In February of 1928 the headless corpse of a small boy was discovered in a ditch in Puente, California. When two more Mexican boys, brothers aged eight and ten, went missing later that spring, investigators soon focused on Gordon Northcott. The ranchowner from Riverside made his guilt obvious by immediately fleeing to Canada. Police found the head of the boy found in Puente during their search of Northcott’s isolated home and soon arrested his teenaged nephew and his mother, Sarah, both of whom admitted assisting Northcott with the crimes.
Found and extradited back to the US, Northcott went to trial with his nephew as the star witness. The boy told the court how his uncle had sexually abused his victims and then beat them to death. Northcott defended himself and for some reason refused to plead any kind of insanity defense despite two psychiatrist’s opinion that he was mentally deranged. Subsequently found guilty, the child-killer was sentenced to death and hung on October 2, 1930.
Northcott’s nephew was set free in exchange for his testimony while Northcott’s mother, Sarah, was sentenced to life for assisting in one of the murders. Northcott eventually broke down just before his death and claimed to have murdered twenty little boys, though it should be noted that he had made several similar statements proved to be false.