October 1, 1913
Joe Croft, aged 19 years, living with his parents five miles from Trail, was knocked insensible by a blow on the head Tuesday by an unknown assailant and his body criminally mutilated and afterwards thrown into the creek. Croft has a slim chance for recovery, his only chance lying in the prevention of infection in his wounds. Loss of blood from dangerous wounds left him in a highly weakened condition.
Neither the injured youth, his parents or any one of the neighborhood have so far manifested any real desire to talk, the general sentiment of the parties most interested being that the crime should be classed a mystery. Croft tells his version of the affair, but according to Deputy Sheriff Curly Wilson it does not conform with the evidence or the location of objects near the scene of the crime.
Croft says that he was cutting wood on the bank of the creek when he saw a deer down stream. He grabbed his gun, which he brought with him for just such an emergency and walked in the direction of the deer. When he passed a large tree he was struck in the head and remembers no more until he was revived by the cold waters of the creek, in which he was sitting upright when he regained consciousness.
Dr. W.P. Holt was called and dressed the wounds of the boy, who crawled on his hands and knees to his home to secure aid. The crisis in the case will come tomorrow. The youth's assailant used a sharp instrument, and authorities believe a razor, and possessed above the average knowledge of surgery.
When Deputy Sheriff Wilson arrived the work of looking for clues began, but the reticence of the youth, parents and neighbors to talk handicapped the work. Croft admits that he had had trouble with a neighbor last spring, but refuses to give his name.
The injured lad has always borne a good reputation and has lived for a number of years in that section.