Thursday, 20 February 2014

Barbara Weston & Willie The Dog

How many times have you heard or read about a body being found by a dog walker?  It happens many a time.  Yet this tale is how a brutal killer was caught despite him killing the dog as well.  It was in 1996, in Los Angeles County, when somebody drained a cesspit on some property they acquired.  They found skeletal remains.  Police brought in a forensic archaeologist to carefully excavate the bones.  The archaeologist thought she had uncovered another body, possibly a baby, but it was soon discovered to be the bones of a dog.  They found a strange and small frame with two wheels on.  This was a walking frame for a dog with problems with it`s back legs.  A vet identified the breed of dog, through the bones, and what problems it had with it`s legs.  A search of all veterinary clinics found one whom had kept all records, plus she had personally treated the dog.  The dog was named Willie, and his owner was Barbara Weston.

    Detectives canvassed the area and people remembered both Barbara and Willie.  They also remembered her relationship with a man called Stephen Swann.  This was back in 1993.  Barbara had suffered blunt force trauma to the head and Willie had been strangled with wire.  Swann was later charged with murder and convicted, sentenced to 16 years to life, in May 1997.  Swann killed Willie because he could not be seen without Barbara and people would have asked questions.  Swann thought he had disposed of any trace of Barbara and Willie, not counting on Willie`s disability helping to identify himself, and therefore, Barbara.  This dog helped bring his and his owner`s killer to justice from beyond the grave.