Sketch of the Pig Man
|Victims||13 confirmed dead, 1 injured, possibly 15-21 total dead (claimed to have killed 40)|
Span of crimes
The murders began when 21-year old Julia Albright was reported missing by her family on August 11, 1936 in Juno. Though her body was never found, her disappearance came just two months before two sets of double murders occurred within two days of each other between October 31 and November 2, 1936 in the same town. In the latter set, a father and son were found decapitated in their own home alongside the corpse of a pig. The murders caused panic in the community of Juno and nearby towns, and led to an increase of gun sales throughout Eastern Plumas. Over a year later, after no more incidents, an anonymous letter was sent by someone claiming responsibility for all of the murders, including Albright's disappearance. They confirmed that they were the Pig Man and stated their intention to resume killing people for "thrilling sport". Between January and March of that year, the Pig Man carried out a series of additional murders, before carrying out their final act by killing a family of 3 in the neighboring town of Dappe. Numerous copycat killers emerged following the Pig Man's inactivity, with most of them caught, with none of the copycats being identified as the Pig Man.
Although law enforcement and private investigators have assembled a list of suspects, none have ever been conclusively linked with or identified as the Pig Man. According to the Royal Bureau of Investigation, not even the sex of the killer can be conclusively identified. There is also speculation that there was more than one perpetrator who participated in the murders. The case remains open in the Township of Juno and the Sutter County Sheriff's Department, while the Plumas Department of Justice has maintained an open case on the murders since 1936.
The Pig Man and their associated murders have gained infamy in Sierra and has been the subject matter of various Sierran cultural works in film, television, literature, and the Internet. Between the 1960s and 1980s, there was a number of Pig Man copycat serial killings in other parts of Sierra and Anglo-America although none are believed to have any connection with the original Pig Man murders.
On August 11, 1936, Julia Albright, a 21-year old Juno resident, was reported missing by her family. She was purportedly visiting her boyfriend, Rodney Garlock, who lived in Dappe, and was seen traveling into a thick part of the woods by two witnesses at around 6:45 pm. However, she never arrived to Garlock's home, and when Garlock called the Albright family at around 10, inquiring her whereabouts. When it is was apparent she was in neither houses, the Albrights called the police to file a missing person report. A search party was dispatched immediately while the police investigated. Garlock was interrogated as a potential suspect but was released when he produced the alibi that he was bedridden that entire evening due to a flu, a reason why Albright was visiting him in the first place. By the end of August, the Sutter County Sheriff declared that Albright ran away, and the investigation inconclusive.
Two months later, in October 30, both Jim Reynolds, 18, and Sarah McRaleigh, 17, were reported missing. The two were both Juno residents and were dating each other, and were also reported missing in the late evening by both families. McRaleigh's parents had not known that their daughter was dating Reynolds and initially believed that Reynolds had kidnapped her. Investigators once again tried to locate the young couple, and found McRaleigh's bow by Persimmon Creek. There were a few droplets of blood on some rocks near the creek, which forensic investigators later confirmed were of Reynold's, suggesting that he was running from something, and scraped his knee or leg. Following down a possible path the couple took that led to an impassable part of the woods, the police decided to set up a perimeter of 5-miles each around the area.
While the investigation on Reynolds and McRaleigh's disappearances were ongoing, a double murder case was reported on November 2, in a home 3 miles north of Juno. 41-year old Angus Birch and his 19-year old son, Conner, were killed in their living room. Angus' wife, Shirley, and her daughter Abagail, arrived home discovering both of victims' dead from shotgun wounds in the abdomen. Their bodies were decapitated and their heads were nowhere to be found. Police later discovered the corpse of a pig in the master bedroom, and a message written on the wall in the pig's blood stating, "NOT THE LAST ONE".
In light of these murders, the Sutter County Sheriff deemed it was plausible that the Garlock and Reynolds-McRaleigh cases were connected to the same killer, who was called the "Pig Man", and were to be treated as murder investigations. News quickly got out, and national media declared that the disappearances were also indeed murders. The San Francisco Herald-Examiner declared "MURDERS ROCK SMALL TOWN; PIG MAN KILLER STILL ON THE LOOSE". Gun sales increased immediately in eastern Plumas, after the murder, and news of suspected murders, and the Juno Town Board declared a curfew starting at 10 pm, and advised businesses to close earlier in the evenings, during the duration of the investigations.
A week after the Birch men's murders, the police made a startling discovery in the Exeter Cave, which had been largely forgotten to exist by Juno residents for decades. The cave had been obstructed by excessive forest growth, making visibility of the cave, and consequently, its entrance, quite difficult. Blood hounds who were released months earlier for the search of Garlock, Reynolds, and McRaleigh, kept leading to the area before the cave, but were initially ignored as the carcasses of pigs were found, which police believed was responsible for the hounds' discovery. However, when the hounds were once again pointed to the area, and an investigator discovered that old maps confirmed the existence of the cave, local Juno loggers cut down a third of a mile of the cave, revealing the cave. Police observed that the cave was covered in thick moss, and the only passageway into the cave's small cavern system was steep and only about 8-feet tall, and a little more than two feet wide. The cave descended to the main room which had an underground river and led to four smaller rooms. One of the rooms contained the bodies of Garlock, Reynolds, and McRaleigh, whose bodies were rotting and brutally bludgeoned, along with the heads of the Birch men.
The police came to the conclusion that all of the victims were killed by the same perpetrator, or perpetrators, and began adopting the media-given name, "Pig Man" for the killer. Over the months, reports of suspicious activity and false leads produced no progress on finding Pig Man. After a year passed without incident, the cases were still left open, but dropped from active investigation.
In January 1938, the Juno Gazette published a letter sent by an anonymous source who claimed that they were the Pig Man responsible for the murders two years back. The Pig Man expressed their pleasure in killing people, believing it was a "thrilling sport", and warned that they were planning to claim more victims. The publication placed the Sutter County Sheriff's Department on high alert, and advised, but did not enforce a curfew. On January 18, 17-year old Kevin Paul, a noted juvenile delinquent and orphan, was found carrying a dead piglet for a prank at around 3:43 pm in a secluded hike trail west of Juno near Exeter Cave by an off-duty officer. Paul was interrogated, and but police later deemed that Paul was not guilty of any active crimes, nor was he the Pig Man, but was assigned a juvenile supervisor to monitor the young man's activity. The police feared the possibility of copycats who wanted to imitate the Pig Man. Paul's incident caused a stir in local news, but on February 4, Paul and his supervisor, James Frazier, 48, were found dead near a campground by local hikers. Dead pigs were laid around the two's bodies and a letter was found nailed to Paul's heart. Signed by the Pig Man, they chastised anyone who dared imitate them in their acts, and swore to murder anyone who directed a challenge against them, and labeled the police as potential victims.
The Pig Man struck again, killing two 15-year old girls, Rachel Gibson and Jenny Monroe, on the evening of February 12, with witnesses claiming to have seen a masked man of medium build stalking the girls who were playing hopscotch by a wooded park. One of the witnesses stated that he lurked about in the thick vegetation, and that when the witness warned the girls to leave the area, and stalker fired two rounds, instantly killing the girls as they ran. The man also fired shots at the witnesses, although deliberately missed them, and then fled from the scene.
Once again, police failed to find or capture the Pig Man, and another year passed without incident before they struck again on March 4, 1939, killing a family of 3 in Dappe, the town over. After another inconclusive investigation, police believed that murders since then which were executed in the same fashion as the killer were copycats, with all such individuals caught by the local authorities. Various theories have arisen as to who the killer was, and even the gender of the Pig Man has never accurately been ascertained, despite multiple claims that the killer was indeed a male. There has also been theories suggesting that there was more than one individual responsible for the murders, theories which have been taken into consideration, but unconfirmed by the police. The official investigation on finding the Pig Man remains open as of September 2016.