The Morgue Lady can't possibly do better that the headline
splashed across the front page of the Arizona Daily Star, May 14,
KIDNAPPED ROBLES CHILD
RETURNED TO PARENTS
Uncle and County Attorney
Find Girl In Living Grave
June Robles, six-year-old kidnaped child was found at three
o'clock this afternoon, nine miles from town. The information which
came from the governor's office was stated to have been a letter
from Chicago which gave the location of the baby.
Nine miles from town a freshly turned bit of earth about six
feet long and two feet wide attracted the attention of the three
men and upon closer inspection they found it to be a dug out
affair, covered over.
The dugout was constructed of gunny sacks, wood and tin, and
June was chained by one ankle on the inside. June was dirty and
covered with vermin. Food to the extent of a jug of water and a
loaf of fresh bread was on the inside of the cage.
The first words the baby spoke were: "I want my mamma."
The letter from Chicago was dated May 10 and was in the same
printing as the two previous letters received. It was signed "XYZ
The letter was sent from Chicago to Governor B. B. Moeur, who in
turn sent Riley Bryan, state highway patrolman, to Tucson with the
instructions. These were followed by County Attorney Clarence
Houston, Assistant County Attorney Carlos Robles, uncle of the
child, and the patrolman, who spent the entire morning trying to
find the child. Houston was credited with having spied the mound of
dirt and the dugout.
Nineteen days ago June Robles was kidnaped from near the school
which she attended and from all appearances she had been confined
to her prison for most of that time.
The dugout was securely covered over and the lock on the chain
attached to the child's ankle was opened by the child herself when
the key was discovered lying on the roof. The key was handed down
to her. She was so weak, however, she had to be carried to the
The letter, which had broken the 19-day cloud of mystery, was
turned over to the Department of Justice at once, and the wires
carried an immediate demand to operators there to check up on its
mailing on May 10 and the possibilities of tracing its source.
The child was taken to the home of her parents by Houston and
her uncle and officers under command of C.S. Farrar, undersheriff,
and C.A. Wollard went immediately to the scene of the rescue of the
baby and immediately began the search for signs that might lead to
Houston, in describing the find, said that when he found the
baby he was alone. He looked over the top of the pit and saw the
baby. In a low voice he said:
"Hello, June, do you know me? Are you afraid of me?"
Looking up in a startled manner, the child said: "No, I'm not
afraid of you," and Houston called Robles.
He saw then that the child was chained and when he tried to get
into the hole he found that he could not. He found the key to the
cage-like cave on a small piece of tin near by as the uncle of the
child came up.
Carlos, overjoyed at finding his little niece, was horrified at
the manner in which the child had been kept.
The baby, when given the key, unlocked herself. She was so weak
she could not walk when placed on her feet.
She did not know the men who had kept her, she said. He added
that she had never seen them before and that the two men she had
seen were called Bill and Will and that one "wore gloves."
What was described in the May 14 article as "a loaf of fresh
bread," turned out to be not so fresh. It was later indicated that
most of the food was rotten.
More information on her prison followed in the days after June's
rescue. The description in the Star on May 15, 1934, of her cage
The pit in which she was found measured only 3 feet by 3 feet,
nine inches by 6 feet.
The sheet iron cage and its contents were brought to the
sheriff's office last night and brought expressions of horror from
officers and bystanders who saw it. The old galvanized iron had
been nailed to a rough framework if old planks. The metal had been
cut with a pair of tin snips to form a door two feet wide and two
feet six inches long in the top of the cage. This was the only
method of entering or leaving the pit.
After the cage was buried in the ground the men had covered it
with prickly pear, cholla and dirt until it was almost impossible
to locate from the directions given in the letter which was rushed
here by the governor. Houston explained that he almost stumbled
over the cage before he realized that there was anything there.
Air was supplied to the imprisoned girl by a few nail holes
punched through the top of her cage. Food with which she was
supplied was spoiled when the girl was found. Water was provided in
two dirty galvanized iron cans. Sanitary provisions consisted of a
graniteware pot buried in the floor of the pit. The pot had a hole
in the bottom so that some drainage into the soil was provided.
The girl sat (she could not stand up in the narrow cage) for 19
days. So far as the dazed girl could inform the men who found her,
she had been visited only three or four times by her abductors.
With filth, rotting food and vermin around her, the chain which was
padlocked around her ankle clanked every time she moved. An old dog
chain and a rusty automobile tire chain had been linked together to
form her tether. One end of the chain was fastened outside the box
to a long steel pipe which had been driven into the ground. The
chain had been passed through a hole in the galvanized iron and
thence around her ankle.
The searchers had expected to find a dead body if they found
anything at all. The men who found her told a story that indicated
June must have been quite resilient even though she was likely in
shock. The Morgue Lady is sure the girl had nightmares for some
From the Star on May 15:
Joy of finding Live Girl
Instead of Dead One Told
Houston Amazed at Girl's
Cleanliness Despite Having To Live in Dirty Tomb; Asks for Key and
Unlocks Padlock; Angry at Chain Marks
The story of two discouraged men, seeking what they knew to be a
dead body and their joy when they found a live girl instead, came
out slowly last night as Carlos Robles, uncle of kidnaped June
Robles, and Clarence Houston, county attorney, talked over their
experiences in Houston's office.
Houston told how he and Robles separated in their desert search,
how he wearily sought the shade of a tree and there saw a sprig of
cactus and an old pasteboard box which gave him the impetus to
search again. The child's coffin-prison was found by accident a few
feet from where he rested.
He was certain that June was dead. He had been almost lost on
the desert and had been calling for Robles, but now decided to peek
into the grave, see the condition of the body and call an
undertaker and not tell Robles until later.
Prepared to find a decomposed body, he was shocked to find the
live girl chained in her grave-cage. He told of his first remarks
to the girl, his query, "Were they good to you?" and her answer,
"Honey, I can't get down there to unlock that thing," he told
"Give me the key," she called imperiously. She unlocked the
padlock "quick as a flash," he said. She took a drink of orange
juice from the glass in her prison before allowing herself to be
She failed to recognize Houston and seemed to believe him one of
the kidnapers until he got her to help shout for her uncle. "After
that I was her pal," Houston explained.
As they were leaving the place Houstion said, "I don't know
whether I can find that place again."
"Oh, yes you can," June said. "Don't you remember, you hung your
handkerchief up in a tree." Then Houston mused over the
Houston paused — "My big regret is that we have no capital
punishment for such a crime," he mused.
Houston explained that he was careful not to question the girl
too closely. She was forced to turn her back whenever the men
visited her, she stated.
"Gee, my teacher will be glad to see me back," was one of her
"When I heard June call 'Liche,' I forgot all about the
evidence," Robles said last night. (Liche is short for Caliche and
is a nickname reference to the fair complexion of Carlos.)
Houston and Robles both paused in their discussion to give high
praise to all the officers who worked with them in the case.
In recounting the joy of the family when little June came back,
Carlos recalled that his grandmother was in church praying when the
child was returned. When she learned the child was alive she
returned to church to pray again.
After a pause in the talk, Carlos said — "Well, after all,
that's a trip we'll never forget."
In remarking on the luck which took its part in the final
finding of the child, Houston recalled it took him an hour to go
back to the place even after he had hung his handkerchief in a tree
near the spot.
Houston recalled that June was angry at the marks of the chain
on her leg. "Look at that!" she said. "Just look at that!" She
pointed to the scar, her dark eyes snapping with anger. Her extreme
concern over her personal appearance was also subject to comment.
"I don't know how she kept so clean in that hole," Houston said.
"She pulled down her little dress, fixed her sleeves and fluffed up
her hair as soon as she saw me."
Then Robles took up the story to tell how she demanded a bath as
soon as she got home. "In spite of the doctor's orders for rest she
wants to go to school tomorrow," he stated. She was bitten by
insects or had prickly heat across her forehead; it was bleeding a
little. That bothers her, too.
The Morgue Lady can't imagine that June's mother would let June
out of her sight to go to school for a long while.
The hunt for the kidnapers continued for some time and theories
were batted about, but no one was ever charged with the crime.
June grew up and married, and all evidence indicates she is
still alive today. The Morgue Lady is a praying person and prays
there are no nightmares and that June is a happy woman.