Western Life

Butch Cassidy – South America and the Possibility of Life after Death

After approaching Governor Herbert Wells of Utah for an amnesty that wasn’t granted, Cassidy and the Wild Bunch continued their life of crime. Between 1900 and 1901 the gang were responsible for numerous robberies, and the killing of several law enforcement officers. In addition, they lost a few of their own members and the gang was forced to split up. The Pinkerton Agency, and other law enforcement parties, hunted them with renewed vigor. In December 1900, five members of the gang, including Cassidy, posed for what is now known as the ‘Fort Worth Five’ photograph. The agency obtained a copy and began using it on the ‘Wanted’ posters of the outlaws.

Cassidy and Longabaugh, along with his female companion Etta Place, fled to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here they purchased a four-bedroom ranch, on the east bank of the Rio Blanco. It is believed that the pair robbed a bank on February 14, 1905 in Rio Gallegos, escaping with a sum worth U$100,000 today. After this the Pinkerton Agency became aware of the outlaws’ location but, even though a warrant had been issued for their arrest, the trio were able to flee because of a tip from Sheriff Edward Humphreys.

They fled to Chile but continued to travel back and forth between the two countries, committing robberies along the route. Etta went back to the United States in 1906, accompanied by The Sundance Kid, who later joined Cassidy to work at a mine in Bolivia. On November 3, 1908 a courier transporting a company’s payroll was attacked nearby and robbed by two Americans, believed to be Cassidy and Longabaugh. The robbers fled to San Vincente, where they took up residence at a boarding house. The owner became suspicious of the men, because of the brand on their mule, and secretly alerted the authorities.

On the evening of November 6, 1908, the lodgings were surrounded by soldiers, police and the local major. Their intent was to quietly arrest the bandits, but soon found themselves being fired upon. One soldier was killed and another wounded, resulting in a shootout. At 2am the following morning, those surrounding the boarding house heard screaming from inside. A single shot rang out, after which the screaming stopped. There was one final shot, shortly after, and then complete silence. After dawn, the soldiers entered the house and found two bullet ridden male bodies. One had a shot in the middle of the forehead, and another at the temple. The authorities were unable to identify the robbers and buried the bodies in the San Vincente cemetery.

The mystery surrounding the death of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid remains, as the bodies of these bandits have never been recovered. Efforts to do so have been attempted as late as 2017, but no bodies with DNA matching those of the living relatives of either man have been located. The mystery gets deeper as many people report to have seen Cassidy during the 1920s, including members of his family. These claims state that he lived his remaining years in ‘the northwest,’ dying in 1937. His family state they have kept his final resting place a secret, as he was chased in life and deserves peace in death.

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