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Question about IN COLD BLOOD—why didn’t the hired man hear the gunshots? Or did he?

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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 09:38 AM
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Question about IN COLD BLOOD—why didn’t the hired man hear the gunshots? Or did he?
The Clutter family was killed with a 12-gauge shotgun. Law enforcement officials wondered why the hired man and his family didn’t hear the shots.

From IN COLD BLOOD:

(Larry Hendricks, a Holcomb, KS resident who goes to the Clutter house right after the murders are discovered, relates: )

Outside, on the lawn, I saw the under-sheriff talking to a man—Alfred Stoecklein, the hired man. Seems Stoecklein lived not a hundred yards from the Clutter house, with nothing between his place and theirs except a barn. But he was saying as to how he hadn’t heard a sound—said, ‘I didn’t know a thing about it till five minutes ago, when one of my kids come running in and told us the sheriff was here. The Missis and me, we didn’t sleep two hours last night, was up and down the whole time, on account of we got a sick baby. But the only thing we heard, about ten-thirty, quarter to eleven, I heard a car drive away, and I made the remark to Missis, “There goes Bob Rupp.” ’

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1965/09/25/1965_09_25_...

(Alfred Stoecklein said, as to why they didn’t hear the shots :)

For one thing, the wind. A west wind, like it was, would carry the sound t'other way. Another thing, there's that big milo barn 'tween ... That old barn 'ud soak up a lotta racket ' fore it reached us.

(From IN COLD BLOOD on books.google.com, page 94)


OK, I know sometimes sound travels in weird ways. And maybe the guy and his family didn’t hear anything.

But it does make you kind of wonder, since he heard Bobby Rupp drive off.
Any thoughts?


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YellowRubberDuckie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 06:00 PM
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1. I think I need to reread this book.
I honestly don't remember their house being close enough for them to have heard anything.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-15-11 12:43 AM
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2. 100 yards is the distance of a football field.
Edited on Tue Nov-15-11 12:45 AM by mzmolly
I'd say with enough wind, rustling the trees etc. one might not hear shots from inside a home. Also, hearing a car drive off, might mean that the car drove past his home? I also wonder if Stoecklein thought he heard a car backfiring and dismissed it, not recalling that later on?

It's been a very long time since I've read the book. But, now that you mention it, I too found it interesting that no shots were heard by neighbors.

Just adding my wild speculation. ;)
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