04-23-2020 Coloma author helps solve 90-year-old murder mystery; Edward Jones; Kute Kids

FREE FOR KIDS… In an effort to keep children engaged and reading, the Hartford Public Library has activities, crayons, and books in reading bags available for children on the front porch of the library. There is PreK to First Grade selections for the young children and Star Wars activities plus books for the older children. They are free to take and enjoy the activities, sticker sheets and books.

RIGHTING A WRONG… Celebrating together after the forum and luncheon are (from the left) Marie Williams, wife of Robert Williams (Alex’s nephew), Teresa Smithers, Dr. Sam Lemon, Osceola Perdue (Alex’s great-niece) and Jack Pokorny.

Coloma author helps solve 90-year-old murder mystery

Author and genealogist Teresa Smithers of Coloma, Michigan, was one of a handful of people recently recognized at the prestigious Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s top-ranked liberal arts colleges, for helping to solve a 90-year-old Pennsylvania murder mystery of a Michigan woman that resulted in the partial expungement of the record of an innocent boy and in the creation of the podcast, “The Arc of Justice.” While researching her family history, Smithers discovered the tragic death of Vida B. Robare (nee Kinnee), who had married Smithers’ great-great uncle Fred Robare on January 29, 1916, in Schoolcraft County, Michigan. Their marriage was troubled from the start. Domestic violence was not spoken of in 1920 and resources were almost non-existent for single mothers. After divorcing in 1921, Vida (like many domestic violence victims) returned to her husband in 1922. Fred and Vida obtained a second marriage license in Baltimore, Maryland, and Vida began working at schools for boys. They were both working (Vida as a cottage housemother and Fred as a farming instructor) at Glen Mills School in Pennsylvania in 1930 when Vida was discovered dead of 47 stab wounds with what would later be determined to be an ice pick. No money was taken, despite there being $15 and a watch lying on the dresser in the room, and the only thing missing was Vida’s set of keys. The only other clue was a man’s bloody handprint (left hand—the identity of which was never followed up on). The story would be picked up by the Associated Press and make headlines across the country, bemoaning the death of this “attractive woman”. Fred was the last person to see his wife alive at the noon meal, and the first to find her body that evening when he returned from the fields with a group of students. Although all of the students at the sc