here
Eight-Year-Old Weckler Girl Missing From Route 1 Home
Fort Atkinson and surrounding area residents were alerted this afternoon to aid in the search of blond, brown-eyed, 8-year-old Georgia Jean Weckler, who has been missing since 3:20 pm Thursday. Little Georgia Jean, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George C. Weckler, Route 1, was last seen at the intersection of Highway 12 and the half-a-mile-long Weckler farm drive by Mrs. Carl Floerke, a neighbor, and her young daughter, Mary. Mrs. Floerke dropped off Georgia Jean, a third-grade pupil at the Oakland Center school, there after school yesterday. No clues to her activity or whereabouts after that have as yet been found.
A five hour long search by a 200 member volunteer posse last night, and another search this morning failed to uncover any trace of the girl. An intensified search, aided by Erling Mickalson and Warren Shaw in an airplane, got underway early this afternoon.
Jefferson County Sheriff George Perry and his deputies, who are directing the search, are investigating the possibility of foul play. An 18-year-old Whitewater youth whose car was seen in the vicinity of the Weckler farm home yesterday, was questioned extensively last night and then released.
Other clues were being tracked down this afternoon. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had not been called into the case by this noon. Center of the search last night and this morning was a 20-acre wooded tract which adjoins the Weckler driveway. A third-grade classmate, Beverly Ebersohl, reported that Georgia had mentioned that she intended to pick flowers in the woods for use in May baskets.
Young Georgia, a first-year 4H club member, reportedly "knew" the wood area and the possibility of her getting lost is, believed to be slim. However, the posse composed of Fort Atkinson and Cambridge Legionnaires, volunteer firemen from Cambridge, neighbors and friends of the well known Weckler family, and deputies was instructed to search the area thoroughly in the possibility that she had suffered some injury.
The girl is described as being about 51 inches tall, about 70 pounds in weight, brown eyed, and having shoulder length straight blond hair. When last seen she was wearing a pink, button sweater over a blue "T" shirt, a blue and red flowered skirt over blue jeans, rubbers, and a brown flowered head scarf.
Usually Georgia Jean, her sister, Joan, 10, and her brother, LaVerne, 12 ride bicycles from their farm home situated about six miles west of Fort Atkinson to the Oakland Center school, about 1 ½ miles away. Because of yesterday morning's rain, however, the three were driven to the school by Mrs. Weckler. Georgia Jean was released from school at 3 pm a half hour earlier than Joan and LaVerne completed their work and was driven as far as the Weckler drive by Mrs. Floerke, who had called for her daughter. According to Mrs. Floerke, Georgia Jean left the car and went directly to pick up the mail in the rural box at the entrance to the drive. She was last seen, with the bundle of mail tucked under her arm, walking down the curved gravel drive toward her home. Mrs. Floerke told sheriff's officials that she saw no car or person in the immediate area when she left Georgia Jean off.
Mrs. Weckler says she did not become alarmed when Georgia did not return home immediately after school. She reported that Mr. Weckler had taken the car to Jefferson and she had assumed that he had picked her up. When Weckler returned at 6 p. m. without Georgia, the search began.
Today, the sheriff's office is attempting to track down any "suspicious"' events that might have been connected with the girl's disappearance.
Ernie Simdon, Fort Atkinson, informed officers that he drove to Oakland about 3:45 yesterday afternoon and that an "old" car, believed to be a Ford, pulled out in front of him from the vicinity of the Weckler drive and that it stayed ahead of him until he stopped in Oakland Center.
He reported that he had not noticed the car before the Weckler drive area and believed that it might have started out from there. Deep tire tracks, possibly made by a car starting out fast, were observed in the entrance to the drive this morning.
Mrs. Twist, teacher at the near by Ives school, told police that she observed an "old" car come slowly by the school at about 3:50 p. m. yesterday and then pull up and stop in front of her car. The driver sat there looking back ford about 5 minutes, Mrs. Twist said, and then pulled out fast when she walked from the school toward her car. Sheriff officials are considering that the car seen by Simdon and that by Mrs. Twist was the same vehicle.
In the search for clues this afternoon, approximately 300 persons many of whom were rounded up in Fort through the aid of John Briggs' loud-speaking midget car continued to tramp through the rain swept woods and fields.
To help during the search emergency, several telephone operators from out-of-town have been called in to aid the local exchange.
Object of the most extensive hunt
in Fort Atkinson history today is
8-year-old Georgia Jean Weckler,
above, who has been missing since3:30 pm. yesterday
The Fort Daily News
Fort Atkinson, Wis.
May 2, 1947
8 -Yr. Old Georgia Jean Weckler Missing Since Thursday Night
Georgia Jean disappeared after being left at the family driveway entrance on highway 12, about one-half mile from the house and within full view of the buildings. Ordinarily, the Weckler children, Laverne, 12, Joan, 10, and Georgia went to the Oakland Center school on their bicycles, but Mrs. Weckler took them in the family automobile Thursday because of the rain.
Mrs. Carl Floerke, a neighbor, picked up Georgia, and her own child, at school and left Georgia off the driveway. Georgia was seen to pick the mail out of the mail box. The mail is also missing, according to report. The other Weckler children are in more advanced classes and go home later. An older sister, Katherine, 16, is a sophomore at Fort Atkinson high school.
A factor that brings the searching parties to check the wooded area thoroughly is that Georgia told a classmate, Beverly Ebersohl, that she planned to go into the woods after school to pick flowers for her May basket, Thursday being May day. There is no body of water of great size within the immediate surroundings of the Weckler farm with the exception of a small creek about one-half mile toward the east. Lake Ripley and Red Cedar Lake are about three and four miles away.
Georgia Jean, who weights 65 and 75 pounds, and is about 52 inches tall, was dressed in blue jeans, blue skirt with a moon pattern in it a light blue "T" shirt, and was wearing a brown scarf tied on her head.
It is one of those incidents in which no one can do anything. The little child is gone, leaving, no traces of her whereabouts. If she is kidnapped, word must be awaited from the abductors during which time the parents can do nothing but wait and pray. The law is helpless except to continue the search.
All sorts of speculation is in the air, rumors also are flying fast but the public is warned to refrain from repeating stories which are not substantiated by facts. Officers are doing all that can be done. They are as helpless as the rest of us until some clues are found on which they can work.
200 MEN IN SEARCH OF WOODS TODAY
Between 200 and 300 men gathered in front of the Municipal building at 12:45 today noon in answer to the call of the American Legion for
men to aid in a search for the missing girl. The search was under the direction of Loren Briese, state traffic officer. The FBI has not been notified.
H. H. Lower, manager of the local telephone company, reported this afternoon that the company has added more operators from neighboring
exchanges to help with emergency calls during the Weckler emergency.
The Wisconsin State Journal
Madison , Friday May 2, 1947
200 Search for Missing Fort Girl, 8
FT. ATKINSON - More than 200 men were combing a 20-acre woods near Ft. Atkinson today after a fruitless all night search for Georgia Weckler, 8, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Weckler. Route 1, who has been missing since 3 p. m. Thursday.
Georgia was last seen by a neighbor, Mrs. Carl Floerke, who left the youngster at the Weckler mail box, 1/2 mile from the house, after driving her home from school. The Weckler farm is off Route 12, 6 miles west of Ft. Atkinson. The missing girl is described as 51 or 52 inches tall, with blonde shoulder-length hair parted in the middle, and brown eyes. She was wearing a pink button sweater over a blue cotton T shirt. She had on blue jeans with a light blue skirt over them. The skirt had one-quarter and one-half moon figures in red colors on it.
Georgia, and her three sisters, Katherine May 18, Joan, 10, and La Verne, 12 usually ride their bicycles to school, but Mrs. Weckler drove them to school Thursday morning because it was raining. After school Mrs. Floerke picked up her own daughter and Georgia at 3 p.m. to bring them home. The other Weckler children get out of school at 3:30 p. m. Mrs. Floerke let Georgia of the car at the Weckler mailbox in full view of the house. As she drove away, her daughter said. "Georgia is going to get their mail." The mail box is across the highway.
Georgia had told classmates that she was going to go through the woods to pick May flowers for May baskets. Part of a 20-acre woods, is on the farm property. More than 200 men from the Cambridge fire department, the American Legion and neighbors searched the woods all Thursday night. The men combed the entire area in a line 4 feet apart.
THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
SATURDAY, MAY 3, 1947
Kidnaping Fear Grows as Search
Fails to Find Clue to Missing Girl
Principal places in the suspected kidnaping of Georgia Jean Weckler (shown)
8 year old Fort Atkinson (Wis.) farm girl, are on this map. She has been missing
Seek Stranger in Black Auto Versions Sifted
Authorities Investigate Story That Girl "Was Seen in Car as Hunt Continues"
Journal Staff Correspondence Fort Atkinson, Wis.
A kidnaper was sought Friday in the disappearance of 8 year old Georgia Jean Weckler. The little girl has been missing since Thursday afternoon, when, after being given a "lift" home from school, she turned into the familar lane leading to the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George C. Weckler, well to do farmers living off Highway 12 six miles west of here. Since that time, search parties numbering as high as 300 have hunted through the rolling farm country for the child. The search widened Saturday to the district east of Fort Atkinson. No clue to her disappearance has been found.
Black Car Sought
Two incidents, related to authorities, have started a hunt for a man in his late twenties, driving a black, four door 1936 Ford sedan, equipped with a spotlight and a spare tire carried on the rear. The black car, it was related, had been seen twice near the Weckler farm about the time the girl disappeared. The two stories told to the men of Sheriff George Perry of Jefferson county contained some contradictions between them, especially in time, which was not closely noted: They were:
1. About 3:40 p.m. Thursday, some 10 minutes after Georgia Jean was seen last, Ernie Simdon, Fort Atkinson, was driving east on Highway 12. A black Ford sedan turned out of a byway ahead of him and he followed it to the city. He believes that the side road was the lane leading to the Weckler farm.
2. About 3:50 p.m. the teacher of the Ives school, about two and onehalf miles southwest of the Weckler home, noticed a car. School had been dismissed and she remained alone, putting the Friday lessons on the blackboard. The car, on the side road running past the school, moved slowly and hesitantly. The teacher went to the door and looked out. The car speeded up and went away. It resembled the one seen by Simdon.
Third Story Checked
A third story is being checked by Fort Atkinson police. Some time between 3:30 and p.m., Sam Klement of Fort Atkinson stopped his car at an arterial sign near the Fort Atkinson telephone exchange. "An "old" car parked, and a man and woman got out, he told Police Chief Harry O. Mueller. As they were half way across the street, a little girl in the back seat of the automobile cried, "Let me out. I want to go home." The man, he related, turned back, reached into the car and appeared to strike the girl or pull something over her head. Klement said the incident also was seen by two men standing on a corner and possibly by pickets marching in front of the telephone building. The account of the missing girl's actions Thursday afternoon follows a comfortable, familiar pattern until the point where she entered the familiar lane leading to her home. Then it ends abruptly.
Intended to Pick Flowers until 3 p.m. Georgia Jean was at the Oakland Center school, a short distance west of her home. She is a third grade pupil. She had been driven to school by her mother her way home she was given a ride by Mrs. Carl Floerke, a neighbor. In the car Georgia Jean mentioned that she thought she would pick flowers for a May basket. Mrs. Floerke let the girl out at the entrance to the lane leading to the Weckler 200 acre farm. As she drove away, her daughter, Mary, 6, looked out the back window. "She's reaching into the mailbox, mama," she said. That was the last anyone was known to have seen Georgia Jean. The box was believed to have contained a great deal of mail. Georgia Jean's father, treasurer of the town of Oakland, receives a great deal of mail, especially at the first of the month. No trace of any mail the girl may have been carrying has been found. Mrs. Weckler was not alarmed at first by Georgia Jean's failure to arrive home. Weckler had driven to Fort Atkinson and she believed that he had picked up Georgia Jean and taken her along.
Searched Through Night
But when Weckler returned without the girl at 6 p.m., a search was organized. It continued, by a small group, throughout the night. Friday morning, a big search started. The Oakland Center school was dismissed by the teacher, Mrs. Don Miller. The Fort Atkinson high school dismissed any boy pupils who wanted to join the hunt. Fort Atkinson factories extended the same privilege to male workers. A sound truck, driven by John Briggs, went through Fort Atkinson streets, telling of the lost girl and asking for volunteers. A total of 116 cars appeared within half an hour. Upward of 300 searchers were in the hunt at one time Friday afternoon. Two airplanes droned overhead. The country around the Weckler home is farm land wide tracts of field and pasture, smaller groves of trees, the largest of them not much more than 40 acres. There are two lakes near by, Lake Ripley, where there is a cottage colony, and Red Cedar Lake, surrounded by marshy shores. The woodlands are fairly open, without much cluttering of underbrush. Hunters Scour Countryside There is nothing in the neighborhood not to be known fully by an 8 year old girl. Through this placid countryside the searchers walked, looking in ditches, peering under the over turned rowboats on the Lake Ripley beaches. Deserted buildings and farm sheds were searched. The lane to the Weckler home was scoured over and over again.
The search spread to a radius of four miles from the Weckler home. One small party, acting on a tip, made a search near Watertown. Men walked four feet apart through the small woods in which a child might go to pick May flowers. Sheriff deputies led the larger parties. The smaller adult groups worked by themselves, assigned to a geographical area by Sheriff Perry.
The skies were gray and rain fell intermittently on the searching parties. Friday night, the search took a fantastic turn. Acting on a report that a Fond du Lac fortune teller had predicted that the girl would be found alive, Elmer Weckler, an uncle of Georgia Jean, drove to that city: He received this advice
'Go west from the farm to a gravel road leading southwest. There, in deserted house, Georgia Jean will be found in good shape with a man' To follow down every possible angle, two county squad cars and a state traffic police car followed the instructions. They went down a road answering the description and probed into empty buildings. One farm was aroused from sleep, but there were no discoveries.
Footprint Is Found
Only once did a searching party uncover anything. Georgia Jean's brother, La Verne, 12, was one of the discoverers. With Richard Northey, 18, and Boddy Frey, 19, he was hunting through a woods near the Ives school, when they found the footprint of a small girl. One of Georgia Jean's shoes fitted the print. But Saturday Eileen Armstrong, a neighbor girl, said that the footprint was hers. She said she had made it when picking May flowers.
The big, comfortable Weckler house was turned into tumult by the incidents of the search. Normally, those living there are Georgia Jean, her father, who is 54; her mother, Eleanor, 42; two sisters, Katharine May, 16, and Joan, 10, and her brother, La Verne. Friday it was filled with neighbor women, in to help. They brought with them heaping mounds of food and cake, from which they proferred lunches to the men who were searching. In the afternoon the Red Cross set up a stand there.
Georgia Jean's father, weary eyed, repressing fear beneath an exterior calmness, ate Friday afternoon for the first time since the search began. Her mother, near a breakdown, was kept for a time under sedatives. Many of the searchers surged through the house, using respites to gulp a lunch. Others refused. "They got troubles enough," they said, indicating the big farmhouse. And they went back to the search.
Journal Staff Correspondence, Fort Atkinson, Wis.
Here is a description of Georgia Jean Weckler, the missing girl, age 8;
height 4feet 3 inches; weight, 70 pounds; hair, blond; eyes, brown;
Clothing, pink button sweater over a blue "T" shirt, blue jeans,
blue flowered skirt, rubbers and a brown flowered scarf.
Seek Missing Fort Atkinson Farm Girl 8
Some of the hundreds of searchers gather to clear information in the search for missing Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, near Fort Atkinson, Wis. The little girl disappeared Thursday afternoon as she started down the road, leading to her farm home (arrow). She had been driven from Oakland Center school, where she is in third grade, by a neighbor and wag left on Highway 12. She was last seen when she looked in the family mailbox, near where this picture was made. -Journal Staff
'The missing girl's mother, Eleanor, is with Katharine May, 16. The youngster's father, George, posed as he snatched a quick lunch after leading the search. With him is Joan, 10. Georgia Jean also has a brother, La Verne, 12.
The little girl was driven from school br Mrs. Carl Floerke. Mary Floerke, 6, was with them and, looking from the rear window of the Floerke car, she watched Georgia Jean reach into the Weckler mailbox.
Here is the Oakland Center school, which Georgia Jean attends: It is on United States Highway 12, about a mile and a half west of the side road, leading to the Weckler home. The school closed Friday so the pupils could aid in the search.
The Wisconsin State Journal
Madison, Saturday, May 3 1947
Missing Girl, 8, Believed Kidnaped;
Fort Police Spur Search for Dark Car
GEORGIA JEAN WECKLER
Youngster Reported Seen in Vehicle,
Head Was Covered
FBI in Contact with Authorities; Clue of Footprint in Woods Fades
FT. ATKINSON - Convinced that his 8-year-old daughter, Georgia Jean Weckler, has been kidnaped, George Weckler this afternoon offered $1,000 cash reward for the arrest of the kidnaper or any information regarding the whereabouts of his missing daughter.
FT. ATKINSON-The report of a girl struggling to get out of dark car parked on a Ft. Atkinson street Thursday, shortly after Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, had been last seen, today brought the fear of kidnaping into the case. After a report that a man who' got out of the car returned ands, either hit the girl or covered her head with a blanket, Ft. Atkinson police were asking witnesses of the incident to check with the police station or sheriff's office. FBI in Close Contact While members of the girl's family said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had been called into the case, H. K. Johnson, agent in charge of the Milwaukee district, said
"We have been in close contact with local authorities and there is no indication of federal violations within the investigation jurisdiction of the FBI at the present time. Sara Klemens FT. Atkinson, reported the incident which again involved a dark car which had been reported several times in the area in which the girl had disappeared to Police Chief Harry Mueller. Stopping for a traffic light between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Thursday at S. Main st. and Milwaukee ave. in Ft. Atkinson. he had noted a 'car parked across the street, ', Klement said. As he waited, a youngster in the car of approximately the age of the missing girl began sobbing, he said, and called out.
"Let me out! I want to go home!"
A man and woman had just left the car, Klement said, and were in the middle of the street. He believed that another person was in the car, possibly holding the girl. The man returned from the middle of the street to the car where he either hit the girl or put something over her head.
Others Saw Incident
Klement moved to get out of the car, but noted two men who had also witnessed the incident coming toward the car from the street corner where they had been standing. Cars behind him began honking as the street light changed, and he started his car, believing that the two men on the corner could handle the situation. The incident was between a half hour and an hour after Mrs. Carl Floerke had taken the missing girl home and dropped her at the entrance to the half-mile long farm lane leading to the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George C. Weckler, 6 miles west of Ft. Atkinson.
A dark car had been seen in the area twice before. Ernie Simdon, Ft. Atkinson, told officers that he drove to Oakland about 3:45 Thursday and that a dark car had pulled out ahead of him in the vicinity of the Weckler drive and stayed ahead of him until he reached Oakland Center. Deep tire tracks, possibly made by a car starting out fast, were found Friday at the entrance to the drive.
Noticed Similar Car
A Mrs. Twist, teacher at the nearby Ives school, told police that she had noted a similar car drive ' slowly by the school at about 3:50 Thursday and then pull up and stop ahead of her car. The driver sat there, looking back, for about 5 minutes and then pulled out fast when she walked from the school toward her car.
Other developments in the three-day-old case included the finding of a footprint in a wooded area 2 miles south of the farm on which the little girl lived; search for a hired man from a farm about 5 miles away who had been fired the morning the girl disappeared, and the ending of the organized search which had included up to 500 men scouring the countryside.
The footprint was found by three youths, one of them a brother of the missing girl, in a woods on the Borchart farm between Rockdale and Highway 106. A shoe of the girl matched the footprint exactly, Rudy Reichert, Jefferson county traffic officer, reported. Officers later said that the print was that of a little neighbor girl, Eileen Armstrong, who said that she was picking flowers in the woods in the vicinity where the print was found.
Search was continuing today for the hired man who had left his job Thursday morning. He had walked to Highway 18 and hitch hiked to Jefferson where he intended to get a bus for Milwaukee, police officials learned.
His employer said that the youth had a reform school record, but that he could not drive a car. It was not know whether he knew the missing girl. His picture was taken to Jefferson County Sheriff George. Perry. After. two days of searching, organized search was abandoned this morning. Planes piloted by Erling Mickelson and Wilson Beebe had reported that flying at low level over leafless trees gave an excellent view of the ground and that they were able to see 10 to 12 feet down in nearby lakes.
Police also were checking a report involving two youths seen walking down the road near the entrance to the Weckler farm Thursday afternoon. They were seen by Mr. and Mrs. "Stub" Swenson and Iver Nelson employed at the Ube Bros. electrical plant in Ft. Atkinson, as they were driving down the road. One wore a white sailor's cap and the other a black and white checked shirt, they told Neal Smithback, Dane county night jailer who lives in Cambridge.
Fortune Teller Tip on Kidnap; Proves False
Dane county was left virtually without patrol squad car protection late Friday night and early this morning when officers sped towards Cambridge to investigate a kidnaping "hot tip" which orginated it was ultimately was learned with a fortune teller
At 11:30 Friday night, a Jefferson squad car radioed to Madison and Dane county officers, asking for all available cars to come to the stop light on Highway 12 at the edge of Cambridge. "We've got a hot tip." they said Asked what it was, they said it was too hot to put on the air.
With county lines meaning nothing, some 35 cars congregated at the traffic light, where they were told that it had been learned that Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, missing since Thursday from near her home near Ft. Atkinson, would be found in a vacant house west of her home. If she were found within 24 hours, she would be alive. And if not she would be dead. All of the Dane county sheriff's office and traffic department's cars were there but one. Plus cars from Madison, the town of Madison, Maple Bluff, the town of Blooming Grove, and state patrol cars in the area were there. They searched for hours. They found nothing. And it finally developed that an uncle of the missing girl had gone to a fortune teller to get the "hot tip."
Misc Articles - Saturday May 3rd, 1947
Police Admit Lack of Clues; Appeal for Aid Farmer
Friends Start Reward Fund; Search of Countryside Being Continued
Journal Staff Correspondence
Fort Atkinson, Wis. While the search for little 8 year old Georgia Jean Weckler or her kidnaper spread throughout the midwest Saturday, her grief stricken father offered a $1,000 reward "for any clue" and farmer friends rallied to raise the reward to $2,000. Convinced that the blond haired, brown-eyed girl had been abducted, George C. Weckler, well to do farmer, said he would make the reward for any information "leading to the arrest of the person who has kidnaped my daughter." He made the offer to Sheriff George Perry as members of searching parties rested on the lawn of his home, which has become headquarters for the hunt for Georgia Jean, missing since 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
"Money doesn't mean a thing if I can get my child back," Weckler said. "I'm convinced it's a kidnaping. I thought so from the start. The kidnaper is probably out of the area by this time." His voice broke, and, sobbing, he left the group and went into his home where his wife has been prostrated.
Neighbors Sign Up,
Attempting to raise another $1,000 reward, Weckler's neighbors subscribed sums from $5 to $25 at the home and at the by road leading from Highway 12, where the little girl was last seen. The subscription ran up to $200 in the first five minutes.
Search parties continued to work Saturday night, and one group drove almost to Stoughton to check on a car reported to have been abandoned two days ago. An estimated 600 persons, double earlier searching groups, scoured the country Saturday in an area of 50 miles of the Weckler home, six Anises west of here. Special attention was paid to deserted buildings, and Sheriff Perry and Dist. Atty. Francis Garity, in a statewide call for help, asked everyone, but especially rural persons, to cooperate in the search.
"Look in all vacant buildings and cottages, culverts, and in school houses empty over the weekend; look for children's clothing, any mail with the name Weckler and any newspapers from this area," they asked.
Dozens of Leads. Tracked
Authorities said dozens of leads had been tracked down, but not a single clue had been turned up. "We aren't any farther ahead now than we were yesterday at the same time," Garity said Saturday night. "Nothing has turned up." "We've tracked down dozens and dozens of leads but they have amounted to nothing," State Traffic Officer Loren Briese said. Garity said that, although he believed the girl had been kidnaped, every part of the immediate vicinity would be searched. He said he , expected the "break" in the case to come from' some place farther away, probably a large city. One party Saturday hunted yard by yard over a small wood near the Weckler farm where a light had been seen Friday night. They found nothing.
Check Lake Geneva Angle Another angle led the investigation to Lake Geneva where a man was reported to have tried to entice a girl into his car Thursday night. Rowe Hopkins, chief of police at Lake Geneva, said that a man, believed driving a Ford car, had offered an 8 year old girl $1 to enter his car. He said descriptions of the car varied, and that because of darkness the girl and her companions could not give a description of Man. The incident happened across the street from the chief's home he said believed only a attempted search would be unsuccessful.
The Weckler mail was searched for ransom note, but none appeared. The little girl was believed to have taken a large amount of mail from the box just before she disappeared, Thursday. A strong lead in the case seemed to be a Ford car
Seeks Car in Lane
About the time Georgia Jean disappeared, Marvin Thom, 41, hand on a neighbors farm, was driving a tractor on Highway 12 past the byroad leading to the Weckler farm. He said he saw a black car backing down the Weckler lane. The car, he said, backed 200 feet to the highway, then headed west. He described it as a black 1936 Ford two door sedan, with a spotlight painted gray. It contained one visible passenger, he said, a man about 25 with medium brown hair, appearing medium height. The driver, Thom said, was unshaved and "rough looking." A black car also was seen acting suspiciously to the east of Fort Atkinson.
Girl's Description Journal Staff Correspondence
Fort Atkinson, Wis. Here is a description of Georgia Jean Weckler, the missing girl: Age, 8; height, 4 feet 3 inches; weight, 70 pounds; hair, blond; eyes, brown; clothing, pink button sweater over a blue "T" shirt, blue jeans, blue flowered skirt, rubbers and a brown flowered scarf.
The Wisconsin State Journal
Madison, Sunday, May 4. 1947
Clues Fail; Hope Wanes for Lost Girl
State Waits Anxiously for News as Ft. Atkinson Farm Child Vanishes
Officers, Left Without Leads, Wait 'Break'
Posses of 1,000 Men Call off Two Day Hunt Planes Search On
By JOHN NEWHOUSE (State Journal Staff Writer)
Police in this area late Saturday night sought to turn back S. S. Feastes, Camp McCoy truck driver, who had given Ft. Atkinson police some information on a. car which might have been involved in the disappearance of Georgia Jean Weckler. Officials sought to have him return and point out the exact place where he had seen a car weave across the road near where a little girl was standing. He was forced to pass on the right side, then his view was hidden as he went over the hill, he said. His report corroborated one about such a car given earlier to authorities.
FT. ATKINSON - Hope of finding Georgia Jean Weckler, missing since Thursday, when a neighbor dropped her at a mailbox at the head of a road leading to her farm home, was waning rapidly Saturday; night. No real clues were found during the day, and rumors proved foundationless upon investigation.
Posses Give Up
Planes still flew over the area, checking woods and lakes, with the aerial search, extended into, parts of Dana County, but the posses which had number as high as 1,000 men called off its search A. thorough check of the area for miles around, with searchers peering into cisterns, wells, culverts, and buildings had revealed not the slightest trace of the girl, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Weckler, who live 6 miles north of Ft. Atkinson.
Wait for `Break'
As the case came to the grim job of waiting for a first "break," Dist. Atty. Francis Garity told the press that his men were at a standstill. "We haven't a clue to follow," he said. Reports of a girl struggling in a car on a Ft. Atkinson intersection were investigated, but nothing new developed. Sam Klement, Ft. Atkinson, said that he had been waiting for a stop light to change at the S. Main st. and Milwaukee ave. intersection Thursday when he had seen a little girl struggling to get out of a dark car. A man who had just left the car returned and either hit or covered the head of the child, with other men going to the car and cars behind him honking, Klement drove on.
No Witnesses Found
Though an appeal was sent out for the witnesses of the incident to contact police authorities, no response was made. The father of the girl, at a loss for an explanation, believed that she had started down the half-mile long road to the farm home and been picked up by someone driving into the lane who had then backed out.
The belief was bolstered by the story of Ernie Simdon, who had been driving north on Highway 12 and had found a dark cat ahead of him when he came over the brow of a hill before the farm lane. It had not been ahead of him before, he said.
Farmers Match Reward
A reward of $1.000 for the apprehension of whoever had kidnaped the girl or any clue leading to her rescue was being matched by tired farmers of the area who had been searching the woods and fields for two days and nights. At the suggestion of Erwin Pantel, who contributed an initial $25, Will Northey was mad treasurer of a fund to match the reward offer of the father of the missing girl. Farmers stepped up to Northey standing a few paces from the mailbox where the girl was last seen and dug into their pockets for cold cash. Within 5 minutes, they had contributed $250 and the fund raising was still going on into the night.
Erling Mickalson, operator of Mickalson's Flying Service, Charles Ward, and Dick Smith, each with observers in their planes, took to the air for their second day of searching the area. The J. C. Penney store in Ft. Atkinson paid for flying time the first day, and Mickalson said he was continuing the second day search because "somebody's got to do it."
Out of Grief, Nightmare Looms A Nameless'Him'
(By Staff Writer)
FT. ATKINSON -There was only the waiting Saturday on the George Weckler farm the hard, cruel, senseless waiting. The waiting and the person, formless and nameless like a man in a nightmare, that they thought of only as "him." Believe 'He' is Kidnaper "He" was the man, or woman, or man and woman, who they felt had kidnaped their daughter, Georgia Jean, only 8 years old. They tried not to refer to "him," but it slipped out. "I don't know why 'he' had to take such a little girl," said Mrs. Weckler, helpless, choking back the rebellion at her helplessness. That feeling had its beginning Thursday afternoon. The other two grade school children, La Verne, 12, and Joan, 10, had come home from school.
"Feels Bit of Anxiety"
Where's Georgia?" she had asked, and she had felt a twinge of anxiety when they said that she had come home with Mrs. Carl Floerke, a neighbor, earlier. After a while she went to Mrs. Floerke's home, and the feeling heightened when she learned that the little girl had got out at the mailbox, a half mile from their home. Perhaps her husband had picked up the little girl, but when he came home at 6, he was alone.
They had called the sheriff and the posses had come in, and hope still persisted, but it was not easy. "We gave `him' too much time," said Mrs. Weckler, twisting a handkerchief in her hands as she sat in the living room of their home. "We just game `him' too much time."
The neighbor women bustled about, feeding the men who came and went, from stores of food that "just appeared." And those of them who had nothing to do went to scouring the ice box, and the wood work. ' They felt that they had to be doing something. "Poor George ," said Mrs. Weckler. "His father he's 85 is sick in the Fort hospital, and. he'll' wonder why George can't come in to see him. We haven't told him, and he'll wonder."
Never Any News
The long day dragged along. People no longer jumped when the telephone rang. There was never any news. "We thought we'd been through the worst when the children had polio last August," said Mrs. Weckler, her face twisting into a mirthless smile. "It would be better if she had been killed on the highway. Then, at least we'd know ... " The planes droned overhead, and a dank rain began to patter against the windows. "She always had a fear of kidnaping," said Mrs. Weckler. "You could tell it when there were stories in the paper. "Oh, why did 'he' have to take such a little girl?" The specter of "him" hung over the knots of people in the front yard, who stood and talked, went out to check rumors, went through the barns and poked into the wells and cesspool again.
"There just isn't anything that I we know," said the father of the missing girl helplessly. 'East - west - north - south - we don't know where 'he' is. "There isn't a clue not a' ' piece of cloth, or a note nothing." The long day dragged to a close. 'As the light faded, Weckler told the men that they might as well go home to their chores. There was nothing more that could be done. ' There was just the waiting '' the waiting and the wondering what "he" was doing, or what "he" had done.
Girl, 17, Missing in Waukesha County
The Waukesha county sheriff Saturday night asked state authorities' aid in seeking information as to the where bouts of Shirley Mae Church, 17, reported missing from home since Friday at 6 p. m. She is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds, has light brown hair, blue eyes and a small scar on her left cheek and chin. When last seen she was wearing a grey pin stripe suit, a light tan trench coat, a yellow scarf with red flowers, and black and white oxford shoes.
Focal point of interest of thousands of people in this area and state today is the Ft. Atkinson area farm home of Mr. and Mrs. George Weckler, whose 8-year-old daughter has been missing since Thursday and is feared, kidnaped. The corner where she was dropped by a neighbor bringing her home from school is shown in the foreground of the picture at the upper left, with the half mile road leading to the home in the background. The farm home is at the right above. Search included a checking of all vacant houses, culverts, cisterns, and wells. In the picture at the lower left, a group of the searchers is probing a well. At the lower right are the mother of the missing girl and one of the sisters, Katherine. Photos by John Newhouse and Arthur M.Vinie
Neighbors Match $1,000 Reward for Missing Girl
Weary with their hunt, farmers flocked to subscribe hard cash to match a reward of $1,000 offered by George Weckler, father of the missing girl. At the upper left, they're shown about a car, paying their cash near the mail box where 8-yearold Georgia Jean Weckler was last seen. At the upper right is the mail box on Highway 12 about 8 miles north of Ft. Atkinson, where the little girl picked up the mail and was starting for home when she vanished.
Left to right in the foreground are Clayton Monogue and Lyle Hartman. In the background, left to right, are Morville Chapman and William Northey. At the lower left are William Northey, treasurer of the reward fund started by the farmers, and at the lower right Jefferson County Sheriff is talking with Mrs. Carl Floerke, neighbor who dropped the little girl off at the mail box after school,'and Mary, her daughter. who was the last person to see Georgia Jean as they drove away.
SUNDAY, MAY 4, 1947
$1,000 Offered for Missing State Girl
Family Frantic; Neighbors Chip in
Georgia Jean Weckler, R8; of Fort Atkinson, is still missing. As a public service, the Sentinel again publishes this picture in the hope it will help find her. She is blond and brown eyed, weighs 68 pounds and is 82 inches tall. When last seen she was wearing blue jeans, a blue skirt with a moon pattern, a blue T shirt and a brown kerchief around her head. If you know of this girl's whereabouts, notify the police at once. Then call the City Editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel, DAly 3900.
Child, 8, Long Had Fear of Being Kidnaped
FORT ATKINSON, Wis., May 3-(Special) - Distraught after two days and nights of fruitless searching for his missing 8 year old daughter, George C. Weckler late today offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to her recovery or arrest of her kidnaper. "I have been certain since it happened that she has been abducted," the father said. "Money means nothing now. We've got to do something. "I will' pay $1,000 for a definite tip or information leading to the recovery of my daughter or the arrest of' the abductor."
"Georgia has been afraid of being kidnaped," Mrs. Weckler said. No sooner had Weckler announced his reward than neighbors who had been aiding in the hunt signed up and laid down their additions to the $1,000 reward. The first to sign was William Northey. He was followed by Erwin Pantel, Fred Bell, Walter Hupke, Merton Missfelt, Henry Ebbert, Mr. and Mrs. William Scherwitz, Harold Gross, George Draeger, Forrest Regelein, Erwin Ebbert, Vernon Bolger, Leslie Mundt and Wilbur Markey.
Sheriff Checks Leads to Mysterious Black Auto
Seen In Neighborhood
Check Many Leads
Others followed as the growing list passed from hand to hand. By 6:30 pm the additional amount was $325 and Northey said he had "sheets and sheets of folks pledging to add more." Sheriff George Perry of Jefferson County reported "dozens of leads about the black car seen in the neighborhood" had been followed but without, turning up a single clue. "I'm convinced the girl's alive and that she'll show up alive," Perry said. The posses moved toward Stoughton tonight, the third successive night of the search, as the sheriff said: "The investigation is continuing along several lines, in addition to running down leads volunteered. Jefferson and Dane County authorities and state traffic patrolmen are cooperating in the hunt for the black car."
HEARS GIRL'S CRY
The car has' been reported at several spots in the area, and one Fort Atkinson 'Man, Sam Klement, said he had seen such a vehicle in town. He said he heard a little girl cry, "Let me lout." Klement said the man in the car either "threw something over her head or hit her." Klement said he thought no more of the incident until he learned of the Weckler girl's disappearance. The fear and desperation of the father spread to the more than 200 possemen as they slogged through muddy fields, along creeks and into heavily wooded areas seeking a clue to the disappearance of blond haired, brown eyed Georgia Jean. The girl, in the third grade at Oakland Center School, vanished at 3:30 p. m. Thursday after a neighbor had dropped her at the roadway to her home en route from school.
Her last word was, "I'm going into the woods to pick some flowers, for my May basket." Meanwhile, in the Weckler farm home the atmosphere was desperately hopeful. Mrs. Weckler, her son LaVerne, 12, and daughters Joan, 10, and Katherine, 16, went through their daily chores. But there seemed no connection between hand and mind. Their minds remembered all too clearly Georgia Jean's fear of kidnaping.
RECALLS DEGNAN CASE
"Whether it was kidnaping itself or a fear 'that she herself might sometime be kidnaped, I don't know," the anxious mother recalled. "But I remember Georgia mentioning it to me many times,' particularly after Suzanne Degnan was taken and " here she choked back tears killed in Chicago." Neighbors were stunned. Helping with the farm chores and in the kitchen, Mrs. Ivan Jones, Mrs. Edgar Armstrong, Mrs. Edgar Burrow, Mrs. Carl Floerke and Mrs. Donald Miller, the missing girl's teacher, shook their heads You read about these things happening in the city, but not here. "It's particularly tragic that it had to happen to some one as sweet as Georgia. "She's witty, bright, obedient and cheerful, and rather reserved a delightful youngster." The Weckler tragedy struck particularly hard because, as Mrs. Jones said, "You seldom see the mother and father go anywhere without their children. The parents were devoted to (Please Turn to Page 17, Col. 1) ......... missing page
Neighbors Add to $1,000 Reward
Offered for Missing Girl
Eyes riveted on the road from which their sister disappeared, Katherine, 16; Joan, 10,
and La Verne, 12, (left to right) sit on the farmhouse steps waiting and hoping.
Erwin Pantel, farmer neighbor of the Wecklers, adds his contribution to the $1,000
reward offered the father of the missing girl, Others in the searching party crowd
forward to make their contributions.
"Money means nothing, we've got to do something," says George Weckler
left) in offering the $1,000 reward yesterday for information leading to
the, return of his daughter and to her abductor. Sheriff George Perry is
at the right.
Misc Articles - Sunday 4th, 1947
Missing Girl Hunted (Story in adjoining column)
Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, who disappeared at Fort Atkinson, Wis.
[Associated Press wirephoto7)
POSSES SEARCHING FOR GIRL MISSING, FOR THIRD DAY
Fort Atkinson, Wis., may special- The hunt for Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, entered its third day today with posses searching the countryside near her farm home. Agents of the federal bureau of investigation reportedly had been called in to aid the search. The girl's father, George C. Weckler, announced his belief she had been kidnaped and offered a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the abductor's arrest and conviction. Neighboring farmers began adding to the reward offer.
Heard Girl in Car
The kidnaping theory apparently was bolstered by information given Fort Atkinson Police Chief Harry O. Mueller by Sam Klement, a retired farmer living here. Klement said he heard, but did not see, a girl in a black automobile parked. near a downtown intersection shortly after the hour of the kidnaping Thursday afternoon. " Let me out of here. I want to go home," Klement quoted the girl as crying. He said a man and a woman were walking away from, the car, and that the man returned and either threw a blanket over the girl or struck her. Klement did not connect the incident with the disappearance of Georgia Jean until today.
Posses Seach Area
Posses, which at times numbered 1,000 persons, were searching rural areas of western Jefferson and eastern Dane counties, investigating abandoned buildings, probing under culverts, and tracking thru wooded areas The last person who reported seeing the girl was Mrs. Car Floerke, a neighbor of the Wecklers, who drove Georgia Jean home from the Oakland Center school and let her out of the car at 3:3 p. m. Thursday, at the entrance to the Weckler farm on LT. S. highway 12, six miles west of here. Mrs. Floerke said the girl took the Wecklers mail from the mailbox by the roadside and started down the one-half mile gravel lane to her home. Three boys aiding the posses, including the missing girl's brother, La Vern, 12, found a footprint in the lane which fitted her shoes, according to Sheriff George Perry of Jefferson county.
Says Girl Feared Kidnaping
A neighbor, Mrs. Ivan L. Jones, recalled that Georgia Jean had said after hearing of the kidnaping and slaying of Suzanne Degnan in Chicago that she had "always feared kidnaping." What prompted her fear was not known. Sheriff Perry and the girl's father, who is the Oakland township treasurer, were still aiding in the hunt today although both were near exhaustion having gone without sleep since her disappearance. The Wecklers have three other children, Joan, 10, Catherine, 16, and La Vern. All four were stricken with poliomyelitis last September, Georgia Jean being most severely stricken, but all recovered.
Daily Jefferson County Union
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Monday, May 5, 1947
Still Seek Missing Child
Search for Girl or Body Remains Fruitless;
Father and Friends Offer Liberal Rewards
Search Goes On
The mills of justice are grinding slowly, and producing little but chaff 96 hours after eight year-old Georgia Weckler disappeared from near her farm home Thursday afternoon. Enforcement officers admit they are a little closer to a solution to the case than when the frantic father telephoned local police and the sheriff's office Thursday night. The only alternative definitely eliminated seems to be the possibility that Georgia disappeared' voluntarily or met with an accident. The accident possibility has been thoroughly blasted by an intensive search which has covered practically every inch of adjacent area.
The hope that this may have been kidnaping for ransom fades with each passing hour. There have been ample opportunities for the delivery of a ransom note. None like to contemplate the other possibilities.
The most acceptable current theory seems to be that, a few seconds after the girl got out of, Mrs. Floerke's car, picked up the' mail from the mail box, and started down the driveway, a much discussed "black car" whisked in, the driver persuaded her to enter in the belief that she was headed for home, the car backed out onto the highway again and sped away. The "black car" theory figures in the stories of several volunteer witnesses.
Mrs Lawrence Twist, teacher at Ives school south of Oakland Center, reports a car loitering in the vicinity just after the close of school, Marvin Thom, 41 year-old farm hand riding a tractor in a near by field gave more detailed description of the car and the unshaven, rough, looking man driving it. Sam Klement had reported a car answering the general description in the streets of Fort Atkinson. Mr. Klement reported that a girl in the rear seat had pled to be taken home, but the man and woman who accompanied her quieted her with rough treatment. A local paper carrier boy reported a similar incident in east Fort Atkinson the same day. Mr. Klement's report of a young girl being roughly quieted in a parked car off Main street Thursday afternoon has been backed up by Mrs. Ralph Rumary, of 606 Whitewater Avenue, who has reported that she witnessed the incident while en route home between 3:30 and 3:45 p. m. Thursday. She said the child was mishandled by a "roughly dressed" couple who got in the car and drove down Milwaukee Ave. E. Most definite information about the "black car" has been furnished by S. L. Feaster, a septic tank cleaning operator from Wisconsin Rapids. Mr. Feaster was driving from Camp McCoy to Fort Sheridan right behind a black sedan. The sedan made a left hand turn directly into a farm driveway in front of Mr. Feaster, and the things he said to the driver were very vigorous indeed. Mr. Feaster is now convinced that the driveway into which the car turned was the Weckler driveway. He drove back to Fort from Sparta yesterday, and is standing by to furnish needed information.
The Weckler children had been carefully instructed not to enter cars driven by strangers, but the father points out that it is not unlikely that she might have got into a car within the driveway. The driveway is a dead end road leading to the Weckler home, and Georgia would naturally assume that a driver headed in that direction was en route to conduct business with her father, who is town treasurer. Numerous black cars, several of them without license plates, have been halted by police, but the drivers have been able to furnish reasonable alibis. The Daniels brothers of North Shore were questioned last night when their sedan, without license plates and loaded with a radio, stove pipe, mop and pail, clothing, picture frame and Sunday newspapers, was discovered in Fort. They were questioned briefly and released.
A search of vacant houses all over the area has not yielded anything which seems to apply to the Weckler case. officials have said repeatedly that the FBI is not in the case yet, since there is no conclusive evidence that federal laws have been invaded. The Ft. Atkinson Junior Chamber of Commerce today offered to aid city street department in the search of all manholes and catch basins in the city. The Fort Red Cross chapter, which aided in the distribution of food to searchers Friday, is still standing by for further aid.
In Chicago, a Fort Knox, Ky., sergeant has been released after deep questioning. The soldier was picked up after a parking lot attendant said his car had blood stains on the back seat.
Another development of the case is that a former military intelligence agent, Oscar Menzel, Milwaukee, has offered to act as a go-between for the return of the child. Menzel, a close friend of the family, says there have been so many police around the Weckler home that no kidnaper would risk attempting a contact.
District attorney Francis Garity has termed the girl's disappearance "definitely a kidnaping." No ransom note has been received and Garity believes that the 8-year-old's abductor may be a pervert.
Checking every possibility that the disappearance of Georgia Weckler might have been a strictly local crime,' officers this morning redoubled their search for the body. Two dozen farmers dug through a rubbish pile near the Weckler farm, but found no evidence.
The reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the abductor, or the return of Georgia Weckler had reached $2,500 last night, and was growing rapidly. Neighbors quickly raised another $1,500. This morning the For Atkinson Chamber of Commerce launched a similar fund in the city, and donations are growing by the hour.
The Wecklers, from the father and mother to the children, faced the tragedy with amazing courage. George Weckler is obviously a shocked and dazed man, but clings to the hope that no news is good news. "We won't give up," he keeps saying.
Only once or twice have the Wecklers broken down, and then only briefly. "I guess it's the kindness of folks from country and city that's kept us going," said Mr. Weckler.
Friday, for instance, loud speaker appeals were sent out 'for volunteer searching parties. More than 300 searchers from Fort responded in a half hour, joined by 700 more farmers and residents of Cambridge and Edgerton.
The long vigil began at dusk Thursday night when Georgia's absence first became a serious concern. The father notified local and county officers, and ran for the woods southeast of the Weckler home with a flashlight. "My first thought," he said, "was that Georgia might have been struck and injured by a falling tree limb, and lying helpless in the woods."
How the news spread so rapidly he doesn't know, but near the top of the hillside he saw flashlights approaching from the opposite side. Since then the Weckler's have been surrounded by friends, many of whom snatch only a few brief hours of sleep' each night.
Mr. Weckler reserved some of his choicest praise for the press. While newsmen have been barred from talking with Mrs. Weckler, whose strain was emphasized by constant questioning, Mr. Weckler himself has been ready and willing to answer all questions. lie turned thumbs down on a proposal to bar newsmen from the farm. "They're trying to help," he said. "I'm a firm believer in publicity in a case like this."
And the press to the mid-west has responded with the cream of their reporters. Two of the leading figures last night were soft spoken Lou Paris of the Chicago Times; credited with "'breaking" the Degnan case, and slender Adams of the United Press. The parade continued this morning as Fort becomes the mecca for the mighty newsmen and cameramen of the nation and the weary search goes on from one flimsy clue to another.
Thief Ransacks Home Here; Car Stolen, Found
Police today attempted to tie up the disappearance, Georgia Weckler with a break in this morning at the home of Mrs. E. R. Parker, route 2, and a trail of stolen cars starting at Melrose Park, Ill., leading into the Fort, and then to Geneva township.
The Parker home was entered this morning about 9:30 by a man described by Mrs. Warren Parker, who confronted him in the back yard of her home as about 20, large and blond, wearing bibless overalls and a tan sports shirt. The man fled when approached by Mrs. Parker and sped toward Whitewater on highway 12. The Parker home was ransacked, but it was not known what items were taken.
And the trail of stolen cars: E. W. Frohmader, 212 Roosevelt St., reported this morning that a blue car a 1941 Plymouth coach with no license plates had been abandoned in front of his home since sometime Saturday. The car is believed to be the property of Louis Goesswein, Melrose Park, Ill. Such a car has been reported missing by Sterling, Ill., police.
The automobile of Earl Dunlap, 718 Sherman Ave., W., was stolen (Saturday night or Sunday morning from in front of the Dunlap home. It has been recovered in Geneva, near Elkhorn in Walworth county. At Geneva, a black, 1936 Chevrolet was reported stolen early Sunday morning.
From Near This Spot, 8-Year-Old Georgia Jean Weckler Was Taken Taken
Scene of Georgia Weckler's disappearance is shown in this Daily Union photo. To the extreme left the mail box from which she removed what the mailman described as 'quite a bunch of mail. The two men just to the right are District Attorney Garity (black coat) and the father, George Weckler. At the moment the photo was snapped, Weckler was' preparing to announce the posting of a $1,000 reward. A few minutes later the group of men, part of whom are shown at the extreme right, had collected $250 more. Now the fund is believed to be approaching $4,000 and just this morning the Fort Chamber of Commerce launched a Main Street drive for reward funds. The arrow points to the buildings on the Weckler farm at the end of a deadend road about a half mile from the highway.
Start of One of the Many Searched for Kidnap Clues
Thirty minutes after John Briggs had made a street by street appeal for volunteers to tramp the woods south of the George Weckler farm in search of Georgia Weckler, more than 300 men had gathered at the Fort Municipal building Friday. A portion of the group, composed of business men, laborers and high school students, is shown here heading for the woods. Overhead at frequent intervals roared the plane of Erling Mickalson, Mid City Airport manager, who has devoted more than two days to the search. "Even at a time like this, it's nice to know how many kind and friendly people there are in the world," said the grief stricken father.
The Fort Daily News
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Monday May 5, 1947
Anyone Seen This Bright Eyed Youngster?
This picture was taken of Georgia Jean Weckler
about a year ago at the age of 7 years. She is
blond with brown eyes. A nation-wide search is
being made for her since she disappeared last
For 8-Year Old Girl Continues Over Wide Area
The search for 8-year-old Georgia Jean Weckler continues over a wide area today. Press and radio have broadcast the news to the world. But over the weekend only hope, rumor, despair were brought to the family and friends. Reporters, photographers and radio men from Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison have been here giving the news to the world and working with the officers in trying to track down every clue as soon as it appears. But nothing of a definite, tangible nature has as yet been uncovered which will help solve the mystery no ransom notes, no word from anyone, have as yet been received by the grief stricken parents. All are waiting for some word from Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, who disappeared from the driveway leading to her farm home six miles west of' ort Atkinson Thursday afternoon. No definite news has brought the case any nearer solution by 2 p.m. today. A picture of what has happened in the area has been established, however.
The area, covering 16 miles square, has been searched and, probed carefully by hundreds of friends and neighbors. It has been surveyed closely from the air by Erling Mickalson, and other flyers from the Mid City airport. The immediate farm area and all buildings have been sifted over and over. Nothing tangible has been found. Nothing that has fitted into the picture to point a definite direction has been found, with the exception of incidents on highway; 12 in the vicinity of the driveway.
The complete facilities of the law enforcement officers of Jefferson and Dane counties are still pounding on in their investigation and checking and rechecking every bit of information that can be gleaned. George Weckler, the girl's father, has said that he has always, since the beginning, felt that his daughter was abducted. Jefferson County District Attcrney Francis Garity has said that he believes the child has been abducted. State Traffic Patrolman Toren Briese, working closely with Garity, and the sheriffs of Jefferson and Dane counties in the case, says he believes the child was abducted. Marvin Thom, who works with Edgar Burrow, Save the officer:, a story from which to work and that story stands and has gained in credence as the evidence piles' in. S. L. Feaster, Wisconsin Pavids, arrived here Sunday evening to back up Thorn's story.
The story involves a black. 1936 Ford tudor sedan, which was at the Weckler driveway at the time Georgia was at the mailbox after being let out of the car of Mrs. Carl Floerke, who drove her home from school.
Feaster's story starts the chain. Shortly after 3 o'clock Thursday afternoon, Feaster was driving his sewer cleaning truck from Cambridge toward Fort Atkinson on U. S. Highway 12. As he came within about a of the Weckler farm, he passed a black Ford car, parked) on the side of the road. As he passed it, the car was started up and came up behind him and passed him. It preceded him on the way toward Fort Atkinson, at one time swerving sharply across the highway. As the two vehicles approached the Weckler driveway, the black car ahead, Feaster noticed a little girl a few feet from the Weckler driveway.
At the same time, the driver of the black car made a sharp swing into the Weckler driveway, stopping and turning so suddenly that Feaster was forced to come to a stop, too, and turn out on the shoulder of the highway and pass at the black car's rear, on the wrong side of the highway for passing. Feaster and the driver of the black car exchanged the usual comments and grimace's, Feaster reports, and then Feaster continued on.
As he continued, Feaster noticed another car ahead of him which suddenly disappeared. It has been established that this car was the Floerke car, which had just left Georgia off and Mrs. Floerke and her daughter, Mary, saw Georgia take the mail from the Weckler mail box. The Floerke car turned off into a road at the crest of the hill to drive to the Floerke home.
Next in the series at the Weckler driveway comes Marvin Thom, who works for Edgar Burrow nearby. He is driving a tractor, hauling a load of refuse to the dump in the woods at the top of the cut about one-quarter mile from the Weckler driveway.
Thom, as closely as has been connected, was just preparing to come out of the Burrow's driveway with the tractor when the Feaster truck and the black car went by the Burrow's driveway. He left the Burrows farm at about 3:15. He figures that by 'about 3:25 he drew abreast of the Weckler driveway.
As he drew abreast of the Weckler driveway, he saw a black Ford car with a grey plastic spotlight back out of the Weckler driveway and headed, off toward Cambridge. He saw a slender young man, somewhat unshaven, blond, hatless, driving the car. He did not see Georgia. Thom continued east and on to the dump.
It is reported, also, that Ernest Simdon came over the hill from the east, in his car, and remembers that he was aware of having come up behind a black car that was driving west. He followed the car until he came to the Oakland Center store where he stopped, it was reported. The car continued on. It was reported that Simdon met Feaster's truck and recognized it.
The search for Georgia is being handled by a strong staff of Jefferson and Dane county officers under the direction of Sheriff George Perry of Jefferson county and Sheriff Edward "Ace" Fischer of Dane county. The officers working with the sheriffs includes: Jefferson County District Attorney Francis Garity, state traffic patrolman Loren Briese, Jefferson county motor police officers Captain Whitmore, sergeant Rudolph Reichert, Glenn Pattee, Roger Reinei, Deputy Walter Goeglein, state game warden Willard Leasch, Fort Atkinmn Police Chief Harry O. Mueller. The city police and members
Georgia Jean Had Always Feared Kidnapping
Mother, Neighbors Recall
Georgia Jean Weckler had always feared kidnapping, the 8year-old girl's mother recalled to her friend and neighbor of 18 years, Mrs. Ivan L. Jones, after the 8-year-old girl disappeared from her home Thursday.
Whether it was kidnapping itself or a fear that she herself might sometime be kidnapped, Mrs. Weckler didn't know, but said she remembered Georgia's frequent comments, particularly after the Suzanne Degner case. Since the disappearance of Georgia Jean and the growing inference of foul play, farm women living near the Wecklers have expressed horror that "this could I have happened here." "You read about those things happening in the city, but not here," the closest friends and neighbors of the Wecklers said this morning.
"It is particularly tragic that someone as sweet as Georgia has disappeared", the neighbors, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Edgar Armstrong, Mrs. Edgar Burrow, Mrs. Carl Floerke, and the girl's teacher, Mrs. Donald Miller, said. They described the blonde, brown-eyed girl as "witty, obedient, bright, cheerful, but not at all forward, rather reserved." "We always enjoyed Georgia so much, because she is so orginal," Mrs. Armstrong said. Another particularly poignant factor is that the Weckler family is renowned here for its unusual devotion. "You seldom see the mother and father go anywhere without their children," Mrs. Jones said. All of them, mother, father, Georgia Jean, Laverne 12, Joan 10, and Katherine 16, are dependent one upon the other. For instance, the four children were stricken with polio a year ago in September, Georgia Jean suffering the most, but recovered thru long and careful nursing by their parents.
One of the last things Joan, who with Georgia and Laverne attended the Oakland Center grade school, had said to her younger sister when Georgia left school Thursday with a neighbor lady, was, "Now you go right on home." Usually the older children preceded her home, but because Thursday Georgia was riding in a car instead of on her bike, she returned home first. Mrs. Carl Floerke, who drove Georgia home, along with her own 7-year-old daughter, Mary, said the girls were having a "jolly time."
Neighbors have gone to the aid of the Wecklers, helping with farm chores and in the kitchen, but the family has not given up to its grief completely. "They are all brave," their neighbors said.
Tip from Spiritualist send Police and
Squad Cars on Wild Search Saturday Night
A tip from a spiritualist in the Georgia Jean Weckler case precipitated one of the biggest rural police raids in recent southern Wisconsin history Saturday night. It brought out 11 police cars, more than 25 officers, sirens guns and spotlights. The raid had its start in a trip which Elmer Weckler, an uncle of the girl, made to a spiritualist at Fond du Lac. The spiritualist described a deserted farmhouse in which the searchers would find the 8-yearold girl. The uncle convinced the officers "to give it a try." In 11 police cars the men converged by several roads at midnight Friday on an apparently deserted farmhouse in the eastern part of Dane county. The officers surrounded the structure and lighted it with the spotlights on their cars. They honked the cars' horns and yelled for the occupant, if any, to come out. No one appeared.
The men observed a. fresh tire trail leading into the yard thence into a dark, foreboding barn. They opened the door and' found a car with wet tires. In the back seat they found a Jefferson' newspaper in which the story about Georgia's disappearance was featured. They found a pair of stockings and a flowered scarf. The car license was issued to' a Merrill (Wis.) man. Those findings convinced the officers that they were on the right trail. They returned to the house. About to break in the front door, they were confronted by a man clad in long underwear. He asked what they wanted. They asked if he had a little girl in the house, and he answered that his 9-year-old daughter was with him. Georgia is almost nine.
More than ever convinced, the officers demanded to see the girl. The house occupant demurred but, realizing the importance of the request, he led their to the sleeping girl. Weckler said that she was not Georgia. The man convinced the officers that he was a Merrill man who only recently had come to the Dane county farm. The police left. It was 2:30 a.m.
Fort Group Adds To Reward Fund
Persons in the city of Fort Atkinson today began building up a fund to add to the reward fund of nearly $4,000 which is now offered by George Weckler and his neighbors.
A Fort Atkinson chamber of commerce list declares that the money is for use as follows:
"We the undersigned hereby, contribute the following sums to be offered as a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who kidnapped George Jean Weckler. In the event that any money given. here in is not paid out as a reward, such sum or partial sums collected hereunder shall be refunded to donor if so desired or turned over to the George Weckler family.
Contributions made through the efforts of the Fort Atkinson Chamber of Commerce will be added to those already established by their father and friends. Please call or leave your contribution with Ralph Ebbott, Sr. Chamber of Commerce. Phone 1175."
Report Three Car Thefts Over The Week End
Three stolen cars that appear to be links in a chain of stealing's were reported to local police Sunday, which may or may not have any connection with the Weckler kidnapping case.
A 1941 blue Plymouth coach which Illinois state traffic police said was stolen in Illinois was reported to local police by E. W. Frohmader after he found it abandoned in front of his house at 212 Roosevelt avenue Sunday morning. His neighbor, Coleman Griffin, jr., reported seeing the car in front of the Frohmader residence at 1:00 a. m. when he returned home Saturday evening, and another neighbor, Clarence Heth, said he saw two cars "probably around 12 pm." in front of the house, one of them the abandoned car.
A black 1939 Chevrolet belonging to W. E. Dunlap, who lives at 718 W. Sherman ave., several blocks away, was stolen Saturday night, but found in the yard of a farmer about four miles south of Elkhorn on Highway 12, who in turn, had his car stolen. The Dunlaps heard their dog barking at 11:45 p. m. Saturday night, and Mrs. Ross Freeman, a neighbor, heard the Dunlap car drive away around that time at an extremely, fast rate of speed. Neither the Dunlaps nor Mrs. Freeman realized the car had been taken, however, until the farmer called local police here Sunday morning. The keys had not been in the ignition, but the wires had been switched in the coil.
At 1:00 p. m. that same night the daughter of the farmer where the car was found returned home and later recalled that she saw two men working on a car with the hood up on Highway 12 just beyond the driveway. When the farmer arose in the morning he I found the Dunlap car, which had, been shoved into his driveway, and his own car gone from the garage. Local police have made no statement regarding the motives these automobile thefts as to whether they believe there is a connection between them and the Weckler case.
Information in the Plymouth coach found in front of the Frohmader house bears the name of Louis Goesswein, 1740 N. 22nd ave., Melrose Park, 111. The address, 333 N. Michigan Ave, was also found. License plates had been stripped from the car
Attempted Robbery in W. Parker Home
A tip from Mrs. Warren Parker was extremely hot today, but it. has faded out. Mrs. Parker, living in the City limits in Fort Atkinson on Whitewater Ave., today came face to, face at the back door of the home of her mother-in-law, Mrs. E. R, Parker, with a man who ran, when she stepped to the door of her home and asked if she could be of assistance. Mrs. Parker, who lives in the converted residence with her husband and three and one-half month old daughter, Penny, gave the following report to police.
As she sat in the living room of her home, feeding her baby, she noticed a man walking west on the highway east of the driveway to the residence. Next she noticed him approach the door of the senior Parker home. She said she still thought nothing of it, as various persons often come to the door of the other house. Finishing with the feeding of her daughter, she went into the yard. At this point she noticed a young, blond, ruddy faced man standing at the rear door of the senior Parker residence. She asked him if she could be of any assistance. The man said 'NO' and fled. He ceased running when he, reached the highway, walked east, got into an old, black car, and drove of toward Whitewater. Mrs. Parker immediately called police who gave chase toward Whitewater. Mrs. E. R. Parker was not at home at the time. Nothing was taken from the residence. Several bureau drawers were opened and left open, but nothing was missed. Money, lying on a table in the house was not touched. Mrs. Warren Parker said the man was dressed neatly in blue overalls and light brown sports jacket.
Misc Articles - May Monday 5th, 1947
Search Goes On for Georgia Weckler,
Fort Atkinson Farm Girl,
The conviction is general that Georgia Jean was kidnaped, so each mail is carefully
checked for possible ransom notes. The Fort Atkinson postmaster Paul W. Cornish
(right) brings mail directly to the little girl's father, George (center) They checked
Monday which contained nothing unusual, with Dist Atty Francis Garity (left) (Journal Staff)
A black car, which has been unsuccessfully sought, was reported
seen by S. L. Feasier (top), Camp McCoy, who said it entered the
lane where Georgia disappeared, and Marvin Thom, a hired hand,
who told of it backing out. Journal Staff
Rewards for finding Georgia total over $6,000. An uncle, Gus Weckler (left), retired Chicago druggist, added $1,000
Monday. He posted his money with Ralph W. Abbott, in charge of reward money collections in Fort Atkinson
A rubbish pile in the woods near where the girl disappeared was searched carefully Monday after reports were heard
that two loads of junk had been dumped since Georgia was missing. Nothing suspicious was turned up, but a minute
inspection was made under Dist. Atty. Garity (hands on hips) and, State .Traffic Officer Loren Briese (back to camera).
Fort Posse Chases Kidnap Suspect
D. A., Missing Girl's Father Confer
Jefferson County Dist. Atty. Francis Garity who says that it's a 100 to 1 chance that Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, has been kidnaped, is shown at. the left above conferring with George Weckler, father of the missing girl. The picture was taken at the, Weckler's farm home near Ft. Atkinson. In. the center is L. G. Briese, state traffic officer.
Young Man Flees Dark Car After Ransacking House
Believed Seeking Food or Clothes;
Leaves Money Undisturbed on Table
FT. ATKTNSON - Posses streaked out of Ft. Atkinson this morning, hot on the trail of a blond haired young man they believed may have been the kidnaper of Georgia Jean Weckler, 8-year-old farm girl missing since Thursday. Within a few minutes after the man lead fled from the back door of a. ransacked house and roared off in a dark car parked down the road, the posse was off in pursuit.
Headed Toward Whitewater
The car was headed toward Whitewater on Highway 12 when it was last seen. The man had apparently been in search of. food or clothing, officials held. Money laying on a table was not taken. Mrs. E. R,. Parker. whose home is just, south of Ft. Atkinson on Highway 32, saw the man walk up to the nearby home of her mother-in-law, Mrs. E. R. Parker, who was at work at the Chamber of Commerce offices in Ft. Atkinson. Later, she was in the backyard taking in the clothes when she saw the man come out, of the back door. "Is there anything I can do for you?" she asked.
Then the man turned and ran for a dark car parked on the highway about 300 feet away and disappeared. Mrs. Parker notified police and a, posse gathered before the police station ready to start out on another phase of the search, started in immediate, chase. She described the man as blond. between 20 and 21 years old, with ruddy complexion, and wearing blue jeans and a loose, tan, short coat.
A check of the house showed that it had been rapidly but thoroughly ransacked. "If he wasn't the kidnaper, he sure picked the hottest city in the nation to pull a robbery in," was the comment of one police officer.
Since Thursday, when the girl the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Weckler, who live 6 miles north of Ft Atkinson disappeared, the countryside has been swarming with men, many of them armed, searching for some clue of the little girl.
Daily Jefferson County Union
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Tuesday, May 6, 1947
Hunt Remains Fruitless
Makes Plea to Kidnaper
George Weckler, father of missing 8-year-old Georgia Jean
Weckler, snatches a bite to eat after hours of leading a search
posse. Another daughter, Joan, 10, stands by his side. Mr.
Weckler made a radio plea to the kidnaper yesterday. (NEA)
FATHER AIR'S A PLEA FOR
DAUGHTER'S SAFE RETURN
The greatest manhunt in Fort Atkinson and Jefferson county history entered its sixth day today and city, county, and state law enforcement officials still were groping blindly for any clue that might lead to a solution in the disappearance of eight-yearold Georgia Jean Weckler. A new instrument was brought into the case yesterday when the stricken father, George C. Weckler, Route 1, and Dist. Atty. Francis Garity made radio appeals from a special hookup in the Jefferson court house for any information that might pertain to the girl's disappearance. The father pleaded for Georgia's abductor to "have enough conscience to return his daughter safely. Still hopefu1 that, blond, brown-eyed Georgia, Jean is alive, his speech slowed by pent up emotions, he pleaded: "Folks all over the country, my plea is to the person or persons for any clue or anything that', can lead us to this child, the' sooner` the better for the child's sake, for the family's sake, and for the party that has the child. I know that their conscience going to feel 100 per cent better: within the next 12 hours if you 'return this child immediately. He added that no harm would come to the abductor if the girl were returned.
The district attorney asked the cooperation of all law enforcement officers in the state in breaking the case. He especially urged that county police make an effort to check all back roads, vacant buildings, culverts, 'etc. Garity 'fails to share the father's optimism about the child's safety. He is especially fearful of Georgia's welfare since no ransom. note has been received.
Newest development in the way of clues centered about a report from the vicinity Sharon, in Walworth county According to that report unconfirmed pulled up near a wood area on a back road something was seen passed between the two cars, and a child was heard crying. The cries of the child continued from the vicinity of the wooded area after the cars pulled away, the report said.
The reward for evidence leading to Georgia Jean's safe return, or to the arrest of the kidnaper, has now grown to about $7,000. The local Chamber of Commerce, whose reward fund totals about $1,300, is still accepting donations.At Lacon, Ill., authorities were holding an 18-year-old veteran this morning at the request of Fort Atkinson police. The youth, identified as Lawrence Diller; of Benton Harbor, Mich., had been picked up on a vagrancy charge and was found to be carrying a slip of paper with the names of Georgia Jean and her father on it. However, Lacon officials believe the youth has no connection with the case. Diller claims he had been coming to Fort to help in the search.
A telephone lineman, Walter Showers, of Fort, entered the picture as a volunteer witness last night. He told police that he worked on the line between Oakland Center and the Weckler driveway all Thursday afternoon and saw nothing amiss. "If anything happened," he said, "it must have happened fast."
The telephone worker added that the girl could have been taken while he was out of sight of the driveway or while he was preoccupied with his work.
Further testimony was volunteered from Watertown residents and by various truck drivers who passed by the kidnapping area about the time of the girl's disappearance. Various "crank" letters were also flooding into county and city officials today. Police Chief Harry O. Mueller received such a letter from Newark, N. J., today from a man who described himself as a former intelligence corps worker. He suggested that police arrest all persons owning dark cars; that police "check" all farmers; and that police "check" Jefferson. Meanwhile, police throughout the state are still searching for a blond suspect, aged 20 to 25, who was reportedly driving the mysterious black sedan near the Weckler farm at the time of Georgia's disappearance. A man of the same description ransacked the home of Mrs. E. R. Parker yesterday reportedly in search of a change of clothes but successfully eluded an almost immediate pursuit by county, and state officers. The intensive searches by local and county authorities and by posses of volunteers have convinced them that the girl is not within 10 miles of the point where she was last seen. And the multitude of so called clues have all proved fruitless. Said Sheriff George Perry, this morning: "We're still working and running down all clues. But there is nothing 'hot' at the present time."
BLACK CAR ...
The confusing barrage of testimony regarding a "black car" in' the Weckler case is no surprise' to most newspaper men. In the course of practically every baffling crime, stories of a "black car" appear. That's because there are a great number of black cars on the highways, and, the odds are strongly in favor of one of them behaving suspiciously sooner or later. Furthermore, human testimony even from honest people is notoriously unreliable. It's not uncommon for well meaning witnesses in court to differ on such details as to whether the sun was shining at the moment of the event under investigation, or rain was falling. Officers of the law know all too well the peculiarities of the human memory. But they have no alternative other than to chase down every recollection on the assumption that sooner or later one of them may be accurate and productive.
The Fort Daily News
Fort Atkinson, Wis.
May 6, 1947
'All Clues Fade As Search Continues'
Over Wide Area
No definite leads as to the whereabouts of Georgia Jean Weckler were available today to the authorities investigating her disappearance despite radio and press appeals thru out the middle west asking for information from any source. George C. Weckler, Georgia's father, broadcast over the facilities of radio station WLS Monday afternoon and today, asking that his daughter be returned safely. He made a strong appeal, suggesting that any possible abductor return Georgia Jean safely to him.
"My plea is to the person or persons for any clue or anything that can lead us to this child, the sooner the better, far the family's sake and for the party that has the child," Mr. Weckler said. "I know that your conscience is' going to feel 100 percent better within the next 12 hours if you return the child immediately. Sheriff George Perry called on the public and all enforcement officers to lend their utmost efforts to the search for clues and District Attorney Francis Garity went over the case to aid in placing in the radio public's mind the importance of some lead. In the meanwhile, crackpot letters began to flow in and the suggestion of persons with leads acid ideas. They have all proven fruitless. No ransom note has as yet been received. Those close to the investigation were electrified in the early evening Monday with the tension that arises when a possible break arises.
A call came over police radio stating that one, Lawrence Diller, had been picked up at Lacon, Ill., 1st evening after a truck driver had seen him acting suspiciously. The man had, in his possession, written material, alluding to George Weckler, Georgia Weckler and the Fort Atkinson police department.
He was cleared, however, of connection with this case because his Thursday activities were definitely established by authorities.
In the mean time the reward for the apprehension of the person who took Georgia. Jean from the Weckler lane last Thursday about 3:30 continues to pile up. Her great uncle, G. A. Weckler, 304 Barrie street, supplemented the .total by an additional $1,000 reward. He announced the reward late Monday evening. The reward now totals considerable over $6,000, made up by the girl's father, friends and neighbors in the entire vicinity.
Manholes and Catch Basins Searched Here
All of the manholes and catch basins in Fort Atkinson sewer and utilities connections were searched Monday afternoon by a crew of city employees and Fort Jaycees, seeking possible Weckler kidnapping case clues. At the suggestion of Chuck Mueller and authorized by Chief of Police Harry O. Mueller and Sheriff George Perry, city manager E. F. Klement ordered the city department of public works men to work with the Jaycees on' the project. The search was fruitless.
Truck Driver Picks Up Other Clues?
S. L. Feaster, the truck driver from Wisconsin Rapids, saw two men Saturday evening upon whom he has made reports.
One is the driver of the black car, a slender, blond young man. The other he met here in Fort Atkinson during the time he spent here Saturday night. This man was also young and blond, but heavy set and of rudy complexion.
This second man said he had quit a job with a farmer near Cambridge, Thursday, and wanted Feaster to give him a new job. Feaster finally agreed and they agreed to meet later in the evening at Cambridge, the man saying he wanted to go pick up his clothes. This second man fits into the description of the man Mrs. Warren Parker saw yesterday when he invaded the Mrs. E. R. Parker home on Whitewater Avenue.
The Wisconsin State Journal
Madison, May 6, 1947
'False Stories' Delay Search for Child
Housebreaker's Behavior Puzzles Police
Police at Ft. Atkinson are searching for and puzzling over the strange conduct of a blond haired man between 20 and 25 who broke into the house of Mrs. E. R. Parker, Ft. Atkinson. The man, believed in search of a gun and suspected of being the kidnaper of Georgia Jean Weckler, pawed through drawers in the bedrooms of the home, but passed up more than $400 worth of jewelry and scattered coins on a dresser. Above, Warren Parker shows two watches valued at $150 which the housebreaker passed by. At the right, above, is Oscar Menzel, Milwaukee, who has offered his service as an intermediary, and at the lower right is the missing girl. The reward for information leading to the arrest of her kidnaper has risen officially to $6,200.
OSCAR MENZEL Georgia Jean Weckler
People Didn't Tell Full Truth,
Charges Jefferson Sheriff
Father of Missing Girl Sobs Plea Over Radio for Her Return
By JOHN NEWHOUSE (State Journal Staff Writer)
FT. ATKINSON - False stories told by some of the persons investigated in the search for Georgia Jean Weckler, 8 year-old farm girl missing since Thursday, set the investigation back by several days at least, Jefferson County Sheriff George Perry said Monday night. "We thought we were making pretty good progress in reconstructing the events that led up to the disappearance of little child at the head of the lane leading to her home," the sheriff said. "Now we have to start over again not from the beginning, but a good ways back.
Urges `Full Truth'
"This investigation would go a lot faster if some people would tell the full truth." The sheriff, who bad led the search for the girl for the past six days, would not amplify the statement farther.
The announcement that there were no new clues and that some of the old clues were disintegrating came after a day in which George Weckler, father of the missing girl, had broken down while making a radio plea for the return of the girl and in which a posse had streaked off in hot pursuit of a blond haired young man who had ransacked a Ft. Atkinson house.
Taking to the air, the father pleaded: "Folks all over the country, my plea is to the person or persons for any clue or anything that can lead us to the child, for the child's sake, for the family's and for the party that has the child. I know that their conscience is going to feel 100 percent better within the next 12 hours if you return this child immediately" At one time during the broadcast, he broke into tears. At the end of the broadcast, however, he said that he had more hope than ever that the child would be returned unharmed. Authorities were not so hopeful, and feared that the appeal would go unanswered, Dist. Atty. Francis Garity said that he feared the child had been taken by a sex maniac because no ransom note had been received.
Although Oscar Menzel, 37, Milwaukee friend of the Weckler family had offered to act as intermediary for the surrender of the child, there was no indication that he had been contacted by persons who had taken the little girl.
Fugitive Not Caught
Although Jefferson county and Ft. Atkinson police had sped off on the trail of a blond man who had entered and ransacked the house of Mrs. E. R. Parker a few minutes after he fled, the man had not been captured this morning. He had entered the house through the unlocked front door and was seen by Mrs. Warren Parker, daughter-in-law living next door, who had notified police. A dark car, resembling that in which he had, fled, was seen later in the Coldspring area, where the search concentrated.
Hopes were raised momentarily early in the night, when sheriff's officials in Tacon, Ill., picked up an 18-year-old ex-serviceman for questioning. The youth, picked up on a vagrancy charge, had a piece of paper in his pocket with the names of George Weckler, Georgia Weckler, and Ft. Atkinson police written on it. He was quoted as saying he was on his way to Ft. Atkinson to "help find the girl."
Sheriff's Deputy Z. R. Graves' opinion was that the youth was "obviously a psycho case." Garity and the sheriff wired the Illinois authorities to hold the youth for questioning this morning.
In Ft. Atkinson, crews were continuing the job they started Monday of checking the catch basins and manholes. Another bit of checking Monday was also without result. Following a "hot tip," a group of farmers and law enforcement officials moved and sifted a 2-ton pile of brush and rubbish in the woods in which it was first feared that Georgia had been lost. There was no trace of the girl nor clue.
Lost. Mail Not Found
Although two newspapers and a check from a Milwaukee stock commission house for three cows and two pigs sold last week were presumed to have been in the mail which Georgia had carried under her arm when last seen, no trace of them had been found. One letter, discovered in the rubbish, was pieced together and found to have no bearing on the case.
From Walworth county, Sheriff Jack Cusask reported that a group of a dozen farmers had searched a woods on the Smuck farm near Sharon after the family had reported hearing a child crying shortly after two suspicious looking cars had parked before the woods. The search revealed nothing.
Another possible lead exploded Monday afternoon when a Fort Atkinson couple identified themselves as the pair who had been seen on a Ft. Atkinson street corner with a car in which a little girl was crying. "From what they told me, the child needed a spanking," said one police official.
Fortune tellers again entered the kidnap case, along with a bloodhound. A creek bed was searched on the advice of a fortune teller, and a Milwaukee woman arrived with a plump dog which she said was a bloodhound. The bloodhound's main accomplishment was to get in a tired sort of fight with another dog and to saunter off into the woods later on carrying a bone which he had tracked down.
C. of C. to Raise Fund Ralph Ebbott, secretary of the Fort Atkinson Chamber of Commerce, Monday night announced that the chamber is collecting a fund to offer as a reward for information leading to the return of the missing girl. First contributor was G. A. Weckler, her uncle. Ebbott asked that contributions be sent to him at the Chamber of Commerce, Fort Atkinson.
The reward money has risen officially to $6,200 for information leading to the arrest of the kidnaper and unofficially, to more than $8,000. In addition to the $1,000 pledged by the father, $1,225 is in a fund being raised by the Ft. Atkinson Chamber of Commerce; $1,500 by neighbors, and $2,500 by the Prairie Farmer and Radio Station WLS.
'The Sweetest Pupil:'
Georgia Jean Gone, School Is Closed
FT. ATKINSON - (U.P) - The one room Oakland Center school in Jefferson county has closed for a week. On the school's bulletin board are several drawings posted because the teacher, Mrs. Donald Miller, thought they were about the best of her pupils' work. Two of the drawings are those of little Georgia Jean Weckler, whose disappearance has baffled this little Jefferson county community for five days. "Georgia was an awfully good artist for an 8-Year-old" Mrs. Miller said. "When she vanished, I felt I just couldn't teach right now. I went to the school board and they agreed to close school for a week.
"Georgia was one of the sweetest students in the class," she said. "She was always the first to help my first graders when I was busy and couldn't get to them right away." In the deserted school room was a desk drawer littered with report cards. Little Georgia's was strewn with A's and a few B's to mark the girl's only scholastic struggle in grammar.
In the saddened Weckler home were several more samples of Georgia's childish art. Her father said his little girl loved to sketch things around the farm. He added that if they didn't suit her, she'd throw them away and try again. In the house too was a little theme that Georgia had written about a recent trip to Milwaukee with her classmates. She ended her happy account: "We got home. Wasn't it a wonderful trip?"
Misc Articles - Tuesday May 6th, 1947
OFFERS TO MEET KIDNAPERS
Oscar Menzel Georgia Jean Weckler
VOLUNTEERING as intermeitiary, Oscar. Menzel waits an answer from possible kidnapers as the search for 8-year-old Georgia Jean Weckler of Ft. Atkinson, Wis., continues, FBI agents and Chicago police are assisting Ft. Atkinson authorities in the hunt for the blond third grade pupil, missing May 1st. (International)
Searching Parties Beat Woods for; Missing Girl
Hunt Eight Year Old Near Fort Atkinson After Disappearance on Walk to Home
Journal Special Correspondence Fort Atkinson, Wis.
Deputy sheriffs and volunteers were beating through woods and fields Friday in an intensive search for 8 year old Georgia Jean Weckler, who disappeared Thursday in a half mile stretch between Highway 12 and her farm home six miles west of here. More than 200 Cambridge legionnaires, Cambridge volunteer firemen, neighbors and Jefferson county deputies searched unsuccessfully for the blond, brown-eyed girl Thursday night.
The only clue appeared to be a statement by a classmate that Georgia had spoken of going into woods to hunt wild flowers for May baskets. She was said to be familiar with woods near her home. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George C. Weckler, prominent and well to do farm family Georgia was; last seen shortly after 3 p.m. by Mrs. Carl Florke, a neighbor, who had given her a ride from school to the family mailbox on Highway 12, a half mile from her home.
Thought to be With Father
Mrs. Weckler said that Georgia and her brother and sister, La Vern, 12, and Joan, 10; usually rode their bicycles to the Oakland Center school, one and one-half miles from their home, where Georgia is a third grade pupil. Thursday, however, because of threatening weather, Mrs. Weckler drove them to school in the family car. Georgia's classes were dismissed at 3 p.m., the other children's at 3:30.
Mrs. Weckler said she was not alarmed when Georgia did not appear immediately after school because Mr. Weckler had taken the car to Jefferson and she had assumed he had picked up Georgia. When Weckler appeared without his daughter at 6 p.m., a search was organized. The 200 searchers marched four feet apart in a long line. They covered a 20 acre woods, dense with undergrowth, and beat through smaller wooded tracts and fields. No trace of the girl was found. She was believed to have been carrying a large amount of mail from the mailbox, but none was found discarded.
Cold Rain and Cold
The search continued until 11 p.m., part of the time in a heavy rain and cold. It was resumed at 9 a.m. Friday. Jefferson County Sheriff George Perry said he was not discounting the possibility of crime. Georgia was described as 51 inches tall and weighing 70 pounds. She has shoulder length hair and was wearing a pink button sweater over a blue "T" shirt, blue jeans and blue flowered skirt, rubbers and a brown flowered scarf.
Search Continues For Fort Atkinson Girl
Parents Still Confident that Georgia Jean Is Safe
Ft. Atkinson The parents of Georgia Jean Weckler are a confident of their daughter's safety. Her father, George Weckler, says he can't help but feel that his missing eight year old daughter is all right. Weckler is also reported to be bearing up well under the strain of long days and sleepless nights.
Meanwhile, Harvey Mueller, chief of the Fort Atkinson police, say there are no new developments in the case as it enters its sixth day, Mueller says that Chamber of Commerce crews would continue their search of catch basins in the outskirting highway of the city.
District Atty Francis Garity is especially fearful of Georgia's safety because no ransom note has been received. He says the reward for Georgia's kidnaper is growing so fast that he is unable to keep track of it, but he estimates it as some $7,000.
At Lacon, Illinois, authorities are holding an 18-year-old veteran at the request of Fort Atkinson police. The youth, identified as Lawrence Diller of Benton Harbor, Michigan, had been picked up on a vagrancy charge and police found a piece of paper in his pocket with Georgia's name on it and also her father's. However, Lacon officials believe the youth has no connection with the case. Diller claims he had been going to Fort Atkinson to help in the search for the missing girl.
Jefferson county Sheriff George Perry says that the investigation of the disappearance of Georgia Jean would move faster if "some people would tell the truth." The sheriff did not elaborate the statement, but added that several witnesses, who saw Georgia last Thursday have told conflicting stories.
An offer to act as intermediary if the case
of missing 8 year old Georgia Jean Weckler
turns out to be a kidnapping was made
Sunday by Oscar Menzel (above), 37,
of 2531 N. Buffum st. -journal staff
Officers Meet to Consider a Kidnap Clue
Milwaukeean Offers to Act as Go-Between to Help Return Girl, 8; Refuse to Reveal Tip
Journal Staff Correspondence Fort Atkinson, Wis.
Authorities met here Monday morning, to discuss what Sheriff George Perry of Jefferson county described as a "hot lead" in the search for 8-year old Georgia Jean Weckler
After a five day search of the area, the sheriff and Dist. Atty. Francis Garity said that they were convinced that the third grade pupil was abducted last Thursday afternoon as she walked toward her farm home near Highway 12, six miles west of here. The sheriff did not reveal the nature of, the new tip. Scores of other leads have proved false. It was known that the sheriff was trying to piece together parts of a torn letter brought in Sunday by a searching party working in 'the wooded area near the George Weckler farm, half a mile north of Highway 12.
Sift Rubbish Pile
Searchers Monday were sifting through a large rubbish heap near Highway 12, west of the farm. Garity apparently attached some importance to the search, but he did not say why the searchers had been directed to the pile of rubbish. The fund for a reward for information leading to the arrest of the kidnaper or return of the child stood Monday at approximately $2,500. The father has offered $1,000, and friends of the family have contributed $1,200 to $1,500 to the reward fund. Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, a family friend announced that he would act as intermediary between the kidnaper and the Weckler family. He is Oscar Menzel, 36, World War II veteran who operates an electric shop at 1344 N. Fond du Lac av., Milwaukee.
Knew Little Girl
Menzel said that he was cooperating with authorities handling the search. He said he had volunteered to act as a go between in the hope that anyone who has Georgia Jean or knows of her whereabouts would try to get in touch with the family through him. It would be impossible for anyone to contact the Weckler family at home without being intercepted by authorities, he said Menzel said that he once worked as a carpenter for Weckler, that he had hunted many times on the Weckler farm and that the family had done him many favors. His only purpose in offering to act as intermediary, he said, was to help find the girl. He said that he did not want personal publicity and that "I don't want a penny" for helping in the case. Menzel wants the kidnaper to contact him at his shop in person or by telephoning Concord 3160, his office number. He said Monday that he was being "pestered" with telephone calls. He refused to say whether he had received any pertinent information.
FBI Not in Case
Dist. Atty. Garity said that he had notified the federal bureau of investigation that state authorities had listed the case as a kidnaping. He explained that the FBI cannot immediately enter the case without evidence of a ransom note or injury to the girl. At Milwaukee, the FBI said Monday that it had not "entered the case officially." Garity said several circumstances pointed to kidnaping.
"First„ he said, "the girl was let out of the car in which a neighbor, Mrs. C a r 1 Floerke, brought her home from school in the middle of the afternoon last Thursday. The girl took the mail from the highway mailbox and started up the sideroad toward her home, half a mile from the highway.
"Second, a 1936 black Ford sedan was seen turning into the side road. S. L. Feaster, a civilian truck driver at Camp McCoy; saw the car enter the road and at the same time he saw Mrs. Floerke's car disappearing over a hill.
"Third, a black sedan, was seen backing out of the side road a few minutes later by Marvin Thom, a hired hand at a neighboring farm."
Chicago Lead Fails
Authorities leaned more and more on the kidnaping theory after a thorough search of the area had failed to turn up any sign of the little girl. Hundreds of searcher have worked night and day, crawling through culverts and using powerful electric lanterns in. the heavily wooded area. By Monday they had covered 16 square miles of the rough terrain around the Weckler farm near Highway 12, six miles west of Fort Atkinson.
One lead came to nothing Sunday when authorities in Chicago released an army sergeant from Fort Knox, Ky., after questioning. A parking lot attendant reported seeing stains resembling bloodstains on the rear seat of the sergeant's automobile. The soldier convinced authorities that he had come from Fort Knox on Friday with other soldiers on leave.
Another lead being checked Monday was a story of James Barazo, a Fort Atkinson newsboy, who said that on Thursday afternoon he had seen a young girl struggling with a, man in the rear seat of an automobile.
Truck Driver Returns
Authorities also were looking for s farm hand, said to have a criminal record, who had been fired from a. job on a farm near the Weckler farm at 10 a.m. Thursday. He was believed to be unable to drive a car and to have hitchhiked toward Milwaukee.
Feaster, the Camp McCoy truck driver, repeated to Garity and other authorities Sunday the story he had told to Fort Atkinson police Saturday night about seeing the black Ford. He also verified the scene of the incident. Feaster said that he remembered the automobile well because he had been annoyed at the driver for cutting in front of his truck near the Weckler farm. He said that he had started to pass the eastbound Ford when the driver suddenly turned left into the road leading to the Weckler farm. At the same time, Feaster said, he saw a girl answering Georgia Jean's description walk up to the car. Feaster told authorities that he was fairly certain that the occupants of the Ford were a young man and woman.
Officials Stumped in Search for Girl
Lack of Ransom Note Dims Hope for Return of Georgia Weckler, Missing Five Days
Pictures on Picture Page Journal Staff Correspondence Fort Atkinson, Wis.
Hopes of finding 8 year old Georgia Jean Weckler dwindled here Tuesday after authorities admitted they were "up against a stone wall" after five days and nights of searching and investigation. Asst. Atty. Francis Garity and Sheriff George Perry said they were positive that the blond third grade pupil was kidnaped last Thursday afternoon as she walked on a sideroad toward the George Weckler farm 12 miles west of here. The farm is half a mile off Highway 12. Georgia Jean was last seen by a neighbor who drove her from school and let her of at the Weckler mail box on the highway. Garity said that lack of any ransom demand had led him to fear ' that the girl was abducted by a sex maniac. Under sheriff George Schreiber said that a thorough search of the area by authorities and volunteers had convinced him that the girl was not anywhere within a 10 mile radius of the Weckler farm.
Searchers on Tuesday were concentrating on rubbish piles in the area. A large rubbish pile near the side road was moved Monday without revealing any trace of the missing girl. Meanwhile, deputies were busy chasing down numerous reports of old black sedans in the area. S. L. Feester, a civilian tuck driver from Camp McCoy, and Marvin Thom, a farm hand, and other: had reported seeing a 10 year old back Ford sedan on the side road at about the time Georgia Jean disappeared.
The girl's father said Tuesday, "I feel better today than at any time since she was lost," but he gave no reason for expressing hope. Walter Showers, Port Atkinson, an employs of the Wisconsin Telephone Co., told authorities late Monday that he had been working all last Thursday afternoon on a line from' the Weckler side road to a point one mile west of Highway 12. He said that he had not seen anything unusual happen during the afternoon along the highway.
Many Write Sheriff
Sheriff Perry said that there were developments Tuesday. He said that each mail brought persons interested in the case, but that the letters contained little information. "We are running down all clues he said.
In Milwaukee, Oscar Menzel, 36 a World War II veteran who had offered to act as intermediary, said Tuesday that he had heard "nothing definite" concerning the missing girl. Menzel, a friend of the Weckler family, operates an electric shop at 1344 N. Fond du Lac av. He said he hoped that anyone who knows Georgia Jean's whereabouts would write to him or telephone him at Concord 3160. The rural school which the girl attended near Fort Atkinson has been closed for a week, at the request of the teacher, Mrs. Donald Miller.
Reward Over $6,000
The reward offered for information leading to the return of the girl or the arrest and conviction of a kidnaper stood Tuesday at more than $6,000. The father started the fund with $1,000. Friends and neighbors have collected another $1,500 An uncle of the girl's father, G. A Weckler, Route 1, Fort Atkinson, added $1,000 Monday afternoon. Radio station WLS, Chicago, and the Prairie Farmer, a farm publication, gave $2,500 Monday. The Fort Atkinson Chamber of Commerce has started a drive to increase the reward fund.
Georgia Jean's father broke down Monday afternoon while broadcasting an appeal over station WLS. He spoke from the sheriff's office a Jefferson. "Folks all over the country," he said, "my plea is to the person or persons, for any clue or anything that can lead us to this child, and the sooner the better, for the child' sake, for the family's sake, and for the party that has the child.
Tips Prove False
"I know that their conscience is going to feel 100% better within the next 12 hours if they return this child immediately." Weckler said in a choked voice that his wife's health depended upon the safe return of Georgia Jean. Several clues were run down Monday and Tuesday and ended in nothing. The sheriff reported that he had pieced together a torn letter found by the searchers and that had no connection with the case.
Investigation of a report that a small girl was seen trying to get out of a parked automobile in Fort Atkinson the day that Georgia Jean was kidnapped ended with the discovery that little girl was the daughter of a Fort Atkinson resident. The Sheriff discounted the theory prowler who had fled from a Fort Atkinson home Monday without loot might have been the girl's abductor. The man escaped in a dark coupe. Two witnesses said seen near the Weckler farm last Thursday afternoon was a black Ford two door sedan. The description of the tall blond prowler tallied in general with a description of the driver of the black Ford.
Has Name in Pocket
Another tip faded Tuesday when a 17 year old boy arrested at Henry, Ill., with Georgia Jean's name and address in his pocket, was listed by authorities there as "a mental case." The boy, a native of St. Joseph, Mich., said he had marked down the name because he had intended to help in the search. He had been hitchhiking around Illinois. He was arrested after he had returned a watch he had stolen from a filling station attendant. Dist. Atty. Garity Is attempting learn whether any checks were in the mail delivered to the Weckler mail box Thursday. The girl picked up the mail before starting up the side road to her home. Weckler is the town treasurer. Banks here and at Cambridge and Jefferson were to be alerted on the theory that anyone who had abducted Georgia Jean might try to cash a check found in the mail.
Ponder Stolen Cars
The Fort Atkinson Junior Chamber of Commerce was directing a search of all catch basins in the, city sewerage system. Police Chief Harry Mueller, Fort Atkinson, said that three stolen automobiles reported since Georgia Jean disappeared might have been used by the kidnaper. He said that a blue Plymouth coach stolen in Melrose Park, Ill., had been abandoned Friday night in front of the home of E. W. Fromader of Fort Atkinson. A neighbor, W. E. Dunlap, reported that hi 1939 black Chevrolet had been stolen the same night. The Dunlap car was abandoned early Sunday at the farm home of Herbert C. Clauer near Elkhorn. The driver then stole Clauer's 1936 Chevrolet sedan. The Clauer car has not been found.
Stories Slow Kidnap Hunt
Sheriff Slaps Conf1icting Reports, Asks for 'the Full Truth'
Journal Staff Correspondence, Fort Atkinson, Wis.
Conflicting stories of witnesses about the circumstances surrounding the disappearance Thursday of 8 year old Georgia Jean Weckler are hampering police investigation, Sheriff George Perry of Jefferson county said Wednesday. "If some people would tell the full truth the case might be solved faster," the sheriff said. He did not explain his statement.
There was a widespread report Tuesday that an arrest was impending but authorities said they could not confirm it. The six day investigation has left authorities "without even any good rumors to work on," Dist. Att Francis Garity said. He and Perry have listed the case as a kidnaping. Garity, who has said he suspects a sex maniac because of the lack of a ransom note, reported, "We're completely in the dark." The girl disappeared Thursday afternoon on her way home from school. A neighbor gave her a ride as far as the mail box on Highway 12 at the entrance to a side road leading to the farm of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George C. Weckler, half a mile from the highway
Search Plowed Field
S. L. Feaster a civilian truck driver from Camp McCoy, and Marvin Thom, a farm hand, have reported seeing an old black Ford sedan entering and leaving the side road after Georgia Jean had picked up the Weckler mail and started home. The wooded area for miles around the Weckler farm has been searched. The search of area has been virtually abandoned.
Nation-wide interest in the case is indicated, the sheriff said, by his mail. Many of the letters are from persons who consider themselves sleuths, he said. A letter received Tuesday from New Jersey instructed him to "check Jefferson, then question all farmers."
City Turns Suspicious
The little girl's disappearance has turned this quiet city into a suspicious, buzzing detective bureau. Almost everyone who owns a black Ford has been stopped at least once. Scores of persons who have seen lack Fords have flooded the police department with tips.
Everyone has his own theory in he case ranging from accidental drowning in Red Cedar lake about one and one-half miles from the Weckler home to abduction by a childless though child loving couple and little groups are seen on street corners in serious discussion. Many persons believe the girl is still in the vicinity, in spite of the futile searching.
Strangers are eyed with suspicion and at least one reporter photographer pair, seen prowling through a wooded area, was halted and questioned by two farmers. Parents who have warned children since babyhood about approaching strangers have redoubled their efforts. They are worried, and they have placed many new restrictions on their children. There is a movement under way to set up a 10 p.m. curfew hour similar to that of other communities in the area.
Reward Over $7,000
The reward offered for information leading to the return of the girl or the arrest and conviction of a kidnaper topped $7,000 on Tuesday, her father reported. Walworth county deputies and farmers searched a patch of woods a few miles north of Illinois state line Monday night and Tuesday after a report from the Schmuck farm, three miles east of Sharon. Members of the family said that an automobile stopped in their driveway about 2 a.m. Saturday they heard voices, they said after the car had driven away thought they heard a girl crying in the woods. They did not report the incident until Monday, after they learned of the Weckler case.
Sheriff John Cusack of Walworth county said Tuesday that the search had been abandoned after a thorough check of the woods failed to reveal anything.
At Milwaukee, Oscar Menzel, who had offered to act as intermediary between any kidnaper and the parents, reported Wednesday that he had heard nothing. Although organized searching parties have quit, neighbors and friends of the Wecklers have refused to give up hope. They were operating in small, independent groups Wednesday, walking.
Fort Atkinson Pupils Donate to Reward for Missing Girl
Journal Special Correspondence Fort Atkinson, Wis.
Pupils at Fort Atkinson high school added to the fund usable for the return of missing Georgia Jean Weckler Thursday as search for the 8 year old farm girl failed to uncover any clue to her whereabouts. The pupils have pledged $296 to the girl's father, George Weckler, to be used "as he sees fit" or to be added to the growing total of reward money for the return of the missing child. The reward money now totals around $7,000. A searching party of 30 men, organized by the Fort Atkinson Junior Chamber of Commerce and led by Sheriff George Perry and Dist. Atty. Francis Garity again combed two wooded areas near the girl' home late Wednesday. "We turned over practically ever leaf," Perry said, "and found nothing, eliminating any possibility that the girl still is in the area." The missing girl was given a rid from her rural school to the Weckler mail box on Highway 12 last Thursday. She picked up the mail and had mentioned that she might pick some flowers on her way home, she has not been seen since. A truck driver said he saw a black Ford sedan turn into the side road at about the time Georgia Jean was walking home. A hired hand on nearby farm said he saw a black sedan back out of the Weckler driveway, driven by a "hard looking man."
Gypsies Traced for Clue of Girl
Another Hunt Made in Upper Michigan
The search for little Georgia Jean Weckler extended today to the trail reportedly taken by a band of gypsies who had camped about 6 miles from her farm home, and to Upper Michigan where a filling station attendant reported seeing a suspicious acting man with "a young kid.' The gypsies were reported to have left their campsite, along Highway 12 in Dane county, just across the Jefferson county line from the Weckler home, last Friday, the day after Georgia Jean disappeared.
'Would be Back'
Residents of the neighborhood reported the gypsies said they were going to St. Louis, Mo. and would be back in a couple of weeks. Jefferson county officials were, working on the theory that the gypsies may have learned girl's father often received money by mail as he was town treasurer, and might have picked up Georgia: Jean, 8, as she carried the day's mail down the lane to her home.
However, Dane county officials ' investigated the abandoned camp site and found no evidence which would indicate Georgia Jean had been held there. The filling station attendant Upper Michigan, between Marquette and Munising, reported man about 50, acting suspeious and nerviousous," had entered the' station stating he wanted to buy crackers for a "young kid" in his car. The Michagan state police said they did not believe the man would have mentioned the youngest if he been a kidnaper. However, they continued a search today for the traveler.
Dane county sheriff's officials received a report of a kidnapper's car" parked on a lane along Lake Koshkonong on the George Clark farm Thursday night, but the "kidnappers" turned out; to be two young-lovers.
Madison police found a car parked on Langdon st. with blood spattered on the side. Investigation revealed that the car's driver had a wisdom tooth pulled and dad spat out the window while driving home
Flying Deputy Squad Seeks Clues From Air
Ft. Atkinson Four planes of the Green county sheriff's flying squad of deputy sheriffs today was combing the area within a 50 mile radius of the home of Georgia Jean Weckler, missing farm girl. The flying deputy piloting the planes were, Gilbert Baltzer, Donlald Alston, Louis Blanc, and Charles Smith. With them, as observors, were Jack Stoltz, John Grossen, and Harold Schultz, and Tay Breitweiser.
Formation of the group was recently announced by Green County Sheriff Evan Chambers, who appointed them to deputies status The four men furnished $2,000 bonds and have their own liabilty insurance. Their work, Chamber announced, is "strictly on a no charge basis." All the men engaged in the aerial search today are from Monroe with the exception of Breit
Missing Farmhand Sought; Check Suspect in Pennsylvania
Journal Special Correspondence Fort Atkinson, Wis.
An intensive search was under way Monday for curly haired farmhand who disappeared from this locality that little George Jean Weckler was believed kidnaped. Sheriff George Perry said Monday that the farmhand, who speaks with an accent and reportedly confided to acquaintances that he was an ex-convict from Pennsylvania, would be questioned if he is found.
Admittedly authorities we grasping at the slightest of clues their effort to break the two week old case of the little farm girl's disappearance. Dist. Atty. Franc Garity said Monday that he had started a complete requestioning everyone in the case in an effort round up new clues.
The search for the farmhand was: brought to light when Perry ask Pennsylvania police to try to establish a link between the abduction of rape-slaying of a 5 year old Norristown (Pa.) girl Saturday and the disappearance of the 8 year of Georgia Jean.
Perry called Norristown authorities when he heard that a has less young man who drove a black car was being hunted in the rape slaying of Carol Thompson. The "man answered the description of man reported to have been seen near the place the Weckler girl disappeared.
Perry stressed that the call was merely an effort to leave no stone unturned. He said that if the Norristown police found their suspect they would question him in the, Weckler case. Norristown authorities said that someone thoroughly familiar wits the territory around Carol Thompson's house had enticed the blue eye little girl into his automobile and less than an hour later dumped her battered and ravished body down a cistern.
Waukesha, Wis.City and county law enforcement officials Monday warned all Waukesha county parents to instruct their children to refuse offers of rides from strangers. Chief of Police Harold Owen and Sheriff Leslie Rockteacher joined in urging county residents and persons owning summer homes in the county to report immediately every suspicious stranger loitering around schools or groups of children. The warning, he said, was occasioned by the disappearance of Georgia Jean Weckler, 8 year old Jefferson county girl who is object, of a wide search. In recent weeks, said, authorities in Waukesha' we've received no complaints but a month or so ago.
The Wisconsin State Journal
Madison, Wednesday, May 7 1947
As he waits, still hopeful of news about his missing 8 year-old daughter,
Georgia, George Weckler, Ft. Atkinson finds himself smoking too manycigarets and his calm veneer is fast wearing thin.
Hunt for Girl Stalls as Leads Keep Fading
By JOHN NEWHOUSE (State Journal staff Writer)
FT. ATKINSON - After six days of following false leads and tracking down baseless rumors, in the search for Georgia Jean Weckler, 3, missing since last Thursday, has come to a standstill.
Authorities say that they have followed all leads as far as they can be checked and admit that they have no new leads to follow. "It looks as. though any break will have to come from the outside," Jefferson County Dist. Atty. Francis Garity, red-eyed from lack of sleep and unshaven, told reporters Tuesday night before he went home to bed at midnight. "We haven't a 'loose thread among the few leads we had," he said, 'except that black car and that hasn't been easy to find.'
The black car, thought to be a 1936 Ford, was seen by several persons Thursday at the entrance to the farm lane leading to the home of George Weckler, father of the missing girl.
For the first night since the girl's disappearance electrified the countryside, the room "across the hall from the police station, in which authorities had interviewed persons connected with the case was dark. And, for the first time in almost a week, the city, county, and state patrol cars were not bringing in persons for questioning or darting out to investigate empty houses where strange lights showed or other suspicious circumstances had been reported.
S. S. Feaster, Camp McCoy employee who had been driving a truck past the road leading to the farm of Weckler when he saw a black car enter the drive and saw the little girl near the mail box, had climbed aboard his truck and gone home a little concerned with the work he had missed during his stay in Ft. Atkinson.
Marvin Thom, hired man on a neighbor's farm who had been driving a tractor past the farm road when he saw a black car back out of the driveway, is still wishing he had taken a better look.
'If I'd Known'
"If I'd known then what I know now," he has said a score of times, "I'd have seen three times as much." On the Weckler farm, neighbor women are still congregated to help out with the meals, but they'll' have to be going back home again. There aren't so many people dropping in for food or to warm up, and they have work at their own homes.
Weckler, who is smoking far too many cigarets with all the punishment he has been taking, still preserves an outer calm but the veneer is thin. He and his wife left the farm together Tuesday for the first time, since last Thursday, driving down the lane to Highway 12 over the route their little girl should have come' home from school.
Passed the Place
Somewhere along the route, they passed the place where she disappeared, but where it was neither of them knew. "I thought it would do her some good to get out of the house," said Weckler. Besides, they had to visit his father, William Weckler, 85, who is ill in Fort Memorial hospital. He hasn't been told about the disappearance of Georgia, his favorite. He's wondered about his son, too because he hasn't been in to see him at the hospital since Sunday. He's Wondering "Dad's pretty shrewd," said Weckler, dragging nervously on his cigaret. "He's wondering why he isn't getting the papers." By rights, he's well enough to have gotten out a couple of days ago, but the doctor figures the shock wouldn't be good for him." His father's heart isn't too good. "i've had a lot of my friends going in to see him so he won't notice so much that I haven't been able to be there," said Weckler. "At a time like this you really find out what friends are." He took another deep pull on his cigaret. "Well," he said, tossing the cigaret away, "I guess there's nothing to do but wait."
Sheboygan Boy, 12, Charges Kidnaping
CHICAGO - (UP) - Conway Yurk, a 12-year-old Sheboygan, Wis., schoolboy told Chicago police today that he was kidaped on his way to school and released in Chicago 10 hours later. After he left home Tuesday for his sixth grade classroom at the Holy Name parochial school in Sheboygan, he said, he was stopped by a "fat man in a green coupe," who forced him into the car after asking the way to U. S. Highway 41. He said he was blindfolded and shoved into the back seat of the car, and that when he was released at 7 Tuesday night he was in Chicago.
Discarded Blue Dress 'Gives New False Hope'
Dane county sheriff's officials were sent on another "wild goose chase" this morning, when a child's blue apron dress, similar to the blue skirt worn by the missing Georgia Jean Weckler, was found torn and discarded along Highway19, about 1 ½ miles east of Madison. Investigation revealed that the discarded clothing was not that worn by the missing girl. The dress had been found by two county highway department patrolmen, Carl Lothe and George Strand, Sun Prairie.
Misc Articles - Thursday May 8th, 1947
Elderly Man Sought as Fort Kidnap Suspect
FT. ATKINSON-(U.P)-Sheriff George Perry today asked authorities in 'northern Wisconsin to 'hunt for an elderly man driving a "steel grey car with a crumpled fender" as the possible kidnaper of Georgia Jean Weckler, 8-year-old farm girl missing a week today. The appeal to officials in the area around Green Bay, 130 miles north of here, was prompted by a new lead given Perry today. the tip came from Mrs. John Worachek, operator of a tavern in the village of Larrabee, 17 miles north of Manitowoc.
Mrs. Worachek said "an elderly man with the, brightest blue eyes have ever seen" entered her tavern at noon Saturday. He ordered glass of beer. The man appeared very new us," she said. "In fact, he was o nervous he could hardly hold the glass of beer. Just then I heard a child crying outside. It sounded like a girl and was very plain. She seemed to be saying: `Let me out! Let me out!' Mrs. Worachek said she remarked to the elderly. man that "someone's cooped up out there" but the man claimed "he didn't hear a thing." When Mrs. Worachek started from behind the bar to investigate, the man stepped forward and though to block her way.
Just then a boy entered the tavern and bought an ice cream bar he left immediately. "How much are the bar?" Mrs Worachek quoted the elderly in as asking. When she told him he 'said I'll take one of them, no, you better make it two." As soon as he had made his change, the man left the tavern hurriedly. By the time Mrs. Worachek got to the door, the car was on the highway, moving north. She noted that the car was steel-grey in color and had damaged right rear fender.
Again Notices Car
On Monday, Mrs. Worachek visited friends in Peshtigo, some 70 miles north of her home. On the way back she noticed the same car, parked near some tourist cottages north of Green Bay. She thought the cottages were at Duck Creek, but, was not certain. Upon returning to Larabee she notified the Manitowoc county sheriff, Arthur Truttschell, of the series of incidents. Truttschell relayed the information to Perry here. Perry said he "is sold on the idea that the girl was picked up in a car" when she disappeared while on her way home from school May 1. He said it would have been impossible for her to have become lost.
The girl's father, George C. Weckler, is a well to do farmer, but authorities are of the opinion that she was kidnaped by a sex maniac rather than by someone seeking ransom. An exhaustive search of the woods near the girl's home revealed no clue to her disappearance Wednesday.
Trunk, Car Clues in Case Fail Here
A mysterious trunk from a "haunted" house and suspicious black cars were investigated by Dane county police Wednesday night, but no information concerning the missing Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, was uncovered despite the suspicions of Deerfield area residents and Jefferson count police. All Deerfield was aroused by the finding of a large, old fashioned traveling trunk behind tobacco shed on the Clair an Marlow Smithback farm, about miles west of Deerfield. Several calls were received at the jail from residents of the neighborhood that they feared the trunk might contain the 8-year-old girl' body.
Boys Get Trunk
Sheriff Edward A. Fischer and under sheriff Elmer Ottum investigated and learned that the trunk had been dragged from a vacant house on the Vernon Olson farm, about 1 mile away from the Smithback farm, by three Madison boys, aged 9 to 12. The youths, who spent weekend vacations in the Deerfield area, aid they believed the vacant house was haunted and took the trunk from there, hoping to use it in setting up a "detective's club" of their own. The trunk is owned by Anton Feggestad, an elderly farmer and previous resident of the "haunted" house, who now lives on another farm in the area. It contained old clothing, books, and letters.
Check on Car
County officers were also called out about 8 p. m. to investigate a report by a farm woman that a mysterious black car, fitting the description of the one seen near he Weckler farm in Ft. Atkinson he day of Georgia Jean's disapearance, was driven into the marsh along Koskonong creek, north of Deerfield. About 30 residents of the area joined in the search, but no car was found. Deputy Sheriffs George Graves and Gilbert Kapelke stopped a suspicious black car near Cambridge about midnight, on radio request from the Jefferson county police, but the car occupants were released after they identified themselves as tourists returning their homes in Rockford, Ill.
The Wisconsin State Journal
Madison, Saturday, May 10 , 1947
Sheriff Checks Kidnap Clue Milwaukee
Governer, Madison Police Offer Aid to Fort Police
MILWAUKEE - N.P) - Sheriff George Perry of Jefferson county came to Milwaukee today to "run down a possible clue" to the disappearance of 8-year-old Georgia Jean Weckler, believed to have been kidnaped from her farm home near Ft. Atkinson, more than a week ago. Perry refused to divulge the nature of his clue. Immediately up on arrival here he went to the Milwaukee Safety bldg. and conferred with officials of the city detective force.
Morris, Nee at Fort
Meanwhile, Gov. Rennebohm pledged state cooperation in the ' search for the little girl. Police officials of Madison also placed facilities of their department at the disposal of local investigators. Rennebohm, Inspector H. J. Morris and Detective Thomas Nee of the Madison police department, SHERIFF checks pile up as AD 1 met at Ft. Atkinson Friday afternoon for two hours with Dist. Atty. Francis Garity and Sheriff George Perry. They discussed all aspects of the case, Garity said, and examined the farm where the 8-year-old girl disappeared nine days ago.
Madison Aid Offered
"I am interested in the case like all of the people in the state," the governor said. "However, there is nothing the state can do now to aid the county authorities who are doing all that is humanly possible." Nee and Morris offered the services of the Madison police department, the equipment, or any of its crime experts if they were needed. Garity explained there was nothing to be done except run down leads that were reported. "We spent the day surveying again all the leads and information we have on the case," Garity reported wearily. "Absolutely nothing new has developed except for some amateur detectives' reports. And of course we have to track them down too always hoping.'
Father Sent to Bed
The district attorney said George Weckler, 45-year old farmer and father of the missing girl, was ordered to rest during the day. "He's been under a terrific strain with no letup," Garity said. "We told him to go to bed and we would call him if anything developed. Nothing did. Mrs. Weckler has been getting quite a bit of rest." It was reported Weckler was under a doctor's care who administered opiates, but Garity could not confirm the report. The Weckler farm home, 6 miles west of here, was closed all afternoon and evening to visitors so the family could relax and remain undisturbed.
Offer State Aid in Girl Search
Governor and Madison Police Pledge Cooperation in Case
Journal Special Correspondence Fort Atkinson, Wis.
Authorities here Saturday said that Gov. Rennebohm had pledged them the cooperation of any state agency in the nine day old search for Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, who is believed to have been kidnaped. The governor, with Capt. H. J. Morris and Detective Thomas Nee of the Madison police department, conferred for two hours here Friday with Dist. Atty. Francis Garity and Sheriff George Perry.
Garity said they spent the day reviewing the case and examining the site where the little girl was last seen. Nee and Morris offered the services of the Madison police department or any of its crime experts, if needed, Garity added. "I am interested in the case like all of the people of the state," Rennebohm said. "However, there is nothing the state can do now to aid the county authorities, who are doing all that is humanly possible."
Observers in four planes of the Green county sheriff's volunteer aerial patrol made a three hour search of a 50 square mile area around the Weckler farm Friday, hoping to discover "breaks in the ground pattern" such as tracks across plowed fields, but found nothing. "Absolutely nothing new has developed in the case," Garity reported, "except for some amateur detectives' reports. Of course, we have to track them down, too always hoping."
Local Police Offer Hunt Aid
Will Help Probe Disappearance of State Girl if Asked
Jefferson county authorities Saturday had assurances that every agency of the state and the polices departments of Milwaukee and Madison would co-operate in the 10 day old search for Georgia Jean Weckler, missing Fort Atkinson farm girl who is believed to have been kidnaped.
Sheriff George Perry, of Jefferson county conferred with Lt. John Niederkorn, acting captain of detectives, and Inspector Hubert Dax here on the case Saturday, and was assured that facilities of the Milwaukee police department were at his complete disposal.
Dax told the weary Perry, who has spent the last week tracking down fruitless clues, that "if the governor calls on Milwaukee police for assistance, we will be willing to send you our best detectives."
Perry also conferred with Oscar Menzel, a Milwaukee friend of the Weckler family, who has offered to act as an intermediary in the case, and checked on a telegram received by the family a week ago from Milwaukee.
The telegram said
"Dear friend: Don't be fooled. The fortune teller spoke the truth. Go aback to your farm house at once. Georgia Jean, your little daughter, is there. They changed her clothes and dyed her hair. Her own clothes are in the back section of the garage or In the house. Rose Greenwald." Police said the writer had no additional information on the case.
Meanwhile, the search for the missing girl into southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois as the Jefferson county district attorney said that "it's a 100 to 1 shot that the little girl has been kidnaped."
Other Developments Other developments were:
A soldier on leave from Ft. Knots, Ky., was seized in Chicago Sunday night by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (4 agents for questioning after parking lot attendants had reported what they believed to be bloodstains in his car. He was later cleared and released.
A Ft. Atkinson woman reported to authorities that she had been on a Ft. Atkinson street corner Thursday afternoon and heard a little girl crying to be released from a dark car. The report corroborated an earlier story by Sam Klement, Ft. Atkinson.
Dozens of black, 1936 Ford cars of Jefferson and neighboring counties were checked in an effort to find the kidnap vehicle.
Reward money for apprehension of the kidnapper or, clues leading to his arrest was raised to $3,700.
Oscar Menzel, 37, Milwaukee friend of the Weckler family and formerly with army intelligence, offered to act as interrnediary.
Police were checking on, a series of three stolen cars in the Ft. Atkinson and the area.
Volunteers were beginning a search of the catch basin and manholes of Ft. Atkinson, with members of the Ft. Atkinson
Chamber of Commerce aiding
An appeal to all persons, in cities or on farms, in the region of the south of Ft. Atkinson in southern Wisconsin and, northern Illinois to check their vacant lots, empty houses, wells, and culverts was made today by Jefferson' County Dist. Atty. Francis Garity. "We've searched the area in the vicinity of the Weckler home with a fine-toothed comb," he said, "and it is evident `that the search will have to spread farther. It's a 100 to 1 shot that she's, been kidnaped."
More Data on Car
Returning to Ft. Atkinson, S. Feastes, Camp McCoy truck driver, gave more details of a black Ford car which he had noted near the entrance to they Weckler home Thursday afternoon at about 3:30 the time that the little girl returning from school had been dropped at the mail box corner a half mile from her farm home by a neighbor woman.
Going from Cambridge to Ft. Atkinson, he had passed the car, parked by the side of Highway 12 about a mile before he came to the Weckler drive he told county authorities who took him over the road Sunday night. A half mail farther the car had passed him. The car was just ahead of him when they arrived at the Weckler drive, where a little girl was walking down the farm lane.
The car pulled to the .left and into the drive, Feastes said. As he passed it on the right, he shouted at the driver of the black car, but did not see him well.
Story Checks With Others
His story checked with two others at the corner at about the same time. Marvin Thorn, farmer hauling rubbish to a dump near corner, said that he had seen a black car backing from the corner and that an occupant was a man 25 to 30 years of age with no cap. Feaster said that he noticed the tractor and that the driver was not sitting squarely in the seat. Thom said that, due to a spine injury, he never sat squarely on the tractor seat.
Feastes also said that he had noticed a car at the top of a hill to the south of the Weckler drive on Highway 12 which disappeared before he went over the hill. The car was believed to be that of Mrs. Carl Floerke, neighbor woman who had brought the missing girl home from school.
Feaster also reported that, while in Ft. Atkinson. a blond hitchhiker whose description roughly matched that of the man who had entered the Parker house had asked him for a ride. The man had not showed up at the appointed time, however.
Crying Child Struck
Meanwhile a Ft. Atkinson woman, Mrs. Ralph Rumary, 808 Whitewater ave., reported that she had been on the corner of Milwaukee ave. and Main St waiting for a stop light, when she noticed a man and woman leave a} black parked car. A child in the car began crying to leave the cars, she told The Wisconsin State Journal Ft. Atkinson correspondent.
The man and woman were part way across the street which the woman said, "I told you she wouldn't stay in that car.'' Mrs. Rumary reported. The pair turned back to the parked car, and the man began hitting the girl, she said. As Mrs. Rumary was about to interfere a woman asked her what she was looking at, an by the time she had explain the pair had got in the car, backed out and headed east on Milwaukee ave.
The incident was believed to he the same as that reported earlier last week by Kelment. The time was between 3:45 and 4p.m. Thursday. The couple was roughly dressed.
Check on Stolen Cars
Police were looking for a connection between a series of stolen cars and the baffling case. E. W. Fromader, 212 Roosevelt rd, Saturday night reported a blue Plymouth 1941 coupe abandon in his driveway with the license plate torn off. A check showed stolen Louis Goesswein , Melrose Park, Ill Shortly afterward Elkhorn police reported the recovery of a car owned by W. Earl Dunlap, of 718 Sherman ave, Ft. Atkinson The car was recovered before Dunlap knew it was missing. The Fromader and the Dunlap homes are about two blocks apart.
FBI in Contact
Authorities were also checking the theft of a third car from the town of Genvea, in Walwurth county. In Milwaukee the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said it had been in close contact with local officials, but had not entered the case
Weckler, father of the missing girl, boosted his reward offer to $2.500 and friendly neighbors raised the fund to $3,700. In Ft. Atkinson another addition to the fund was being raised at the Chamber of Commerce, with Executive Secretary Ralph Ebbott in charge or collections.
Some Still Search Area
A few parties of farmers were still checking the area at spasmodic intervals, but organized: search was called off after three days and four nights of checking houses, woods, ravines and culverts. The searchers reported that they had covered 16 square miles of rough terrain surrounding the Weckler farm.
Both Garity and Ft. Atkinson Police Chief Harry O Mueller said that they were without further clues. "I have notified the FBI that the girl is missing and that we have classified it as a kidnaping" Garity said. "But the FBI cannot move into the case until some definite evidence turns up in the way of a ransom note or that she has been injured. About five to seven days, must elapse before the FBI may enter the case on the assumption that she has been harmed or taken across a state line. No ransom note has been received.
Only Interested In Girl Menzel
With military government intelligence division in Germany, after the service a lieutenant in the air forces, said that he believed that the large number of searchers and police in the area might be holding back delivery of a ransom note. His offer to the kidnapers was "Everything will be confidential, Turn the child over to me and I'll return her to the parents. If police enter the case later and want a description of you, that's out. I'm just interested in returning Georgia Jean back alive." "Even If I recognize you when you turn over the child the identification will remain a secret with me. My home phone number Is Galena 2164R in Milwaukee, my shop number is Concord 2160."
The legend on this aerial photograph of important points in the apparent kidnaping of 8 year old Georgia Jean Weckler. Her family's farm near Fort Atkinson is indicated. She was left out of a neighbor's car on her way home from school last Thursday at the mailbox on United States Highway 12. She had mentioned she hoped to gather wild flowers in the wood a long the highway. The woods and all the surrounding country have been searched. Journal Staff
Misc Articles - Monday May 12th, 1947
Georgia's School Opens With Three Seats Vacant
FT. ATKINSON - Schoolmates of Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, returned to their rural school Monday for the first time since the little girl disappeared May 1st.. Three of the seats of the oneroom school were vacant, however, and drew the silent attention of the eight pupils back at school. The seats were those of Georgia Jean, her sister, Joan, 10, and her brother, LaVerne, 12. The Oakland Center school board had decided that "things were quiet enough" to permit the opening of school, Mrs. Donald Miller, teacher, said, as the search for the missing girl entered its 12th day.
Seven suspects who have been checked a number of times since the hunt began are still under surveillance, Jefferson county authorities said. They added that they are still in contact with Norristown, Pa., authorities on the possibility that the man hunted in the rape-slaying of Carol Ann Thompson, 6, at Norristown Saturday right might be the driver of the black Ford sedan wanted in the Weckler case.
Daily Jefferson County Union
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Thursday, May 15, 1947
They Found Some Real and Genuine Service to Perform
These 10 tractors made quick work of the 26-acre field on the Weckler farm east of the driveway yesterday morning. Roaring behind each other around and around the wet field, they finished the plowing task between 10 a. m. and noon. "We're mighty happy to do it for George," said Emery Davis Oakland Town Board chairman, "but plowing at home is going to seem like awful slow work after this Clarence Trieloff, uncle of the missing Georgia Jean Weckler his son Carroll rode one of the tractors jokingly told the boys "Don't work to fast or it won't last until dinner!" . But the boys didn't need to worry. At noon the Weckler dining table was groaning with food, which disappeared miraculously as the hungry farmers attacked it.
More Volunteer Plowmen
Over in the north field the work went slower on the sticky clay hillside. But after dinrier the other tractors pitched in to help - a dozen tractors in all. Volunteer plowmen were: Herman Heise, Clarence Matthews, Emery Davis, Harold Draeger, Allen Hetts, Ervin Pontell, Carroll Trieloff, Clarence Trieloff, Frances Mulle, James Thompson, Gene Armstrong, Edgar Armstrong, Lawrence Falk, Orin Mode, Willard Tellefson, Sam Chapman and Loren 'Becker.
Things Are a Little Brighter at
the Weckler Farm Today
By United Press
Things are a little brighter at the farm home of George Weckler near Fort Atkinson today, even, though his eight-year-old daughter still is missing. They're brighter because a group of neighbors found a practical way to show their sympathy. They noticed that Weckler's fields were unplowed, his sheep unsheared. He hasn't been interested in farming since May 1, when Georgia Jean disappeared.
He's been spending his days tramping' with a posse through the woods in search of his daughter or trying to console his heartbroken wife. He just couldn't bring himself to do the spring plowing, or any of the farm work. So 15 neighboring farmers talked it over and paid Weckler a. visit. Their spokesman was Loren Becker.
George he said `there hasn't been anything the boys could do so far to help you directly. But now," he added; "I think we can." But now he added . "I think we can." Weckler watched as his friends drove a dozen tractors onto his farm` and set to work on the 26 acres east of the farmhouse. He couldn't' help crying. While the men worked the fields, six farm wives took over the Weckler kitchen and prepared a chicken dinner. Mean while, three other men sheared Weckler's 10 sheep.
When the work was done, the farmers climbed down from their tractors and went in for dinner. But before they sat down to the table, they bowed their heads for a prayer by the Rev. Alban G. Lippins, of St. John's Community church. "Lord," he said, "we pray that Georgia. Jean may soon be returned to her parents. And comfort them until she is returned."
Then they headed down the lane to their homes again, motors roaring and plow's clanking as they set off. "Blamed glad we had a chance to help," said one of the last as he climbed to his tractor seat and gunned the engine before letting out the clutch. "At a time like this, everyone wants to help."
Perry Confident of "Break" Soon
Jefferson County Sheriff George said today he was concerned Georgia Jean Weckler missing for two weeks from her home. The sheriff says authorities are still without a. definite lead, but he thinks that intensive investigation is bound to give them a lead soon. Dist. Atty. Francis. Garity, who is more firmly convinced ever that the 8-year-old girl kidnapped, reported that officials have been handicapped by the long start the kidnapper had. He said that the search for, little blond third-grader did not start until about three hours after she was reported missing and he adds that the search has been confined to the vicinity of the Weckler home.
But now, Garity said, the authorities are sifting scores of letters from all over the state in which people have been asking, if all possible territory has been searched. The district attorney claims that every 'square inch of ground has been given a thorough going over.
The United Press reports that at 25-year-old ex-convict denied in the New York police lineup today that he killed a 5-year-old girl in Norristown, Pa., last Saturday. Bucktoothed Arnold Turner, who was arrested in New York last night, said he had never, even been in the township in which little Carol Thompson was slain. Turner was to be arraigned late today. He said he would waive extradition to Pennsylvania that time.
Sheriff Perry has been in contact with Norristown law enforcement officials concerning the similarity in the two cases. Turner will therefore undoubtedly be questioned concerning his where abouts on May 1st the date of Georgia Jean's disappearance
Misc. Articles - May 15, 1947
Sympathetic Friends Tackle Wecklers' Unheeded Chores
Fort Atkinson, Wis.-(AP)- The 200 acre farm of George Weckler, bleak and barren the last two weeks, assumed new life Wednesday as 13 arm neighbors and their wives took over for a day. It was a fortnight ago that 8 year old Georgia Jean Weckler disappeared on her way home from school, leaving not a clue to assist desperate searching parties. Her parents, grief stricken as day followed day with no word of her hereabouts, have taken little interest in anything but the search. Farm friends, unable to help materially since the first few frantic days of combing the nearby wooded areas, felt keenly their failure to "good neighbors" in the traditional rural spirit.
Wednesday the men arrived with 12 tractors equipped with plows, the omen with arms loaded with good things to eat. Thirty acres of the farm were plowed and readied for planting under the direction of Clarence Trieloff, president of the Fort Farmerst club. Chester Saunders sheared 10 of Wecklers sheep, while Loren Becker worked at repairing fences. Sam Chapman brought over his cultipacker to follow the plows, but the soil was a bit too wet and he promised to bring his equipment back later.
At noon the boys knocked off work and the women took over. Mrs. Trieloff and her crew had been assisting Mrs. Weckler in the farm kitchen and the men sat down to a meal starting with roast beef and ending with rhubarb pie. In between were mashed potatoes, asparagus, scalloped corn and salad. "It was a regular threshers' meal," smiled Mrs. Trieloff.
The whole project started a week or so ago when Trieloff dropped into Hugo Fry's Oakland Center store. He commented on the need "to help George." Several other neighbors agreed and a date was set.
Law enforcement officers mean while continued to sift all tips which might lead to discovery of Georgia Jean, but admitted they were "no further ahead than the day we started."
12 friends Turn Out to Help Grieving Father of Missing Girl
By JOHN NEWHOUSE, (State Journal Staff Writer)
FT. ATKINSON- Wednesday morning George Weckler had 31 acres to plow and the season was late for plowing Wednesday afternoon the land was all plowed. And 12 of his neighbors were heading their tractors down the lane to their homes, glad in the knowledge that they had been able to help out the man whose daughter 8-year-old Georgia Jean had disappeared from that same lane two weeks before.
The project had its start in the Oakland Center store three days before when Clarence Trieloff got to talking with Hugo Frey the storekeeper. "George is way behind with his work," said Trieloff. "He's been up night and day in the hunt for his daughter no time to sleep and hardly time to eat an no time to get his spring's work done either."Wonder if the folks around here would go for a plowing bee . . ?"
Hugo opined that they would and three farmers sitting in the store said that they'd jump at the chance. "Get out a piece of paper," said Trieloff, and, pretty soon they had to quit taking names because there was no sense putting too many tractors on apiece of land.
By 9:30 Wednesday morning there were 12 tractors snorting around a 22-acre field. On the seats were Emery Davis, Allen Hetts, Orrin Mode, Willard Tellefson, Lawrence Falk, Clarence Mathews, Herman Heise, Francis Mullen, Norman Thompson, Erwin Pantel, Edgar Armstrong, and Carol Trieloff, the son of Clarence Trieloff. Each tractor was pulling a gang plow, with a pair of 14-inch bottoms; and one round of the field with all 12 carved off 56 feet! And that's plowing! "It's a lot of fun to see a big job like that done in a hurry," said Armstrong. "And when you've got a dozen tractors coming down the same land man, that's a sight to see!" By noon they had finished the 22 acres, and headed for the house for a dozen man sized dinners prepared by Mrs. Clarence Trieloff, Mrs. Albert Mode, Mrs. Sam Chapman, and Mrs. Lloyd Weckler.
It was a pretty cheerful dinner, even considering the shadow that'' hung over the house. In the afternoon, Weckler had to leave on business, and the crew headed out for a 9-acre field behind the woods. Armstrong had a spot of tough luck, when he broke the axle of his Ford tractor, and Davis broke a part to his plow. They had to hookup the tractors in tandem to get through the heavy pulling, but they finished by 3:30. And, by that time, Harold Draeger who had been seeing that the Weckler's 10 sheep go sheared had finished his job, too.
Then they headed down the lane to their homes again, motors oaring and plows clanking as hey set off. "Blamed glad we had at chance to help," said one of the last as he climbed to his tractor seat and gunned the engine before letting out the clutch. "At a time like this, everyone wants to help."
Neighbors Help Plow Weckler's Fields
State Journal Staff Photos
A dozen neighbors of George Weckler, farmer near Fort Atkinson whose daughter, Georgia Jean disappeared two weeks ago, turned up Wednesday to help Weckler with his plowing. The picture at the bottom shows a portion of the tractor line heading down the field and at the top is a shot of a part of the grief that is a farmer's portion. Edgar Armstrong in the center is pointing to the broken axle of his tractor while farmers who left their tractors to help him out are looking on.
Misc. Articles - May 19th, 1947
William Weckler, 85, Dies Today
Had been in ill health for the past 10 years. At the hospital at the time of the disappearance of his grand William Weckler, 85, town of Oakland pioneer farmer, dies at Memorial hospital here at 12:35 p. m. today. He daughter, Georgia Jean, May 1, the news was kept from him for more than a week. He was at home for a few days, later, but returned last Thursday. He suffered a stroke on Monday. William Weckler was born November 22, 1862, at the Oakland township family farm home. He was married October 25, 1899, to Katherine Henrietta Zahn, town of Oakland, in the township.
Mrs. Weckler preceded her husband in death on March 7, 1922. Surviving are four children, George C., Elmer W., Mrs. Harold Draeger and Lloyd Weckler, all of Fort Atkinson; and two brothers, E. C. Weckler, Park Falls, Wis., and G. A. Weckler, Fort Atkinson, and 16 grand children.
The pioneer retired to live at Fort Atkinson on March 1, 1928. On December 1, 1945, he moved too the farm home of his son, Lloyd.
Funeral services are expected to be held at 2 p. m. Saturday, unless otherwise announced on Thursday. They will be held at the St. John's Community church Oakland, the Rev, Albin Tippins officiating. Burial will be at Union cemetery, Sumner.
The Downing Funeral Service has charge of arrangements.
Misc Articles - October 1948
Ashes to Be Tested in Weckler Mystery
Crime Lab Action OK'd by Fairchild After D.A. Refuses
By JUNE DIECKMANN (State Journal Staff Writer)
Ashes from a killer's hideout were to be analyzed at the state crime laboratory here today for clues concerning the mystery of little Georgia Jean Weckler, 8-year-old Ft. Atkinson farm girl who disappeared nearly two years ago, The State Journal learned late Wednesday night.
Officials who were investigating reports that the child's body had been burned found the ashes last October in the woods near Richland Center at the dugout hiding place of Buford Sennett, convicted murderer-rapist and confessed kidnaper of Georgia Jean.
Kept by Girl's Parents
For the four months since the discovery, the ashes have been kept by the bereaved parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Weckler, at their farm home because Jefferson County Dist. Atty. Francis Garity refused to send them to the crime laboratory for examination, The State Journal learned. Atty. Gen. Thomas E. Fairchild late Wednesday authorized Charles M. Wilson, crime laboratory director, to analyze the ashes after he had been informed of Garity's refusal and had received reports of lack of cooperation among officials investigating the Weckler case. At the request of the father, the ashes were brought to Madison Wednesday by Police Officer Otto Flaig, Ft. Atkinson.
Weckler Clues Sought in Ashes
Crime Lab Gets Case After D.A.'s Refusal
(continued from Page 1 )
Three Senators Help
Three senators, Chester Dempsey (R-Hartland), J. Earls Leverich (R-Sparta), and Bernhard Gettelman (R-Milwaukee), helped Officer Flaig obtain the attorney general's authorization for examination of the ashes. It has been the policy of crime laboratory to examine evidentiary material which been referred to the laboratory' with the approval of the Dist Attorney in whose county crime was committed, Dire Wilson said. "Regardless of whether ashes reveal anything, they should be analyzed to ease the doubt in the minds of the little girl's parents," Wilson declared. Mr. and Mrs. Weckler has clung to hope that their daughter is still alive because her body never been found.
Collected at Hideout
Weckler, Officer Flaig, and Atty. William H. Rogers, Ft. Atkinson, collected the ashes from topsoil at Sennett's hideout last Oct. 9, after they had been led thereby a 25-year-old Ft. Atkinson woman who claimed she witnessed the burning of Georgia Jean's body, Flaig said. The following day, Dist. Atty. Garity questioned the woman and reported that she had given him a signed statement that her whole story was just a figment of her imagination." He refused to authorize a examination of the ashes, which Georgia Jean's father carried to is office in a tightly woven cloth bag, and ordered the woman released.
Released After Lie Test
On Nov. 1, the woman was picked up again upon orders of Garity and Jefferson County Sheriff Roland Gibson and was held for a month for investigation. They released her on Dec when Gibson reported that she had been given a lie detector test which convinced him that she was not involved in Georgia Jean's disappearance Weckler aid he wanted an examination of the ashes of an basis on an earlier story given by the woman on Oct. 6th to Officer Flaig and city Atty. Harold C. Smith, Ft. Atkinson. At that time, Flaig said that woman told them that Sennett had discussed with her his plans for kidnaping the Weckler child and holding her for ransom be cause he needed money.
To Have Been Go-Between
She said she was to have been a go-between, but because of the many police and sheriff', officers at the Weckler farm after Georgia Jean disappeared May 1, 1947, she was unable to deliver the ransom demand to the parents.
Flaig said she claimed that Sennett and a woman she did not know, drove her to the hideout about 3 miles south of Richland Center where they found Georgia Jean's body, guarded by a man she refused to identify The little girl had died from, a dose of sleeping pills, the woman told Flaig. Sennett and the man poured acid on the body and burned her in a raging fire, Flaig said woman claimed.
Says Threatened Her
She said Sennett threatened her with the same fate if she revealed the story to officers, Flaig reported. Officer Flaig said the woman led the way to the spot where the ashes were found. Tree limbs above where she said the fire was built "had been killed from some cause," Flaig reported.
Sennett, along with Robert Winslow, his accomplice in the slaying of Carl L. Carlson, University of Wisconsin student, is serving a life sentence in Waumun state prison. After Sennett had repeatedly; denied any connection with the Weckler case, Dist. Atty. Garity announced on Dec. 15, 1947, that he had obtained a confession from he killer at the prison.
Blames Pal for Death
In the confession, Garity said Sennett had admitted that he and an unidentified friend had abducted Georgia Jean, given her two sleeping pills, and drove her in Sennett's car to the wooded hid out area south of Richland Center. Sennett blamed the unidentified friend for the girl's death explaining that she had been given more sleeping pills and was dead when he returned to the woods after spending the night at home in Richland Center. Garity said Sennett confessed "weighting down" the girl's body' and throwing it off the Blue River bridge into the Wisconsin river, the same site where officials recovered the body of Carlson. However, intensive dragging and diving operations failed to uncover the body or any evidence of the little girl.
Analysis of Ashes Reveals No Clues in Weckler Case
The ashes from a killer's hideout failed to reveal any clues to the mysterious disappearance of 8-year-old Georgia Jean Weckler,' Atty. Gen Thomas E. Fairchild told The State Journal Wednesday night. The ashes, which were analyzed by Director Charles M. Wilson and his staff at the state crime laboratory, were gathered by the little girl's father, George Weckler, and Police Officer Otto Flaig, Ft. Atkinson, last October at the hideout near Richland Center of Buford Sennett, convicted murderer of Carl L. Carlson, University of Wisconsin student. Shortly after Sennett and Robert Winslow were sentenced to life terms in Waupun state prison last November, Jefferson County Dist. Atty. Francis Garity reported that he had obtained admissions from Sennett that he (Sennett) and an unidentified accomplice had kidnaped Georgia Jean, and dumped her body in the Wisconsin river after she had died of an overdose of sleeping pills. A 25-year-old Ft. Atkinson woman, who claimed to be an acquaintance of Sennett, later told conflicting stories concerning Georgia Jean's body having been burned at Sennett's hideout, which caused Flaig and Weckler to collect the ashes.
Misc Article - October 31, 1954
ADMITS KILLING' 'CHILD,8,WHO VANISHED IN '47
Lifer Says He Helped Kidnap Girl
Jefferson, Wis., Oct. '31 [Special]-Sheriff Rudolph Reichert of Jefferson county, tonight disclosed that a murderer serving life in the Nebraska state penitentiary has confessed he kidnaped and killed Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, a Wisconsin farmer's daughter who vanished mysteriously 7 years ago. The sheriff said Charles McClelland, 25, of Booneville, Mo., related he and an accomplice kidnaped the girl for ransom, May 1, 1947.
Tells Burial in Creek
According to the confession, the kidnappers took the girl to southern Illinois, became afraid to try to collect the ransom, and killed her May 4, 1947. McClelland said they buried her in a creek bottom near a country road east of U. S. highway 51 and 2 miles south of Du Quoin.
Sheriff Reichert said he and his deputies had found the spot described by McClelland and had twice searched for a, body there. They did not find it. However, the sheriff said experts had informed him that yearly flooding of the, creek made it unlikely the body ever would be found.
The sheriff refused to say how McClelland said the girl was killed, and he would not identify McClelland's accomplice, Who is being sought, other than to say he is a man about 28 years old.
Confession Kept Secret
McClelland first came to Reichert's attention when he wrote him last December, saying he was responsible for Georgia Jean's disappearance. The sheriff went to the Nebraska penitentiary at Lincoln and obtained the confession, in the form of both a taped recording and signed statement, on Dec. 4. It had been kept secret until now while Wisconsin authorities and the FBI sought McClelland's accomplice. Mention of it was made last week in McClelland's trial at Lincoln for another murder that of John Claussen, 70, Nebraska penitentiary print shop superintendent knifed to death in the print shop April 16. McClelland was acquitted on Friday.
McClelland is serving two life terms for the slaying of Mr. and, Mrs. R. L. May, both 22, of Alexandria, Va., whose bodies were found beside a, highway near Omaha Aug. 28, 1947. The Mays had picked up McClelland as a hitchhiker. Georgia Jean was the daughter of George C. Weckler, farmer living near Fort Atkinson. She disappeared en route home from school while on the half mile road leading to the Weckler farm off highway 12. I
Articles from Wisconsin State Journal - Sunday. February 22, 1987
SEARCH FOR GEORGIA — Show above is the foot search of an Oakland woods that took place in May 1947 after 8-year-old Georgia can Weckler disappeared after being dropped off from school at the lane leading to her family's farm. The apparent abduction was never solved, despite various "confessions" by convicted criminals who later recanted their stories. This afternoon, however, Jefferson and Walworth law enforcement officials were expected to investigate a Delavan-area man's claims that he saw two men bury what might be Weckler's body beneath what today is a greenhouse in Delavan. A related story appears on page 1.
Sennett a longtime suspect in case
(Continued from page 1)
On Dec. 15, 1947, then-District ,attorney Francis Garity obtained confession to the crime from Sennett, who with Winslow were serving life sentences at what then the Wisconsin State prison in Waupun for the murder a University of Wisconsin Madison student and rape of the student's sister-in-law the previous month. Sennett, later recanted the oral confession. In the confession, Sennett, then 22, claimed that he and man a believed to have been Winslow had planned the kidnapping ransom, but that Weckler died from an overdose of sleeping pills while held in a car parked in a woods near Richland Center.
He stated that on May 3, 1947, they dumped the girl's body into the Wisconsin River near the Blue River bridge; however, no body was ever recovered in a search.
Arrest jogs recall of 1947 murder
By Richard W. Jaeger
JEFFERSON — Rudy Reichert, former Jefferson County sheriff, dusted off his yellowing scrapbook when he heard that Buford Sennett was being sent back to prison for sexually assaulting two juvenile girls. Sennett, 62, who was sentenced Jan. 27 for the sexual assault, has been sentenced to life in 1947 for the murder of Robert Carlson, a UW Madison medical student. He was paroled in 1974 after serving 27 years of that sentence. Also in 1947, Sennett was at the center of one of Jefferson County's most publicized crimes when he confessed to kidnapping Georgia Jean Weckler, 8, from the driveway of her rural Fort Atkinson farm. Reichert was a deputy sheriff at that time and took part in the investigation. Sennett later recanted his confession, and the case remains unsolved. The Weckler girl never was found. Two Jefferson County detectives recently interviewed Sennett at the Dodge Correctional Center in Waupun. He talked to them but repeatedly denied any involvement in the Weckler disappearance. Since his parole, Sennett had been living in Appleton. Robert Winslow, his accomplice in the Carlson killing, also was paroled in 1974 and lives in the Union Grove area. Sennett's recent arrest rekindled some strong memories of the Weckler kidnapping for Reichert and other old timers in Jefferson County. "We thought we had the thing solved when Sennett confessed to doing it back then," Reichert said, thumbing the frayed pages of a scrapbook put together by his wife, Marie, that contains newspaper clippings of the Weckler investigation. Reichert initially doubted Sennett's involvement in the Weckler kidnapping, and he still does. "It wasn't his kind of crime fooling with little girls," said Reichert, acknowledging the recent arrest may alter that analysis. "There also was a gap in his story about his plans to hold the youngster for ransom. He couldn't have known she would be picked up at school that day and not on the bus," he added. Reichert recalls going to Waupun with former District Attorney Francis Garity to interview Sennett in prison. "He said just enough on that first visit to lead us to believe he knew something about the Weckler case. After several other visits by Garity, he confessed, giving all kinds of details," Reichert said. Garity, now deceased, was convinced by the confession and arranged to have Sennett taken from prison to a Wisconsin River bridge near Blue River where he said he had dumped the Weckler girl's body the same area where Carlson's body was recovered. Reichert took part in that Blue River bridge search, spending 10 days on the icy river assisting divers probing for a body they never found. "I always figured he conned us into taking him there so he could try to escape, but we had him too heavily guarded," Reichert said. Sennett said he had an accomplice (Turn to Page 2)
Ex-sheriff believes, Sennett's innocent
Continued from Page 1
in Weckler's kidnapping, but he wouldn't name the person. The accomplice, he said, accidently gave the youngster an overdose of sleeping pills that killed her. There was speculation that Winslow was the accomplice, but Garity and others, ruled out the former Owen native because he was unfamiliar with the county. Garily continued to believe in Sennett's involvement even after the recanted confession. A former law partner said Garity based that belief on information provided by Sennett that only the kidnapper would have known. "Sennett told Garity he saw a farmer driving down the lane at the Weckler farm and described the odd way the fellow turned his head to look about, almost as if it were on a swiveled Well, Garity took a farmer neighbor of the Wecklers over to their place and had him drive down the lane and told him to look back as he drove the guy's head swiveled just as Sennett had said. That was enough to convince Garity," the former law partner, who asked not to be identified, said. Reichert's scrapbook contains stories about other clues that popped up long after Sennett's confession, including one about a diary found on a Janesville bus describing incidents that corresponded to the youngster's disappearance. Reichert recalls checking clues of his own after he took office as sheriff m 1951, including a trip to a Nebraska prison. Nebraska convict Charles McClelland confessed he had buried the child in a shallow grave in Northern Illinois. "We went and dug around but found nothing," Reichert said. Ed Gein, the notorious grave robber and murderer from Plainfield, also was among those checked early in the 1950s. Gein drove a black 1937 Ford similar to a car seen near the Weckler farm. "Of course, I think the only color Ford they made back then was black," Reichert said. The last active look at the Weckler file was in 1983, Sheriff Keith Mueller said. "We really didn't turn anything up other than talking to some people who said they heard other people talking about the case. Other than ' that we've received reports off and on from other states concerning the finding of skeletons of children," Mueller said. "Sennett's arrest has caused us to take another look at the Weckler case," said Richard Wellner, sergeant of detectives for the Jefferson County sheriff's department. "After all, it is still an open case."
Jefferson County Sheriff Keith Mueller, left, and former sheriff Rudy Reichert, review old newspaper clippings on the 1947 kidnapping case
-- State Journal photo by Carolyn Pflasterer
No early parole for (7-26-95)
We were pleased to hear state Parole Commission Chairman John Husz's pledge to not grant early parole to inmates who have committed violent offenses in an effort to ease prison overcrowding. We just hope that Buford Sennett's name is on the list to remain behind bars.
Sennett is among six murderers and 363 inmates last week recommended for parole because of prison overcrowding. The Department of Corrections had recently advised its more than 1,000 parole agents to review their files and recommend extra prisoners for parole because the prison system is 3,000 persons over capacity.
If the name Buford Sennett name sounds familiar, that's because the 69-year-old man at one time confessed to the May 1, 1947, abduction of 8-year-old Georgia Jean Weckler, the Fort Atkinson girl last seen trudging down the farm lane toward home by her school bus driver.
Now, we have no proof that Sennett abducted or killed Georgia Jean, though we know some former sheriffs deputies who are convinced he did. But Sennett's past record speaks for itself in deciding whether he is either violent or a parole risk.
As a boy of 14, Sennett was taken into juvenile court for allegedly sexually assaulting and abusing an 8-year-old girl who had been staying with his family. While he received only a stern reprimand, a school official closely involved in the incident said later that, "a little intelligent treatment of the case at the time might have saved a great deal of tragedy later."
Quite true. After high school, Sennett was convicted of schoolhouse burglaries and given a three-year term in the Green Bay reformatory. In September 1943, he escaped the reformatory farm and went home, but his father turned him in and Sennett got an extra year in detention.
Four years later, in November 1947, a22-year-old Sennett was sentenced to life in prison for a four-day crime spree that included the murder, with an accomplice, of a University of Wisconsin medical student and rape of a woman. It happened a week after his parole agent wrote him this note: "You served your parole in a fine way and I trust that your future conduct will be such as to never again cause you to become involved with the law." Several years later, a Milwaukee Journal reporter would write, "Parole was clearly a joke to Buford Sennett and he must have indulged in one of his infrequent smiles when he got that note. Man, what a good one!"
Sennett was paroled Dec. 15, 1974, after serving 27 years for the rape and murder. But before he was freed, he told Jefferson County authorities that he and an accomplice had abducted Weckler and dumped her body in the Wisconsin River off the Blue River bridge after she died of an overdose of sleeping pills. However, he never signed the confession and later would neither confirm nor deny that he did the deed. The case remains open today.
Then in 1987, Sennett was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the 1985 sexual assault of a minor in Appleton. The term runs consecutive to the remainder of Sennett's sentence for the 1947 murder, rape and kidnapping convictions.
We'll probably never know whether Buford Sennett was truly responsible for Georgia Jean Weckler's disappearance. But we do know that he was for rape and murder and assault of a child, three "violent offenses" which deserve punishment to the fullest extent of the law.
He's abused parole over and over again, and even at age 70, does not merit early release. Certainly, prison overcrowding is a serious problem, but letting the likes of Buford Sennett back out into society is no solution.
Articles from Thursday 29, February 29. 1996
KIDNAPPED — Forty-nine years ago, 8-year-old Georgia Jean Weckler
disappeared after being dropped off after school in the
driveway of her Town of Oakland farm.
Man says girl's body under Delavan greenhouse
Weckler death claim probe
Union staff reports
DELAVAN — Jefferson and Walworth county authorities are investigating a man's claim that the body of a rural Fort Atkinson girl kidnapped a half-century ago is buried beneath a Delavan floral shop. Jefferson County Sheriff Orval Quamme was to meet today with Walworth County Sheriff's Department deputies to check the veracity of statements by Ed J. Lindloff of Delavan, who says that in 1947 he witnessed two men dump what he believes might have been the body of Georgia Jean Weckler. Chief Deputy Mike Sullivan of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department confirmed that Jefferson and Walworth authorities were to look into Lindloffs claim this afternoon. He added that dealing with a 49-year-old case is difficult. "We're going on recollection here," Sullivan said. "It's still an open investigation and we'd like to solve this thing." According to Sullivan, his department will be talking with people who were involved with the case when it was first opened in 1947, including some retired officers. The 8-year-old Weckler girl disappeared on May 1, 1947, after a neighbor apparently dropped her off at the lane leading to her family's farm after attending Oakland Center School. She was believed to have lingered in a wooded area near the long driveway to pick flowers for May baskets. The blonde, brown-eyed youngster was never seen again. On Dec. 15, 1947, then-District Attorney Francis Garity obtained a confession to the crime from Buford Sennett, who, with a Robert Winslow, were serving life sentences at what was then the Wisconsin State Prison in Waupun for the murder of a University of Wisconsin-Madison student and rape of the victim's sister-in-law the previous month. Sennett later recanted the oral confession (see related story). On Wednesday, Channel 12 TV in Milwaukee aired a piece which indicated that Lindloff had seen two men bury a package about 4 1/2 feet in length the size of a child beneath what today is a Delavan greenhouse owned by
(Continued on page 9)
Weckler case eyed
(Continued from page 1)
Richard Hermann. He repeated his story to the Daily Union today. "I'll start it at the beginning," Lindloff said, noting how he lived on a farm "a few doors east" of where the present day greenhouse and floral shop are located, with his wife and two children. He was 27 at the time. Lindloff recalled that he was working up a field for a neighbor in preparation for the spring corn planting when the construction of a greenhouse peaked his curiosity, prompting him to talk with workers at the site. "The boiler room foundation of the greenhouse had been poured and was waiting for the construction of the greenhouse on the west side," Lindloff explained. "I saw two men starting to lay out a portion of the greenhouse to start construction." In speaking with the two men, one of whom was an Elmer Spahn, Lindloff discovered that they were working for a company based in Illinois. The other man did not introduce himself. The next day, a Friday morning, Lindloff recalled, he heard them talking, as he was working quite close to the construction site. "We ought to go out looking for some girls this weekend," said the unnamed man, according to Lindloff. "Sounds like a good idea," responded Spahn, Lindloff remembered. "How young do you like them?" "The younger the better," replied the unnamed individual, Lindloff reported. Returning to work in the afternoon, Lindloff found that the men had left, and they did not return until Monday morning. Lindloff again began planting Monday morning, and said he saw the two men pull up to the construction site at about 9:15. "They backed up Elmer Spahn's black 1937 Ford two-door automobile towards the foundation of the boiler room, opened the trunk, and got a package out of the back of the trunk that I would judge to be about 4 1/2 feet long, and about the size of a pretty good sized pumpkin in diameter," he recalled. "Elmer Spahn carried it in both arms over to the foundation of the boiler ream and threw it into the excavated area and they immediately started to cover up whatever they threw in there with dirt, with two shovels," he continued. "With my trips across the field, I would judge it took them a good 20 minutes to cover this up," recounted Lindloff. By about Wednesday of that same week, Lindloff said, he saw the story of Weckler's disappearance in a Beloit newspaper, which stated that someone had seen a black Ford car go down the Weckler driveway and pick up the young girl. "I started thinking about this, and thought `there's something wrong here,' " Lindloff said. While making egg deliveries as part of his farmwork shortly thereafter, Lindloff ran into the Walworth County sheriff at the time, Chester Barnes, and relayed his suspicions., "I told the sheriff what I had seen," Lindloff said. "But lie didn't do anything about it." Lindloff claims he told the sheriff his story again, three to four months later, and he said that Barnes took some notes. When Lindloff again saw the sheriff a few months later, he questioned the sheriff. In the meantime, Lindloff said, Spahn had been arrested for child molestation and was sentenced to three years in prison. Barnes reportedly questioned Spahn, who claimed he didn't know anything about the incident. The other construction worker could not be located, as he was no longer working for an Illinois construction company, Barnes apparently told Lindloff. While Lindloff recounted his story to several people, he did not push the issue to the limit, he said, because his wife was "a nervous person." But the Lindloffs were obviously very concerned for the safety of their daughter, who was six at the time, and their son, who was three. "Immediately after I saw these two guys bury what I'm sure was a body, either my wife or myself would take my daughter up to the school bus in the morning and we would meet the school bus at night to make sure she got back in the house," Lindloff said. This was a ritual the young couple continued until the two men finished the greenhouse and left town. "Now I told a lot of people about this over the period of years," Lindloff noted. "But no one seemed to pay any attention to it until I reported it to Sheriff Dean McKenzie," who is the current Walworth County sheriff. Lindloff said he first approached McKenzie with the information about two years ago. Lindloff spoke with a deputy and McKenzie, and McKenzie also contacted Jefferson County Sheriff Orval Quamme, according to Lindloff. Lindloff next contacted the local media, he said. Last Monday, he and the Delavan newspaper staff spent about 4 1/2 hours talking with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. Following the interview, Lindloff said, members of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department returned to Delavan with him to look at the site where he believes Weckler's body is buried. "The thing that's bothered me all these years is the fact that I thought the family should know where their little girl is buried. And I'm sure that is where she is buried," Lindloff said with certainty in his voice. "Everything checks out." "I would like to see this finalized because I've had this on my mind since 1947. I have thought about it almost daily, becoming very perturbed about the fact that there was a complete lack of investigation for this when I first reported it. I haven't had any success until Sheriff McKenzie and also Sheriff Quamme got on this," Lindloff added. Lindloff said that he is reliable person. He has been an alderman in the City of Delavan for eight years, he has been the Town of Delavan chairperson for six years, and is currently on the town plan commission, as well as several other committees. He has lived in Delevan nearly all his life, and was in the construction business for 35 years in the area. Hermann, owner of the floral shop where Lindloff believes the body is buried, however, questions Lindloffs story. "The odds are so unlikely," Hermann said this morning. "I think it's a figment of his imagination, to be quite honest with you. You're dealing with so many `ifs,' that its very unlikely. This thing happened 50 years ago." He was not optimistic about the future of the case. "To me, I think its beyond logic to pursue it further," Hermann said. "To come in here and tear a whole store up thinking that you're going to find something that may or may not be there, to me, would be very unfounded." Meanwhile, Sullivan said the claim made by Lindloff is not something new in regards to the Weckler case. He said that there have been reports of people seeing things being buried more than once before. "A while back, they dug up Highway 12," Sullivan said. "I also remember a rock quarry being dug up, as well." "If it turns out that they can't find anything, at least I've done my duty. But there is no question, whatsoever, in my mind that what I saw was the burial of this poor little 8-year-old girl," Lindloff concluded.
Sennett a longtime suspect in case
By Christine Spangler Union managing editor
If proven true, claims that the body of Georgia Jean Weckler is buried beneath a Delavan greenhouse would close the file on one of Jefferson County's oldest and most-baffling mysteries. Jefferson and Walworth county law enforcement officials this afternoon were slated to look into statements by Ed Lindloff of Delavan, who on Wednesday said he witnessed two men dump what he believes might have been Weckler's body at the Delavan site back in 1947 (see related story). The two men he saw possibly could have been Buford Sennett and Robert Winslow, since Sennett at one time confessed to the abduction and, despite his recantation later, has always been considered a possible player in the abduction. The 8-year-old disappeared on May 1, 1947, after a neighbor apparently dropped her off at the lane leading to her family's farm after attending Oakland Center School. She was believed to have lingered in a wooded area near the long driveway to pick flowers for May baskets. The blonde, brown-eyed youngster was never seen or heard from again.
(Continued on page 9)
"I was involved in the Weckler case, Mr. Garity, but I was not alone," Sennett said in his confession. "A friend of mine, whose name I refuse to disclose, who was acquainted in Jefferson County and knew of the Weckler family, planned to kidnap the little girl for ransom." Sennett also stated at the time that "it was not hard to get her into the car" and that he backed out of the drive and traveled east on U.S. Highway 12, turning right on the first crossroad. "We talked about whether or not we should go through with our plans of abducting her," Sennett told Garity. "After a few minutes, I drove back to Highway 12 and down Highway 12 to the Weckler drive and again turned into the Weckler drive, driving down a short distance. We then again decided to go through with our plan of abducting the girl." Sennett said he again backed out of the drive and went west: "A man on a tractor pulling a wagon was going by the Weckler drive," he said. He noted that his companion gave the girl two sleeping pills as they drove toward Richland Center; he left the girl with his friend in a woods and then went out on a date. "That night, I remained at home and the next morning I drove back to the woods, where I found that my friend had given the girl the rest of the sleeping pills in the box except two, and that at that time I found that she was dead;" according to the confession. "You will find, Mr. Garity, that she was shot, but I know that she died from the sleeping pills." In his confession, Sennett said they remained in the woods that day and night and then weighted down the body and took it too the Blue River bridge, "where we dropped the body from the middle span at a point which is just opposite from where the body of (Carl Carlson the university student murdered) was dropped." He concluded: "At no time did I assault that little girl, Mr. Garity. She did not cry at any time, but did ask, `When are you going to take me home?' " Sennett refused to sign the confession and no concrete evidence was ever found to bring up charges in that crime. However, former Sheriff Roger Reinel, who had just began his duties as a patrolman the day of the kidnapping and responded to the missing girl report, always believed in the confession. In a 1987 interview, Reinel said there was a seven minute gap that the FBI and other authorities could not close, adding that it involved a telephone repairman who was working in the area of the Weckler farm. "The lineman was on the pole in the drive leading to the Weckler farm and when the car pulled into the driveway, his truck wasn't there," Reinel was quoted as saying. "He had left and gone down the road to do some other work. When (Sennett) came back the telephone truck was in the yard." Reinel, who died late last year, said he took photos of the gravel displaced from a vehicle turning around on the lane, and that there was indeed a farmer on a manure spreader nearby. Also, he said, the 1936 Ford matched descriptions given deputies. A year after the Weckler girl's disappearance, Garity told the Daily Union he had met with Sennett for three hours and the inmate did not contradict the previous story that lie would not formally offer as a written confession. "That man just could not have told me things he did unless he had a part in the crime," Garity stated. "Sennett told me several things about that crime that we of the law enforcement agencies did not know ourselves." Garity said Sennett filled in unexplained details of the time schedule, and described the girl, her clothing, the farm driveway and other items which no one could have recounted from the closest reading of newspaper accounts. Sennett himself was convicted' of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Nov. 18, 1947. He was 22 and from Richland Center, and was paroled Dec. 15, 1974, after serving 27 years. At the time of his sentencing to that charge, former Dane County Judge Roy H. Proctor said that if Wisconsin had the death penalty, he would have no qualms in sentencing Sennett and Robert Winslow to the gas chamber, electric chair or hangman's noose. It. was while serving time for the murder that Sennett gave the confession to the Weckler abduction. Sennett and Winslow, who met in prison while the former was serving time for a schoolhouse burglary, picked up Carl Carlson, 25, and his 19-year-old sister-in-law, who were hitchiking on a Madison Street Nov. 14, 1947. Carlson had met his sister-in-law at the train depot but the train was late, so they missed their buy to Badger Village near Baraboo where Carlson, a World War 11 Navy veteran, his wife and their 2-year-old daughter lived. The two men offered to drive the pair to Badger Village; how ever, along the way, Sennett pulled out a revolver and shot Carlson. The men then repeatedly raped the woman, who escaped the next day. Sennett and Winslow were captured on a Clark County farm several days later. They pleaded guilty to rape, murder and kidnapping. More recently, in 1987, Sennett pleaded no contest to first degree sexual assault and was sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Outgamie County judge. The sentence is running consecutively to the life sentence. In that instance, Sennett, who moved to the Appleton area alter his parole, was originally charged with having sexual contact with a 9-year-old girl on a weekly basis during the summer of 1983 and with a 13-year-old girl in February 1986, all in Appleton. When the series of incidents in 1985 came to light, he was prosecuted on those charges. The 9-year-old girl told police that Sennett, who was residing with the girl's mother at the time of the offenses, threatened her with being forced to live in a foster home if she told her mother what was happening. By the way, Sennett was not the only man to confess to the Weckler kidnapping. In October 1954, Charles Edward McClelland, 25, who admitted to four other murders and was being tried in Nebraska for the death of a prison guard there, also said he was involved in the Weckler disappearance. He said the girl was strangled to death and that her body was buried near a creek bed in Illinois. The area was searched but no evidence was found. He claimed he and an accomplice came to southern Wisconsin in search of easy money via robbery and break-ins, and that they did not consider kidnapping Weckler until they saw her near the long driveway of the family farm. He said they lured her into the car with a promise of taking her to the circus and offering her a pony McClelland later said he made up the story when he read about the Weckler girl in an Omaha newspaper.
To: Wisconsin Department of Justice
Division of Criminal Investigation
123 W. Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53702
From: John Weckler
1200 Ranch Rd
Warsaw IN 46580
I'm doing some research on Georgia Jean Weckler, who kidnapped on May 1st 1947 in Ft Atkinson, from her driveway to her home around 3:00pm after school. From the saved Newspapers (The Wisconsin State Journal and Milwaukee Journal) and cut out articles that my mother saved. These
were the pictures of her in the paper at the time of her kidnapping.
Georgia Jean Weckler was 8 years old at the time.
She has 2 sisters, and a brother
Georgia and her sisters and brother had poliomyelitis hers being the worst, all recovered
This happened sometime after school around 3:30pm
½ mile off of Highway 12
She was reportedly getting the mail, and the picking some flowers
No mail found, which paper work from sales of cows and pigs should have arrived
Black 1936 Ford sedan was spotted it the area at the time (10min after she was last seen)
Another Black Ford and a Steel Gray car was also sought
No ransom note was ever found
Reward was up to $7,000 - $8,000
Governor, Madison and Milwaukee police offer cooperation
FBI was not involved (with missing mail?)
Missing farmhand sought in Pennsylvania
Elderly man was also sought
7 other suspects were being watched
2 other missing or kidnapped kids during this time frame
Reportedly she was burn in a field in the woods near Richland Center in the dugout hiding place of Buford Sennett (convicted murderer- rapist and confessed kidnaper)
The D.A. refuses to test ashes; some 4 months go by before testing is done
Sennet then confess that he and unidentified friend kidnapped her and gave her 2 sleeping pills, and he went home for the night, when he returned he found his friend gave her more pills which caused her death. They weighed her down and threw her off of the Blue River bridge into the Wisconsin River. This is the same site that another body was recovered. They drag and search the area, but nothing was found.
In 1954 Charles McClelland a murderer serving life in prison in Nebraska, said he and his accomplice kidnapped her for ransom, and took her to southern Illinois and was afraid to collect the ransom and killed her 4 days later. He said the buried her in a creek bottom off of county road east of US highway 51 and 2 miles south of DuQuoin. A search was done, but nothing wound be found due to the yearly flooding.
The other stories were she thrown in the Rock River, or the latest was she was buried in a wall.
If you can help me with any other information to this case or direct me to other sources about this case would be greatly appreciated. She was my 1st cousin on my dad's side and with all of the recent kidnappings made me think about this. I'm putting a small book together on her and just maybe find her, so she can have the proper burial.
STATE OF WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
JAMES E. DONTE Division of Criminal Investigation
AT17OR\EY GENERAL, James R. Warren. Administrator
Burneatta L. Bridge 17 West Main Street
Deputy Attorney General P.O. Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707-7857 608/266-1671
September 23, 2002
Mr. John Weckler
1200 Ranch Road
Warsaw IN 46580
Dear Mr. Weckler:
I have received your letter regarding the disappearance of your first cousin, Georgia Jean Weckler, from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, on May 1, 1947.
A search of our files at the Department of Justice indicates that the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) was not involved in investigating this disappearance.
If you have not already done so, I would suggest that you contact the Fort Atkinson Police Department and/or the Wisconsin State Historical Society to obtain any information they might have.
A general search of the web site for Madison Newspapers Inc. for any information regarding the disappearance of your cousin found one article, and I am attaching that link for your information. I suggest that you check further with Madison Newspapers Inc. as it is possible they would have more information.
James R. Warren, Administrator
Division of Criminal Investigation
Robbie R. Lowery, Director Special Assignments Bureau
Madison Newspapers@your service Page 1 of
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REPORT NOT CAUSE ENOUGH FOR EXHUMATION IN 1947 KILLING
Article 1 of 1 found.
Published in Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) on March 2, 1996
BYLINE: AP, State Journal staff
A man's claim that the body of a girl kidnapped in 1947 might be buried beneath a Delavan greenhouse doesn' provide enough evidence to justify further investigation, authorities said Friday.
Statements by Ed J. Lindloff of Delavan, don't make a clear link between the greenhouse and the abduction of year-old Georgia Jean Weckler of rural Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County Sheriff Orval Quamme said.
Georgia disappeared May 1, 1947, after a school bus dropped her off at the ... Click here for complete text article 1 (420 words).........
madison.com is operated by Madison Newspapers Inc., publishers of the Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, Agri-View and Apartment Showcase. All contents Copyright ©2001, Madison Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Since you are the one asking all the questions, I will address you with the answers--as well as I can.
The Weckler Farm as I knew it, was owned by Will & Albert Weckler-known as Weckler Bros.
Peter Weckler (father) died 1890 I believe, leaving the farm to Mary, his wife. My Dad Will, was 18 & Albert 16. Just when the two boys purchased the farm from their Mother, I do not know, but it may have been when Dad & Mother were married 1899. (Not sure about that, but it is when both kitchens were built on, making the house for 2 families.
In March 1928, Dad, Lloyd & I moved to town, leaving the farm to George & Elmer,partners. Albert still lived there until Elmer & Hattie married 1935?
At which time, Albert moved to town--on Riverside Dr.. He had a housekeeper for several years.
Elmer & Hattie then took over the south apartment for several years. I do not exactly remember how long before Elmer broke the partnership & went on his own, but believe Joyce & DeAnne were both born there on the farm, or while at the farm.
George took over the farm and got along with a hired man for awhile. Then Katherine married, and Neil Oestreich came into the family, & worked with George until his health gave out.
I hope you are finding some interesting things about the kidnapping from the old papers They are getting brittle, but hope readable.
It was pleasant and interesting to be with you visiting at the time we were down to see your Dad. Do come up this way and visit some of our family --get re-acquainted. I know what it's like to be the tail-end of a generation, but after all are grown up, we seem to fit in. Hope I have been of some help.
Georgia Jean Family Pictures
Flowers placed on alter and Family Grave site
Georgia Jean Weckler (colorized) 05/31/06
New Websites about Georgia Jean Weckler
Charley Project Home
Georgia Jean Weckler
Above: Weckler, circa 1947
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: May 1, 1947 from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Age: 8 years old Distinguishing Characteristics: Blonde hair, blue eyes.
Details of Disappearance
Weckler was last seen near her farm home in rural Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin at approximately 3:30 p.m. on May 1, 1947. A neighbor gave her a ride part of the way home from school, dropping her off at the entrance to the half-mile-long driveway leading up to her home. Weckler told the neighbor that she would go into the woods and pick some flowers for a May Day basket before going home.
The neighbor saw Weckler collect some letters from her family's mailbox and start walking up the driveway, but she never arrived at her house. She has never been heard from again and the mail she was carrying at the time of her disappearance has never been found.
Witnesses reported seeing a dark-colored 1936 Ford sedan in the vicinity that afternoon. The car vanished at the same time Weckler did, and tire tracks were found on the road. It was being driven by a blond man, 20 to 25 years old. This man is the prime suspect in Weckler's presumed abduction. He has never been identified, though many individuals were questioned over the years.
At first investigators believed Weckler had been kidnapped for ransom, as her father was a man of means. Days passed and no ransom demands were made, however. Authorities now believe Weckler was taken by a sexual predator.
Buford Sennett, a convicted murderer who had just started serving a life sentence in prison, confessed to Weckler's murder in the fall of 1947. He claimed that he and a companion he refused to name had kidnapped her for ransom purposes and given her some sleeping pills and she had accidentally overdosed and died. Sennett said he had tossed Weckler's remains into the Blue River near the town of Blue River, Wisconsin. A search of the river turned up no sign of Weckler, however. Sennett was never charged in connection with her case and police are not certain whether he was involved.
Weckler's case received additional attention ten years later, in 1957, when authorities in Plainfield, Wisconsin arrested Edward Theodore Gein for murdering a local female tavern keeper. A photograph of Gein is posted below this case summary. Investigators uncovered a gruesome scene at his farm which is still legendary; many body parts and items such as lampshades made from human skin were located. Almost all of them turned out to be from local cemeteries; Gein confessed only to the murders of two tavern keepers. He was declared insane and sent to a mental hospital, where he died in 1984.
Gein is considered a possible suspect in Weckler's disappearance and also in the disappearance of Evelyn Hartley, who was abducted from La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1953. Neither of them have ever been found. They do not fit the profile for Gein's known victims; both of the people he killed were middle-aged women. Gein also does not match the description of the man believed to be Weckler's abductor, but he did own a Ford.
Weckler's disappearance is no longer under investigation by police, but it continues to puzzle people.
Above: Edward Gein
The Crime Library
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.
Last updated April 11, 2004.
Charley Project Home
Case File 1727DFWI
Weckler, circa 1947
Georgia Jean Weckler
Missing since May 1, 1947 from Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County, Wisconsin
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Circumstances of Disappearance
Weckler was last seen at approximately 3:30 p.m. near her farm home in rural Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin on May 1, 1947. A neighbor gave her a ride part of the way home from school, dropping her off at the entrance to the half-mile-long driveway leading up to her home. Weckler told the neighbor that she would go into the woods and pick some flowers for a May Day basket before going home.
Georgia, a first-year 4H club member, reportedly "knew" the wood area and the possibility of her getting lost is, believed to be slim. The neighbor saw Weckler collect some letters from her family's mailbox and start walking up the driveway, but she never arrived at her house. She has never been heard from again and the mail she was carrying at the time of her disappearance has never been found.
Witnesses reported seeing a dark-colored 1936 Ford sedan in the
vicinity that afternoon. The car vanished at the same time Weckler
did, and tire tracks were found on the road. It was being driven by
a blond man, 20 to 25 years old. This man is the prime suspect in
Weckler's presumed abduction. He has
never been identified, though many individuals were questioned over
At first, investigators believed Weckler had been kidnapped for ransom, as her father was a man of means. Days passed and no ransom demands were made, however. Authorities now believe Weckler was taken by a sexual predator. Buford Sennett, a convicted murderer who had just started serving a life sentence in prison, confessed to Weckler's murder in the fall of 1947. He claimed that he and a companion he refused to name had kidnapped her for ransom purposes and given her some sleeping pills and she had accidentally overdosed and died. Sennett said he had tossed Weckler's remains into the Blue River near the town of Blue River, Wisconsin. A search of the river turned up no sign of Weckler, however. Sennett was never charged in connection with her case and police are not certain whether he was involved.
Weckler's case received additional attention ten years later, in 1957, when authorities in Plainfield, Wisconsin arrested Edward Theodore Gein for murdering a local female tavern keeper. Gein confessed only to the murders of two tavern keepers. He was declared insane and sent to a mental hospital, where he died in 1984. Gein is considered a possible suspect in Weckler's disappearance and also in the disappearance of Evelyn Hartley who was abducted from La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1953. Neither of them have ever been found. They do not fit the profile for Gein's known victims; both of the people he killed were middle-aged women. Gein also does not match the description of the man believed to be Weckler's abductor, but he did own a Ford.
Weckler's disappearance is no longer under investigation by police, but it continues to puzzle people.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
The Doe Network
The Crime Library
The Charley Project
John Weckler's Website
Case Added on: May 28, 2005
Georgia Jean Weckler-8 year old Missing Since 1947
I first heard of this case years and years ago and it is
finally on a missing persons
Thanks for the link to Georgia Jean
I don't thin Gein was invloved either
I agree, Richard. I don't think that Ed Gein was involved in the disappearances of Evelyn Hartley or Georgia Weckler. for the reasons you stated. I have read, though, that Gein was in LaCrosse(he was born and raised there) the night Evelyn was abducted. He was supposedly visiting an aunt who lived only 2 blocks away(not sure how accuarate that story is). And supposedly among the many body parts found at Geins's house were two vulvas that appeared to have come from young girls ,and newspapers about Evelyn's abuction were found in his home. At first, hearing this, makes one think, wow, maybe he did, but for some reason I still don't think he was invloved with Evelyn and Georgia. Maybe it just seems too simple? Any unsolved disappearance or murder around that time is often tied to Gein. He denied being invloved with their cases, for what that's worth.Of course, maybe he did do it, sometimes the answer to these cold cases is simple. But I still feel it wasn't him, I can't explain it. I doubt those female organs found in his home were saved, for maybe DNA could be used today. I wonder if Evelyn's siblings have ever submitted DNA. Not sure if Georgia has living relatives. Chances are she does somewhere. I don't think I ever read if she has siblings or not.
Speaking as the person who wrote up Georgia Weckler's case, I agree with you -- I seriously doubt Gein was involved. However, given as so many people suspect him, I felt I had to include a mention of him. Also, the mention of Gein might draw more attention to Georgia's disappearance -- she's not just another missing girl, she's a missing girl possibly connected to that creepy psycho. But I personally think Buford Sennett is a much more likely suspect.
Geogia Jean Weckler
Welcome to Websleuths, John and thank
you very very much for
posting and sharing with us your website. I am still
reading through it and I find it very interesting.
name was just a footnote in Ed
Gein books and it is so nice to finally be
able to read more about her and see pictures of her
and her family. My sympathies to you and your family
for having such a terrible thing happen and to go so
long with no answers. Georgia's case is one of
several that have haunted me ever since I first read
about her. I grew up a few blocks off of Route 12
but not near where Georgia vanished, and many years
later. I lived about an hour or so south on RT 12 in
News Report of the time...
Daily Jefferson County Union
It's been 59 years
Yesterday, May 1, marked 59 years since Georgia vanished from her driveway. There are some likely suspects though they have never been completely proven. Her body has never been found...wonder if this mystery will ever be solved. Please take a look at the site that has been created by her cousin. The link is in the post by Richard right above this post. Her cousin , John Weckler posted just once with the link a few posts up. Are you still out there John? We would be interested to hear more of your thoughts. Thanks for sharing the link with us.
Is Georgia Jane Doe?
It is VERY unlikely that Georgia could be Boulder Jane Doe, as there were 7 years separating Georgia's disappearance and Jane Doe's recently murdered body being found. But, abductions have happened, and people have been held against their will. One of the Boulder Jane Doe researchers would like John Weckler to take a look at www.boulderjanedoe.com, just in case.
Is Georgia Jane Doe?
It is unlikely that Georgia Weckler is Boulder Jane Doe..but I do see a slight resemblance and stranger things have happened. It's definitely worth checking out.
Georgia Jean Weckler 59 years later
I have been working on this a little more. I believe she dump in
River near the city / town of
River (CR133). Also that Sennett & McClelland with
the unidentified woman who took the police to a
hideout were all involed.
I would like to get a hold of the police records on
this from the Jefferson County Sheriffs office which
would hold more information. Even though this is not
being looked into the case is still open and those
records are some where. My current project is get
her picture colorized.
I have another website setup since I'm having trouble updating
the current one so just in case I created a second
site. This has the colorized picture of Georgia Jean
I just had done and maps with the locations I
believe she put.
Thank you John that's a very nice web site you was so kind to post for us..as allway's we feel you hurt too as we looking at each and every missing person board..feel more than welcome to come here on this site anytime you like ..if i can do anything for you just yell..
Colorized picture very lifelike...
Thanks for the updates, John. That colorized picture of
Georgia is quite haunting. It really "brings her to
life" It is just so real looking. I know it takes
time and money and easier said than done but I
wonder if it is possible to search that river near
the bridge. If she is in there, there could be
something still there, possibly buried in the river
bed. Though with it being a river she could have
been carried quite far away. Very frustrating. I
sure hope you find more answers. Are any of her
siblings still living? Thanks again and please keep
posting when you can.
joellegirl.....is right very nice colorized picture i think it's the best i ever seen from that time period..
Georgia Jean Weckler
All 3 are still living around Ft Atkinson, and Kate was the one where I got a good B&W picture of her. I just went and had it sent in to be colorized for that purpose. With all of the modern technology that is now available that could be used and the trained dogs could be used. If she is there in that area I think she would be along the banks and near where she was put. Since I don't that river or current flow it maybe not that strong, just a theory.
This is from the Court House Step Web site ( http://s2.excoboard.com/exco/index.php?boardid=15776)
1) Burford Sennett and Charles McCllelland mention in the articles have the similar stories that they were there but did not kill her, but would not say who
did. Both mention she was put in a river or creek. McCllelland's story was in a creek in southern Ill. and Sennett's was in the Wisconsin river. I discount
McCllelands story due to the time frame involved. He said she died on May 4th.
2) The unidentified woman was also involved. Since she was the one who lead the police to a hideout of Sennett's.
3) There were sightings of 2 men and a woman and a child? Could this be these 3?
4) Looking at the maps below, I believe she is in the Blue River outside of the city of Blue River and the above people were involved.