Tragedy at Tunnel 13

The Crime, the Victims, and the Legacy
Virtual Exhibit

logo: 100 Year Anniversary Tragedy at Tunnel 13 October 11, 1923 - October 11, 2023

On October 11, 1923, four workers lost their lives during the holdup of Southern Pacific Train 13 at Tunnel 13 in the Siskiyou Mountains. The attempted robbery ended with the murders of railway personnel Sidney L. Bates, Charles O. Johnson, and Marvin B. Seng, and postal clerk Elvyn E. Dougherty. Investigations by local law enforcement, railway special agent staff, US Postal Inspectors, and a forensic scientist led to the search for Ray, Roy, and Hugh DeAutremont. For four years the brothers evaded the authorities until members of the public recognized the suspects from wanted posters circulated through the US, Mexico, Central America, and Europe. Arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life, the brothers each eventually received early releases from prison.

A consortium of organizations and individuals has developed collaborative projects to mark the centennial in October 2023. Online programs and events in Oregon and California are scheduled to honor the lost lives, recall the impact on the communities, and contribute to shared meaning making to reconcile with the difficult history. This visual essay of records and artifacts contributes to this effort.