Criminal Minds Wiki

The Winslow boys were never on my farm. I didn't kill them.

Gordon Stewart Northcott, a.k.a. "The Wineville Chicken Coop Murderer" and "The Boy Butcher", was a Canadian-born American pedophilic and hebephilic serial killer, serial rapist, and abductor who perpetrated the infamous so-called Wineville Chicken Coop Murders.


Northcott was born in Bladworth, Saskatchewan, Canada, and raised in British Columbia. When he was eighteen, he moved to Los Angeles, California, U.S., with his family. He claimed that his father sexually abused him at the age of ten. With his father's help, Northcott built a chicken ranch in nearby Wineville.[1] His father was later institutionalized in a mental asylum, where he eventually committed suicide. His uncle died while serving a life sentence in prison for murder. In 1926, he took his thirteen-year-old nephew, Sanford Clark, to Wineville with the permission of Sanford's parents. There, the boy was beaten and raped repeatedly by Northcott. With the help of his mother, Sarah Louise Northcott, he began a series of abductions and killings in the city of Los Angeles and Riverside County.

Murders, Arrest, and Execution

Northcott's first known murder victim was an unnamed Mexican boy, who he shot to death and decapitated. He later forced Sanford to dispose of the head for him by burning it in a fire-pit and crushing the skull. Northcott left the Mexican boy's headless body by the side of a road near La Puente, California. Months later, on March 10, he abducted a young boy named Walter Collins, Jr. from his home and took him to his farm, where he was tortured, raped, and bludgeoned with an ax. Police initially believed that enemies of Walter's father, Walter Collins, Sr., were responsible for the abduction. Walter's case quickly received national attention. With no true leads, the Los Angeles Police Department attracted negative publicity and more public pressure to solve the case. Northcott's next victims were the Winslow brothers, Lewis and Nelson, who were both abducted on May 16 and taken to Northcott's farm. Both were raped and again bludgeoned to death with an ax. After spending two years being held in his uncle's farm, Sanford was visited by his older sister Jessie; he told her about what Gordon had done to him and other boys. One week later, Jessie returned to Canada and immediately informed the American consulate.

In the same month, Judson Shaw and Scallorn, two U.S. Immigration Service Inspectors, visited the farm, where they found Sanford and took him into custody. Northcott had seen the agents coming to his house and told Sanford to stall them or else he would be shot with a rifle; he fled into the treeline shortly after. Sanford eventually told agents that his uncle had escaped. On September 19, 1928, Northcott and his mother were arrested in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. Sarah eventually confessed to the murders but retracted her confession before being extradited to Canada. Northcott also confessed to killing more than five boys. During the sentencing of Sarah, Sanford testified against her and said that she had helped her son in the murder of Walter Collins, Jr. In addition, Sanford said that Northcott disposed of the bodies using quicklime and that the bodies were still buried at his chicken ranch. Authorities investigated the farm and found three shallow graves with human remains (e.g. human bones, blood, hair, etc.) inside. With this physical evidence and Sanford's testimony as proof, Northcott was sentenced to death, while his mother was sentenced to life in prison. Northcott was executed by hanging on October 2, 1930. He was 23 years old when he died.

Modus Operandi

Using his unwilling nephew as a lure, Northcott abducted several young boys and took them to his farm. There, they were raped, tortured, and killed, either by shooting or bludgeoning with an ax. After killing them, he dismembered them, dissolved their flesh with quicklime, and disposed of their bones in the desert.

Known Victims

  • 1926-1928: Sanford Wesley Clark, 13 (abused sexually, physically, and emotionally by Northcott)
  • February 1928: Unnamed Mexican boy (shot to death by Northcott)
  • March 10, 1928 (date of abduction): Walter Collins, Jr., 9 (raped by Northcott; bludgeoned with an ax by Northcott, Sarah Louise Northcott, and Sanford Clark )
  • May 16, 1928 (date of abduction): Lewis and Nelson Winslow (raped and bludgeoned with an ax by Northcott)
    • Lewis Henry Winslow, 12
    • Nelson Horatio Winslow, 10
  • Note: Northcott confessed of being responsible for the murders of more than five boys, though this claim was never confirmed by authorities.

On Criminal Minds

While Northcott was never directly mentioned or referenced on the show, he appears to have been an inspiration for the following unsubs:

  • Season Three
    • Joe Smith ("In Name and Blood") - Both were serial killers and abductors who used a younger male relative to lure their victims, kept them in captivity for some time, and killed them by violent means (dismemberment and shooting in Northcott's case, while Smith removed his victim's hearts).
  • Season Five
    • Bill Jarvis ("Haunted") - Both were serial killers and abductors who had at least one relative who died prior to their killings (Jarvs' wife and both Northcott's father and uncle, respectively), targeted young boys, used a younger male relative (who they severely abused) to lure their victims, dismembered and then disposed of their victims with quicklime, had both of their unwilling accomplices escape from them, and were given nicknames based on their area of operation.



  1. Now known as Mira Loma