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On December 24th, 1945, the Sodder family had a house fire that officials claimed was accidental. The fire had presumably claimed the lives of five of nine children even though no physical evidence was found of their remains. The coroner's office had ruled the fire as accidental due to faulty wiring but Jennie had seen lights on during the fire. This means that if the fire was truly because of faulty wiring, there would have been no electricity that could have been on, thus meaning the fire was not accidental because of the lights on inside the house. One part that is sketchy about the whole thing with the kids going missing is the fact that when the neighbors called the fire station there was no reply. When the fire department was alerted by a neighbor, around 2:30 AM, they did not arrive to the Sodder house until around 8 AM. The house was two and a half miles away from the fire station.
During the fire, George tried to go back in to save the children that was stuck in the attic. The stairs were on fire so he decided to go outside and grab a latter to go through the window. Coincidentally the latter was missing from its usual spot. He then decided to use one of his trucks to climb up and into the attic but although both trucks worked perfectly fine the day before, they seemed as though they did not want to start. The family then had to sit there and wait for the fire department to come. During the investigation to find the remains of the children, nothing was found and they put it off as the fire was too hot and ended up cremating the children. “An employee of a local crematorium she contacted told her that human bones remain even after bodies are burned at 2,000 °F (1,090 °C) for two hours.” The fire burned too cold and too short for this to happen. Not only that, if in an official crematorium, bones are still left behind, so then why was there no bones left of the children? I mean Jennie said when they sifted through the remains of the house, that appliances were still clearly seen though heavily burned. Thus meaning at least something of the children should have been found. Throughout the night there were no reports of any burning flesh or screams coming from the attic.
When conducting the interviews about the fire it became known that the family members were all Italian immigrants. George Sodder had openly expressed his views on Mussolini and how he opposed him. A few weeks before the house fire, a salesman for life insurance came knocking on their door and when he realized that George was not going to listen, he claimed, “Your goddamn house is going up in smoke,” he warned, “and your children are going to be destroyed. You are going to be paid for the dirty remarks you have been making about Mussolini.”
This is weird, considering this very thing ended up happening. On the same day as the fire, an eyewitness claimed they saw the children in the back of a car. On Christmas, another eyewitness claimed they saw the kids and tried to talk to them but the people that had the kids would not let the woman get close enough to talk to them. According to the eyewitnesses, there were two women and two men that were watching over the kids.
While investigating, policemen told the family their telephone wires were not burned after all. They were cut. During the night of the fire, Jennie stated how she heard something bump against the roof of the house. It was a pineapple bomb used in warfare. But for some reason, it did not go off that night.
In 1967, Jennie got sent a photo of what looks like Louis but obviously older. On the back wrote, “Louis Sodder. I love brother Frankie. Ilil Boys. A90132 or 35.” They hired a private investigator after this photo came to their possession. But he never returned from Kentucky and no one knows what happened to him after that. The parents ended up dying before they could really figure out what happened to their children. Many theories came around surrounding the family and what had happened. Many theories ranged from the Italian mafia getting back at the Sodder family. Others from Mussolini himself sent a party to kill the family.
The case of the missing kids is still unsolved. It was very likely they had escaped that fire somehow because even if the fire killed them, it burned too slow for it to fully cremate their bones. The police or investigators would have found something regarding the children. The theory that they were kidnapped makes the most sense though. Someone had to have cut their phone lines, tampered with the trucks, hidden the ladder. It makes no sense that these children would have just vanished in thin air.
Statistics have shown that out of all the missing children that go reported, only 115 do not ever return. Going along with this evidence, it still does not make sense that these children would never have been seen again.
During a “newer investigation” the site of the fire was dug up and human vertebrate was found at the scene. This almost had convinced the family that the children did truly die in the fire. But, the bones belonged to someone who was around 22 and the oldest child missing from the fire was 14.
Another odd thing about this is that someone had claimed to talk to two of the children twenty years after the fire. But, when George drove down to Texas to try and talk to the men, they refused to talk to him. This same thing happened a few years before when he saw a dancer that resembled one of his lost daughters.
No one ever found out what happened to the five missing Sodder children. As of today Sylvia, the youngest who escaped, is the only one that is still alive. There is a high chance that the children truly were kidnapped and the fire was a setup. But if it turns out all along that new evidence was found of the children dying in the fire, I would be very surprised.