Jessica Gutierrez was taken by “the man with the magic hat and the beard,” according to her sister.
The 4-year-old was kidnapped from her bed on June 6, 1986, in South Carolina. Her sister, Becky, told authorities that “the man with the magic hat and the beard took her last night,” as their mom frantically searched their home.
“I need to find my daughter,” Gutierrez’s mother, now 60, told The State in 2017. “I don’t know how much time I have left.”
The Sodder family home caught fire in 1945 and four of their children escaped. The other five were never found.
On Christmas Eve 1945, a fire broke out at the Sodder home. Of their nine children, four escaped. The house burned down completely before the fire was able to be put out, and the other five children were nowhere to be found — not even teeth were able to be salvaged.
The fire chief at the time concluded that the fire had been hot enough to melt bone, and death certificates were issued, but that claim has been challenged over the years. Other theories claim that the Sodders were the target of organized crime, that the fire had been set intentionally, and that the ladder that was usually propped up against their home had been stolen.
Years later, Jennie, the Sodder matriarch, received a photo in the mail captioned “Louis Sodder,” one of her sons who had been ruled dead. He was nine years old at the time of the fire.
The living Sodders maintain that their siblings did not die in the fire, and that something suspicious went down that Christmas Eve.