John and George Sodder
The Sodders were an upright family whose lives were forever altered on Christmas morning when their home was tragically burned to the ground.
George and Jennie Sodder lost all five of their children to a house fire, though official investigations determined their deaths to be accidental. Despite this devastating news, George and Jennie Sodder did not give up searching for their missing children.
Early Life and Education
George Sodder was born Giorgio Soddu in Tula, Sardinia and immigrated to the United States at 13 years old. He found work with railroads transporting supplies for laborers before relocating to West Virginia where he opened his own trucking company.
He married Jennie Cipriani and had ten children. In 1945, the Sodder family lived in Fayetteville, West Virginia.
At around 1 a.m., fire broke out in their home. Luckily, the couple and four children made it out safely; unfortunately, five others were never seen again.
The mystery surrounding this tragedy remains just as captivating today as it did 65 years ago. People are still searching for answers, especially Sylvia – the youngest surviving Sodder child. She frequently visits crime-solving websites and engages with those interested in her family’s tale.
George Sodder was born Giorgio Soddu in Sardinia, Italy and immigrated to the United States in 1908. He worked as a driver for Pennsylvanian railroads before relocating to Smithers, West Virginia where he established a trucking company hauling dirt and coal while marrying Jennie Cipriani who also came over from Italy.
His family lived in Fayetteville, an area with a significant Italian immigrant population. However, he had an outspoken opposition to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini that made him a target in the community and local police began suspecting that he may have been connected with the Sicilian Mafia–an organization which also victimized Italian immigrants.
When the Sodders sought assistance from the FBI, Director J. Edgar Hoover responded that their case “appeared to be of local character and does not fall within the investigative jurisdiction of this bureau.” When no assistance was offered by the FBI in 1947, Sodder hired a private investigator instead.
Achievements and Honors
John Sodder was an astute businessman who immigrated to America at 13 years old from Italy. He settled in Fayetteville, West Virginia and made a name for himself by owning and operating a small trucking business.
In the late 1940s, he and his wife Jennie became icons for Italian immigrants in this mountain town. Together they had 10 children. Tragically, on a cold December morning in 1945 their home was gutted by fire; five died tragically that morning. Although they rebuilt their lives afterwards, their origin story remains mysterious to this day.
George Sodder was an Italian immigrant who worked as a railroad driver before starting his own trucking company. He married Jennie Cipriani and had ten children.
On Christmas Eve 1945, Charles and Jennie were sleeping when they discovered their home engulfed in flames in Fayetteville, West Virginia. Four of their children managed to escape but five remain missing.
Police and fire department declared the fire an accident, but George Sodder began to doubt it. For years, their lives had been filled with mysterious incidents, leading him to believe that his children had been kidnapped.
In 1968, more than two decades after her sons’ disappearance, Jennie discovered a letter in her mailbox which she believed to be from her youngest son Louis. It featured a picture of someone that looked similar to Louis and had an attached handwritten note reading “Louis Sodder.”
George Sodder was born in Sardinia, Italy and immigrated to America at 13 years old. He opened a trucking business with his wife Jennie and had 10 children – all but four were tragically lost that Christmas night 1945 when a fire consumed their home claiming all but four of them. To solve this mystery, Jennie and George hired a private detective.