January 16, 1924 – The Lava Lake Murders

In December 1923 Edward Nickols, Roy Wilson, and Dewey Morris embarked on a season-long fur trapping trip near Lava Lake in Deschutes National Forest. The three men had been hired by Edward Logan and were staying in his cabin. Wilson informed his mother that they planned to return from the trip the following February.

Months passed with no word from Nickols, Wilson, and Morris. In early April 1924, Morris’s brother Owen and two others went to the cabin to search for the three men. Inside they found breakfast dishes on the table, a burned out fire in the fireplace, and old food on the stove still in the pan. In a fox pen behind the cabin they found a bloody claw hammer and a human tooth. They returned to Bend, Oregon, that night and reported what they’d found to Sheriff Clarence Adams. The next day a search party scoured the area from the cabin to Lava Lake where they found a bloodstained sled.

The bodies of the men were recovered later when they floated to the surface of Lava Lake. Nickols had suffered a shotgun blast to the face that had blown away part of his jaw. Wilson had been killed by a small caliber bullet to the back of the head. Morris had also been shot in the head after he was beaten with a hammer.

No one has ever been charged for the crime.

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