Sitting near the loading chute of the close pen was a stock truck. We asked
the four men to get in and head down the road, preceding us. Williams thought
by taking the boy with us we might be able to gain more information. About
halfway down the mountain we met a sedan. It was a one way road in heavy timber
and all three vehicles were forced to come to a stop. Seeing two women in the
car we asked the boy who they were. "Why," he said, "That's Mrs.
Garner." The second woman was later identified as a sister-in-law, Mrs.
Ralph Stevens. Mrs. Garner, recognizing the stock truck, a number of her
associates, and a state policeman in uniform, became, at this point, somewhat
agitated. Learning from Williams, who got out to question her that my name was
Dement, she expressed the wish to speak to me personally. Getting out hurriedly
and walking toward the car in which I was sitting, she began to shout that the
brand was not my brand, that my brand was a D slash. It developed later that
she was referring to the brand of another Dement but at this un-anticipated
stage of the game she saw fit to offer it as the first of a long and rather
laboriously contrived list of alibis. Prolonged discussion at the moment,
however, did not seem appropriate to either Williams or myself so she was put
under arrest and requested to reverse her direction and join the procession
back down the road. Disturbed as she was, she proved unable to turn the car
around and was finally given assistance by the officer. Driving on in to the
Sixes river store and post-office Williams called his sergeant at headquarters
in Coquille. He and two other officers arrived about forty minutes later.
After briefing Sergeant Eric Tucker on what had transpired, we decided to
leave one man in charge of the six under arrest, while the rest of us would
return and look for Loren Kerr and any others who might have been involved. We
also took with us, William White, the local brand inspector, to examine the
eight head of steers.
Arriving at the corral, Williams and I set out on foot to locate the house.
Following a trail thru the brush about 150 yards we found it. Two men appeared
on the porch as Williams called. The larger of the two gave his name as Loren
Kerr, the other, John Jett, a former husband of Mrs. Garner but employed now merely
as a hired hand. After divorcing Jett, she had married a much older man named
Lewis. He, after having spent the greater part of the previous winter alone on
the ranch was, thru sickness and neglect, eventually carried out to the
settlement by fraternal brothers and later sent east to either a lodge home or
a home with relatives.
Kerr and Jett were informed of the apprehension and arrest of their
companions and put under arrest. Shortly following, Williams, looking beyond
the house saw what appeared to be meat in a sack hanging from the limb of an
oak tree. Asking Kerr about it he was told "the boys had butchered."
We examined the contents of the sack and found about one-half of a hind quarter
of a fair sized beef. In the meantime Will White had taken complete
descriptions of the corralled steers and when his notes were finished, Kerr and
Jett along with the sack of beef, were put in the car and taken back to Sixes
with us. Up to the time of their appearance on the porch, incidentally, I had
no recollection of ever having seen either man. Interrogation by the officers
gained little information other than Kerr had bought cattle from Mrs. Garner
with no additional details. Jett said nothing at all.