Chapter Four: The Coburn Mystery [Original Draft]

Now Wally became a murder suspect. Two sheriff’s guards took him into custody and on June 4, 1919 he took his first automobile ride.

Sarah had never allowed the “uncontrollable boy” to ride in a horse and carriage–and he had never seen the inside of a car. Instead he took daily walks with Mrs. Quilla, who held his hand tightly–the rest of the time he was confined to the house.

The decision was made to put Wally under 24-hours observation at Gardiner’s Sanitarium in Belmont, once the elegant home of famous banker William Ralston. On the opposite side of the mountain, an hour by automobile, Gardiner’s was a world away from Pescadero.

[While at Gardiner’s Sanitarium, employees told police, and the Redwood City Standard reported that Wally repeatedly muttered, “threats against a well known resident of the Coastside.” The Chronicle repeated the story and added that the name sounded like “Ryan” but nobody knew a “Ryan.”


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