Thirteen year old Sanford Clark was living a nightmare. It was 1928, and he was miles away from his native Canada, trapped in California, with his Uncle Stewart. Presumably, Sanford was there to help his uncle start up a chicken ranch. It was a trip the teenager made begrudgingly. His mother had sent him packing, despite his protests. The experience, his uncle promised would offer “boyhood adventure and help with [Sanford's] character development.” In reality, Gordon Stewart Northcott had little interest in developing his nephew’s character, and even less interest in ranching. At twenty, Northcott was handsome, charming—and a sadistic sexual psychopath.
Shortly after reaching the barren, isolated ranch, Northcott brutally raped Sanford. There was no point in running away, he assured the battered teenager: as an undocumented immigrant, Sanford would be thrown in jail. Traumatized, and living under the constant surveillance of his uncle, Sanford was a prisoner. Soon, he would be joined by other prisoners—young boys Northcott tortured, raped, and ultimately killed after luring them to the ranch with promises of pony rides or easy work. Sanford was forced to help dispose of the bodies, and even participate in murder. If he disobeyed, Uncle Stewart promised, he would kill him. Over the course of two years, Northcott raped and killed close to twenty young boys. Shell shocked and fearful for his own life, Sanford kept the horrific crimes a secret.
The Road Out of Hell recounts this shocking, true story. Author Anthony Flacco draws from court documents, archival newspapers, and personal interviews to recreate life on the ranch, the shocking crimes, and Northcott’s dramatic arrest, trial, and execution. He also chronicles Sanford’s path to recovery and salvation. Defying all odds, Sanford Clark not only survived his horrific ordeal, but went on to become a decorated WW II veteran, devoted husband, and father. A gripping tale of human depravity and redemption, The Road Out of Hell will stay with you long after you close the book.Post Categories: Book Reviews
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