Home This Day in History LMUD Presents: This Day in Susanville History – October 2, 1936

LMUD Presents: This Day in Susanville History – October 2, 1936


Slain Veteran Found In Lassen
After Bonus Paid ‘Widow,’ Former Soldier Located
October 2, 1936

Jesse Owen Gifford 45, former South Pittsburgh Teen, war veteran reported murdered eight years ago, tonight explained his mysterious disappearance by saying “something scared me at the time.”

Clifford, employed as a truck driver for a Susanville cement contractor for the last two years, said he had not heard from his wife or two children since he left Tennessee, but added he would not go back to her.

Wife Collects
He learned last week through the veterans’ administration in Washington that his wife had applied for and obtained his soldier’s bonus and said he was going to collect it from her. “I have always been a lone wolf,” Clifford told the United Press. “I have never told anyone anything about my affairs, but I will tell you that there is a good reason for what I did.”

Until his brother, Henry arrives from Tennessee, Gifford said, “the inside story,” of his disappearance would remain secret.

Withholds Details
“Something scared me at the time,” he explained, “and I just dropped out of sight. I have nothing to hide.”

Gifford refused to reveal the details of the alleged murder that covered up his disappearance but emphasized that his conscience was clear. He would not tell what he had been doing since he came here two years ago.

“I haven’t heard from my wife and I do not know what she has been doing,” he asserted. “I certainly am not going back to her. Somebody is going to be worried about this bonus, for I am going to collect it.”

Retains Attorney
He retained Ciel Georgetta, Reno attorney, to represent him in his efforts to obtain the bonus.

Since his accident in Reno on July 4 when he was struck by a taxicab, Gifford has been laid up with a broken right leg.

Gifford’s identity was revealed when he applied at the Susanville postoffice to claim his bonus a few weeks ago and obtain money to pay his medical bills.

He told associates in his work here he and his wife had had trouble several years ago. He added he had brooded and became sick, deciding to disappear. He said he had been declared legally dead.

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