While Sgt. Miller ran down the Draper accusations, Sgt. Stogsdill tracked yet another suspect. Haines, Alaska, police arrested a man in early October 1982 by the name of Gordon Scott. He broke into a church and stole some groceries. What was remarkable, however, was his strong resemblance to the composite drawn by Jan Kittleson.
And that wasn’t all. When he was arrested, Scott had in his possession a baby blanket, a diving knife and a couple of other things that could have come from the Investor. Not only that, but Scott apparently had relatives in the Blaine and Bellingham area. These relatives, they learned, were acquainted with the Coulthursts.
When troopers found Gordon Scott in the Juneau jail, he looked like the Jan Kittleson composite, all right. But he differed from the description of the skiff operator in at least one important respect. Scott was 6’3″ tall and weighed 190 pounds. The skiffman’s description centered more on a suspect that was 5’10” and 150 pounds.
Interviews in Juneau, moreover, revealed Scott’s whereabouts during the crucial period in question. A friend who stayed with him at the Glory Hole — a homeless shelter in Juneau, now renamed the Glory Hall — indicated Scott worked briefly for a cab company during that period.
Bank records showed that Scott opened an account at the Juneau branch of the First National Bank of Alaska on Friday, September 3rd. He deposited something like $60.00. And withdrew some of that same money on Tuesday, September 7th. Bank employees remembered him well. Scott was a distinctive individual. And boisterous. They’d seen him in the bank several times since then.
Although not impossible, it seemed unlikely that Gordon Scott was in Craig during the time of the Investor murders. More likely, he was in Juneau, 300 miles to the north. It was a dead end. Another dead end.
Excerpts from the unpublished original manuscript, “Sailor Take Warning,” by Leland E. Hale. That manuscript, started in 1992 and based on court records from the Alaska State Archive, served as the basis for “What Happened in Craig.”
Copyright Leland E. Hale (2019). All rights reserved.