Exhaustion and Lack of Supplies Imel Pursuers to Leave Indian to escape – May Have Killed Himself

[Special to The Herald.]

SAN BERNARDINO, Oct. 9.—Exhausted from the lack of food and rest, their horsed starving, and no supplies within a radius of fifty miles, Sheriff John Ralphs, and his posse were forced yesterday to give up the hunt for Willie Boy, the Indian murderer, and, carrying the wounded officer, Charles Reche, shot through the hip, with half the men on foot, the start was made for civilization. The sheriff reached here at 8 o’clock in an automobile that picked up the local the first authentic report of the man the first authentic report of the man hunt and is now arranging to start a systematized expedition into the desert to capture the murderer. Reche, the injured deputy, was brought in ahead and now lies dangerously near death in the hospital.

With but four men at the scene of the battle, one seriously wounded and the balance of the posse under Sheriff Ralphs twenty-five miles distant, it was impossible to take the Indian, even though he was almost dead from hunger and exposure. Bearing the news of the battle, John Hyde, barely able to walk from injuries sustained in a fall down the mountain, stumbled into the sheriff’s camp long after sunset the day of the encounter, and although pressing on toward the scene of the fight and where his trailers were camped, the rest of the posse, which had become divided at day-break the next day after traveling all night without a guide, found the tracks of the murderer which lead towards the Bullion peak. Supporting Reche on a horse, the two parties met on the train, and after a conference it was decided to return and at once reorganize the hunt, Hyde and another member of the party were sent to Whitewater to telegraph for a physician.

Solitary Shot Heard

During the night following the battle, while the trailers were starting down the canyon, a solitary shot ‘rang out from the distant summit of the peak, and whether Willie Boy, deciding to take his life, shot himself to death, or, imagining that he saw an officer creeping on him, fired into the darkness, will not be known until the fresh posse reaches the scene next week. It is supposed he had but a few shells left, but it is not positively known how many he had, although if the last shot fired was from a few remaining cartridges it is probable it ended the life of the Indian murderer. It is now the intention to start wagons loaded with hay and other provisions to the various water holes and points in the vicinity of the country where Willie Boy is hiding, and with pack animals carrying supplies a picked posse of mounted men will be thrown into the field, and with supplies scattered throughout the desert the men can quickly move from place to place following the tracks of the fugitive without the necessity of turning back for food and water for both men and horses.

The progress of the murderer as he doubled back and forth among the water holes and peaks was wonderful. Infrequent instances it was found where he had run from ten to twenty miles when hard pressed by the men. He is without a coat and shoeless and the cold nights will weaken his system.

Bringing Deputy Sheriff Reche, badly wounded in the battle with the murderer, Dr. H. W. Mills arrived in this city this morning and immediately rushed the injured officer to the Marlborough hospital, where an operation disclosed the fact he was much more seriously wounded than was at first thought. The bullet from the fugitive’s gun in entering made but a small wound, but flattened on striking the left hip bone, a portion of the lead continuing, splintering the base of the spine. Both pieces of the bullet have been removed and several splinters of bone from the hop and spine. Dr. Mills states that although the injured officer is dangerously wounded he will recover. For six hours the injured officer lay in the sun where he had fallen when shot by the murderer from his garrison on the summit of the rugged peak, and every effort of his comrades to removed him was frustrated by the Indian, who continually maintained watch, firing at the men whenever they exposed themselves from behind the boulders behind which they dropped under the deadly fire of the murderer.

Physician Meets Wounded Man

Dr. Mills, hurrying to the scene of the battle to render aid to the injured, met the posse carrying Reche between Warren ranch and Warren wells. The injured officer was taken by the surgeon to the ranch house, where a temporary dressing of the wound was made, and he was then hurried to Whitewater, forty-five miles distant in the automobile, and at this point a Southern Pacific train was flagged and the physician and the injured man brought on to the city. They were all night in reaching the railroad.

The posse, made up of militamen with government rifles and Sheriff Wilson of Riverside, which went forward from this city yesterday afternoon to relieve the wornout officers who have been continuously in the field for over a week, was stranded during the night near Whitewater, where the automobile was broken down, and the members of the arty were forced to return, but intend to leave here again, possible Tuesday, when the reorganization of the posses has been effected under the direction of Sheriff Ralphs, when a systemized expedition will go into the desert to run the Indian to earth.

Willie Boy is believed to be on the verge of exhaustion, and for days the officers have pressed him so closely that is was impossible for him to secure but scant food during the course of his flight upon the bleak ad desolute hills of the desert. At several points in the course of his flight Willie Boy devoured desert lizards in an effort to satisfy his hunger.

Oct. 10, 1909 - Los Angeles Herald article clipping