Saturday, November 27, 2010

1930 Custody Kidnapping

The "Sidell" name was well-known in the 1920s and forward, mostly because of their hardware and implement store in what used to be called the Palmerton block. In later years, a plaque would be installed on the building, renaming it the Sidell block. In addition to the family having a storefront in Fowlerville, there was also Deputy Sam Sidell. The following article, published in The Fowlerville Review, gave a recount of one of his arrests:

Detroit Kidnapper Arrested Here by Deputy Sam Sidell~~Was Shell-Shocked Canadian Veteran, Stole Boys From Their Mother~~Joseph Coughlin, aged 37, was arrested in Fowlerville Saturday evening by Deputy Sheriff Sam Sidell, who recognized him and two small boys with him from descriptions broadcast over the radio. He was taken to Howell where officers came from Detroit, accompanied by Coughlin’s estranged wife and mother of the children, and took him to that city and turned him over to immigration officers Monday for deportation to Canada.

Coughlin was a Canadian veteran in the world war and suffered from shell shock. Because of his mental condition, he had been confined for two years at Westminster hospital, London, Ontario. He is a Canadian by birth but his wife, from whom he has been separated for some time, is an American.

Mrs. Coughlin lives at 110 Eliot street, Detroit, in a basement apartment. Saturday afternoon, she left their two children, Jackie, 6 years old and Jimmie, 4, on the back porch while she went to get them some ice cream. When she returned, the boys were gone.

She reported to the police at once and stated that her estranged husband had threatened several times to drown the boys. It developed that he had been watching the apartment and when the mother left the boys alone for a few minutes, he kidnapped them. Detroit police immediately dispatched all available scout cars to guard streets leading to the water fronts and broadcast the kidnapping over the radio.

Earlier in the day, Coughlin had appeared at the apartment at 110 Eliot street, had beaten Mrs. Coughlin, taken $24 from her and again threatened to drown the boys.

Deputy Sidell saw the man with the two small boys just as he was leaving Fowlerville Saturday evening and recognized him from the description broadcast. He questioned the man and his answers were not coherent. He acted irrational and his bearing confirmed the deputy’s suspicion that the man was Coughlin so he took him to Howell to await action by the Detroit officers.

Coughlin has a sister, Mrs. George Dormire, living one mile west and one and one-half miles south of this village, but he had not been near her place yet when picked up by Officer Sidell.

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