Bizarre Story of Illinois Boy Taken By Police In 1928 To Replace Missing L.A. Boy
Without a doubt, this has to be one of the weirdest stories I've ever heard when it comes to missing persons. Obviously, whenever a child is missing and never found, there can be no greater tragedy, but this story that I stumbled upon has my mind on a roller coaster of confusion.
It all starts in 1928 when a kid named Walter Collins went missing while he was on his way to the movie theatre. He was apparently never seen after he left the house and for weeks the search continued.
Fast forward five months later and all the way in Illinois, there is a boy by the name of Arthur Hutchens who had allegedly been told he looked like the missing boy by someone after running away from home. In the hopes of making it to Hollywood, he alleged he was the missing child. Now, if you think the story is weird already, get ready for this next psychotic part as told by the L.A. Times...
Walter's mother knew immediately that the child was not hers and how did the fuzz respond? They told her to "TRY THE BOY OUT" which she actually did for three weeks. Then when she could no longer fool herself and returned to the police, LAPD Capt. J.J. Jones called her a liar and a fool and threw her into the psychiatric hospital:
“What are you trying to do, make fools out of us all? Or are you trying to shirk your duty as a mother and have the state provide for your son? You are the most cruel-hearted woman I’ve ever known. You are a . . . fool!” Resolved to bend her to his will--and the department’s convenience--Jones had the distraught mother committed to Los Angeles County General Hospital’s psychiatric ward for evaluation. While she spent five days in the hospital, Jones extracted the truth from the faux Walter.
It turns out the boy was not even from Illinois but from Iowa, and after running away he just worked odd jobs around the country. Sadly for her, the case of her missing son was never solved. Even the convicted killers, Gordon Northcott, and his mother, who were charged with the crime gave conflicting confessions.
The mother admitted to the murder of the boy while Gordon, on the night before his execution, told the boy's mother he was innocent and knew nothing. The boy's body has never been discovered.