May 8, 2024 - News

This week in history: Weyerhaeuser kidnapper caught

An archived photo montage with two headshots of men.

William Dainard (left) and Harmon Waley (right) kidnapped 9-year-old George Weyerhaeuser. Dainard was captured on May 7, 1936. Photo: UPI/Bettmann/Getty Images

Here's a look at some of the May historical events in the city and beyond, sourced from state history encyclopedia HistoryLink and local newspaper and agency archives.

May 7, 1936: William Dainard was arrested by the FBI in San Francisco for his role in kidnapping George Weyerhaeuser Sr., then a 9-year-old and the son of forestry tycoon John Philip Weyerhaeuser Jr.

  • George was safely returned after his family paid a $200,000 ransom. He lived to be 95.
  • "I think that incident forced him to reckon with who he really was at a very young age, and he realized how he could get through it," his daughter, Leilee Weyerhaeuser, told the Seattle Times after his death in 2022.

May 7, 1993: Washoe the chimpanzee arrived with her family at Central Washington University's Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute in Ellensburg. Washoe had previously lived with humans, who communicated with her using American Sign Language.

  • Washoe died in 2007, and her remaining family members now live in a chimp sanctuary in Quebec.
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