Col. Albert Jennings Fountain and his son, Henry, were on their way home to Mesilla, NM, when they disappeared near White Sands. The two had been attending to business in Lincoln, where Fountain, 57, was helping prosecute two suspected cattle rustlers. Fountain’s buckboard wagon was found, along with his cravat and papers, and two pools of blood. The only evidence of Henry, 8, was a blood-soaked handkerchief and two powder-blackened coins.
There were no bodies at the scene, and Fountain’s rifle was missing as well. Most believed Oliver M. Lee, one of the men accused of stealing cattle, was behind the ambush, which likely killed Fountain and his son. Sheriff Pat Garrett, already famous for killing William H. Bonney (Billy The Kid), was sent to apprehend Lee, but after a gunfight that saw one of Garrett’s posse mortally wounded, his party withdrew. Lee eventually surrendered but was let go due to lack of evidence.
No one was charged with murdering Fountain and his son, and their bodies were never found. The case remains unsolved.