It Is Now Fight to Finish In Manhunt on the Desert



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.


Sheriff Ralphs Plans a Hunt For Outlaw that Will Be to a Finish

If the necessary horses can be obtained, Sheriff J. C. Ralphs and Deputy Sheriff George F. Hewins will leave tomorrow at the head of a posse composing between 30 and 40 men for the final campaign against Willie Boy. Yesterday the Board of Supervisors were in closed session for some time with Sheriff Ralphs, when the matter of sending out a well-equipped force against the outlaw was discussed in all its phases, the supervisors, realizing the absolute necessity of disposing of the murderous outlaw as quickly as possible, and with.their endorsement, the sheriff has commenced the preparations.

The main obstacle so far experienced has been in obtaining saddle and pack animals. The horses which are chosen must be accustomed to desert and mountain work and used to being staked out. The sheriff had secured seven acceptable animals up to yesterday afternoon, while others are being recuited at Banning and Riverside.


The plan now is to have one posse, probably headed by the sheriff, leave San Bernardino, and enter the desert country by way of Bear Valley, while Deputy Sheriff George Hewins will take charge of the second posse, and may reach the desert by way of Victorville, while the third crowd will be pushed through the Whitewater, the three posses uniting about the granite peak where Willie Boy ambushed the officers last Thursday.

Yesterday tons of hay, barley and provisions were sent forward from Victorville and Banning. From Victorville supplies are being hauled to Old Woman’s Springs and Rose mine, and points this way from the fugitive’s hideout, while from Banning, Warren Wells, The Pipes, and that locality are being provisioned. From these various bases of supply the pack animals will receive their loads, and will follow the officers, keeping the camp, made each night, in provisions. This will eliminate the discouraging necessity of the officers traveling back each night 20 miles or more to a supply station.

Experience Men Enlisted.

The men who go along will not only be hardened to go long-distance riding, but men who can put up with the greatest inconveniences and hardships. They will be riflemen, and there will be high power rifles enough to wipe out a Japanese army if such were cornered with granite peaks behind them. Another accession will be long distance field glasses, which are capable of picking out an object the size of a man’s head miles away, even by moonlight.

By the aid of these glasses it is expected that the Indian can be located at a distance, and when the spot is marked out a rain of lead will soon be hissing in that direction, the chances of the outlaw’s dodging being highly improbable, and the disastrous ambush of Thursday will hardly be repeated.

With every man of the party mounted the entire posse will be able to keep up with the trailers. The chase of the last two weeks was handicapped as the foot officers were always left far in the rear.

Chance For Battle.

If Willie Boy has not committed suicide that chance for another battle seems good. Word was received yesterday that he has a can of smokeless powder, lead sufficient to make 600 bullets, and a full outfit for making his bullets and loading the shells, if this is so he can hold out for some time, and make things exceedingly interesting for a time.

But the belief that the outlaw has died at his own hands is strongly held by Indians, they are of the opinion that he was wounded by Segundo Chino, in last Thursday’s brush, and believing himself  surrounded committed suicide to escape capture, it is said that an Indian will fight so long as his courage holds out, but this gone he collapses, and it is believed that is what has happened to Willie Boy. May Have Suicided. In the fight Thursday Segundo Chino, the trailer, was able to crawl among the rocks until he could observe a crevice above from which the firing of the outlaw seemed to proceed, led and that he rained several shots into that crevice. After that nothing was heard of the Piute until the lone shot rang out in the dead of night. That shot signalled the suicide of Willie Boy is the belief of the Indians.

It Is Now Fight to Finish In Manhunt on the Desert


The condition of Deputy Sheriff Carles Reche, who was wounded by Willie Boy, in the brush with the outlaw at Granite peak last Thursday afternoon, is not encouraging.. Yesterday Dr. H. W. Mills, who is attending the wounded man, stated that his condition was “about the same,” but that septic conditions had developed. Dr. Mills regards the wounded officer’s condition as very serious.


Rumor Has It that Trailers of Indian Made Quiet Get-Away Last Night

A number of officers left last night for Willie’s Boy’s fortress among the granite peaks near Bullion mountain. The granite peaks near Bullion mountain. The personnel of last night’s cavalcade could not be obtained, but it is stated they expect to reach the anticipated battlegrounds at break of dawn Wednesday, once proceed to locate the outlaw. It is expected the balance of the posse under Sheriff Ralphs will leave this city tonight, guided by Segundo Chino.

Bright and early this morning a posse of 15 mounted officers will leave Banning under Indian Marshal DeCrevecoeur. From Riverside comes the statement that these officers are being pushed to join them and head the posse personally. Sheriff Ralphs and Sheriff Willson will cooperate, and both Riverside and San Bernardino will divide the expense of all expeditions sent out after the outlaw.

Newspaper Men to Front.

A big force of newspaper men secured horsed and outfits at Banning yesterday, and many have gone on in advance of the officers, while some went through last night on the Santa Fe overland to Victorville to leave from there. They expected to get away before daylight. They represent all the large dailies in the country and one or two of the big eastern weeklies and monthlies


Willie Boy’s outbreak is a temperance lesson written in blood and agony, according to Indian Marshal Ben DeCrevecoeur. He has made a thorough investigation of the murder of old Mike Boniface, and attributes the slaying of the old Indian by Willie Boy to whiskey, which a chum, a while youth, purchased at San Bernardino on the Saturday before the killing.

The youth is employed on the Gilmore ranch. He and Willie Boy became such firm friends that they slept in the same bunk house together. That Saturday the youth came to San Bernardino to attend Ringling Bros., circus. He returned to Banning with a grip well stocked with wet goods. His mother found the liquor and concealed it, but at his urging gave him a couple of flasks of the whiskey and a bottle of beer. He took the fire water to the bunk house, and Willie Boy was not long in connecting with the whiskey. The youth denied that he bought the liquor with the idea of sharing it with the Indian, but his protestations are not credited.

Fired With Liquor.

It was Sunday afternoon that the youth’s mother relented, and turned a portion of the liquor to her son, that night Willie Boy became fired with liquor. He slipped off his shoes, and stealthily creeping upon the sleeping family of Mike Boniface, approaching within three feet, and firing into the old Indian’s eye. The latter’s wife grappled with the assailant, but he broke her grip on the rifle, and throwing the girl, Isoleta, a gaudy silk handkerchief and a pair of brilliant garters, which he had bought for her at a Banning store the day before he ordered her to follow him. Thus commenced the career of crime which has shocked the entire country.

Planned Kidnapping. It is known that for many weeks Willie Boy had planned to kidnap the young squaw, and had been working steadily and saving his money for this purpose, but the officers at Banning do not believe that he plotted the murder of her father, this tragedy having been the result of a brain unhinged by liquor.

Oct. 12, 1909 - The San Bernardino County Sun article clipping