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Welcome to Oaklandon Saturday, September 23 2017 @ 01:29 AM EDT

Case of Surl Fletcher

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Indianapolis News,Indianapolis, Marion County, 7 February 1903

Case of Surl Fletcher

Case of Surl Fletcher

Case of Surl Fletcher

Another case of good detective work is that of Surl Fletcher, a young man, who was sent to the penitentiary about six months ago on the charge of arson About three years ago Perry Apple, a farmer, living at Oaklandon, took part in a fight against establishing a saloon in that village. His barn was burned. There was no clew to the identity of the incendiary for nearly two years.

Fletcher was married to a young woman of good family, and because of his dissolute habits she left him and obtained a situation in Battle Creek, Mich., without letting him know of her whereabouts. Fletcher searched In vain for her. and he finally called on Captain Gerber and told him that his wife had burned the Apple bam. The case had been almost forgotten. Gerber listened to the mon's story and concluded correctly that Fletcher was the incendiary and that he was laying the blamee on his wife for leaving him

Fletcher said his wife obtained a horse and buggy one night, and asked him to drive with her to Oaklandon. She left him in the road, he said, and walked to the barn wtih a coal oil can. She returned within a few minutes and he saw the barn was burning. Fletcher claimed the woman did not tell him why she set fire to the place. CTaptaln Gerber and detectives Colbert and Hauser then set out on a quiet search for Mrs. Fletcher, and found her In Battle Creek. As a guise they told Fletcher she was in Grand Rapids, and Instructed him not to communicate with her. This was what Fletcher wanted, the whereabouts of his wife, and he took the first train for Grand Rapids, thinking to compel the Woman to again live with him under threat of being accused of arson.

In the meantime Mrs, Fletcher was brought here and she told her story. She said she drove to Apple’s barn with Fletcher, and that he set fire to the place. Fletcher was arrested and additional proof was secured against him. It was shown that he received money for burning the barn. The instigator of the crime was never arrested.

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