Remembering Leo Cashatt

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    To all SCI members,

    We were having dinner with our new neighbors and the conversation turned to what TV shows we watch. I said I couldn’t believe the odd cases that were being shown on Dateline and 48 Hours. Our neighbor asked if I ever watched the real cases shown on the Investigation Discovery channel? I said I never heard of it but would investigate it. The cases were OK, but not as dramatic as those on Dateline and 48 Hours. I was ready to give up on it when I decided to record two more for viewing on Tuesday, a slow TV day for me.

    On Tuesday, I started watching Rocky Mountain Murders. It was about a retired couple travelling in their RV that were missing. Authorities suspected they had been murdered, but their bodies were never found. The sheriff soon found a connection to another crime. The program revealed the suspect wintered in Alaska and came south in the summer to commit his crimes. His modus operandi was to pick on coin dealers and never leave a live witness. Authorities soon realized they were dealing with an unusual type of serial killer. From a robbery/double murder they were able to get a sketch of the suspect and the hunt was on. They checked similar crimes in the West and soon had a list of several that fit the suspects MO. The narrator started reading off the dates and locales. Suddenly, my ears perked up and an eerie chill came over me as he said “1987, Spokane, WA.” I didn’t recall the exact year, but that was the approximate timeframe that Leo Cashatt was robbed and killed in his shop. Was this Leo’s murderer? I reached for my tablet and started Googling. I found a listing of six more crimes that were linked to the suspect. The one I was interested in said “The Spokane, Wash., robbery-homicide of coin-shop owner Leo Cashatt, shot in the head July 1, 1987.” Authorities staked out the suspect’s home in Alaska where they were able to lure him out and arrest him in August 1990. He was held in the local jail. Unfortunately, before he could be tried or talked into confessing his crimes, the suspect, Charles Thurman Sinclair, died of a heart attack in October 1990. They did, however, have lots of physical evidence tying him to several of the crimes. Rest in peace Leo, I believe your murderer has finally met his creator for his final judgement.

    The Pacific Stein Sammler, SCI’s local chapter, sponsored the 1997 Annual Convention in Seattle. Maureen Cashatt, Leo’s widow, and their daughter attended the convention. They had a special gift for the attendees, a Christmas ornament in the shape of a beer stein with the initials HB on it in remembrance of Leo. Every year when I hang it on our Christmas tree I think of Leo and recall his stein stories. Leo liked to talk to people and he was capable of talking about anything you wanted to discuss. Maureen and Leo liked to challenge you to guess his college major. Nobody was surprised when they learned he majored in philosophy.

    My favorite story was about the time he got a lead on a large Mettlach stein in a nursing home. He kept it a secret from everyone like he was a knight templar on the quest of the Holy Grail. He didn’t want anyone finding it before he did. When he walked into the nursing home room, he saw it sitting in the corner. He started walking toward it for a closer examination. Leo didn’t get very far before he realized why it was in the corner and what it was being used for. The nursing home was one of those where the residents had to share the facilities down the hall. This resident needed something closer for an emergency in the middle of the night. This stein was not in the mint condition it left the factory in and Leo was no longer interested in it. In fact, no amount of mints could eliminate the odor that was now emanating from that stein.

    Do you have a favorite Leo story you would like to share with us? Just add it to this thread.

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