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Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point The Triad Area
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:12 PM
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[SIZE=3]I knew Kathy Porth on Kwajalein in the Marshall Island during the period of 1960 – 1962. She was a little older than I was so she associated in different circles than I but the island was small enough where everyone knew everyone else. I attended a Kwajalein reunion recently and the subject of Kathy brought back some long forgotten memories. I still have my 1962 yearbook from Kwajalein with Kathy’s picture. I use to work in the island commissary bagging groceries the entire time I lived there and as a consequence also became familiar with the parents of most of the students. Kathy was an unusually attractive girl with a sweet disposition and personality to match. She didn’t look anything like her parents but I never knew she was adopted until now. One thing though, Mr. Porth didn’t look like anyone who would be capable of first degree murder. He was a civilian contractor with Western Electric if I recall correctly and worked as an electrical engineer on the Nike Zeus project which was the reason for Kwajalein’s existence. At the next opportunity, I’ll create an entry for her at the findagrave.com web site and post her picture. If anyone has additional information, especially where she has been laid to rest, feel free to contact via the info provided on the web site.[/SIZE]
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:23 AM
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I recall from those days that the speculation was Robert Porth had first killed his daughter Kathy by probable poisoning, then allowed sufficient time to elapse ( a little more than 2 years) to take care of his wife although no one seems to know a motive. Former residents of Kwajalein typically stayed in touch and as a consequence the rumors rapidly spread. I did create a memorial for Kathy at findagrave.com with the information provided on this thread and her picture from the 1962 Kwajalein yearbook which can be viewed at Kathy Suzanne Porth (1946 - 1963) - Find A Grave Memorial. If anyone has additional information, corrections or know where she was laid to rest, feel free to contact me.
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Old 06-26-2010, 04:22 PM
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Kathy Porth was in the first class for gifted students in the state of NC sponsored by Salem College and started in 1956 at Wiley School. I was in the class with her and a close friend until her death. Her death was very strange and she had been in and out of the hospital several times for an undiagnosed illness (later found out to be arsenic poisoning). Initially it was believed she had contracted some type of tropical illness as she and her family had lived for a period of time on Kwajalein Atoll due to her father's job in the missile development program. She just kept getting weaker and weaker. Years after her death the final details emerged. I was no longer in the area, but I believe I was told her body was exhumed to confirm the poisoning. Such a sad ending for such a beautiful girl with a wonderful life ahead.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:46 AM
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Michael Peterson - North Carolina - killed his wife by pushing her down the stairs - and he had done
the same thing to a neighbor/girlfriend many years ago.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:58 PM
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Default Porth murder

I know that Robert Porth was convicted of murdering his wife, Hilda, in 1966. I can find virtually no information on the death of their daughter, Kathy, though. Was anyone ever charged with a crime involving her death? Her body was exhumed, and it was found that she died as a result of arsenic poisoning. I've been trying to find any information on the murder trial and Kathy's death, with very little luck.
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:40 PM
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Kathy's death certificate states she died of Pansytopenia- low level of red blood cells-4 days prior to her death
Infectious mononucleosis- 7 months prior to death
positive serologic test for toxoplasmosia- parasitic disease
no autopsy was performed at the time of her death
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Feb 17,1946 and died in City Memorial Hospital in Winston Salem on May 3, 1963.

buried in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Graceland cemetery
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:46 PM
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wow, haven't thought about this childhood memory in a long time. My parents lived across the street, or very close to the Porth's during my childhood (briarcliffe rd in winston-salem). Mrs Porth (Hilda Jerry Porth) was such a sweet lady. Robert was very nice but somewhat strange. He was a brilliant man, maybe too brilliant. He indeed was a "rocket scientist" for western electric and also did some work with NASA. My parents thought the world of the Porths, so much, that they named Jerry and Robert my Godparents. I have often wondered what my life would have been like with, particularly Jerry, in my life. I do know when the murder took place, my parents were very upset and convinced that Robert had committed the murder. They were also convinced that robert killed Kathy as well. I remember that during the time the trial was going on, my father would not let us answer the front door without an adult present etc for fear of reprisal since both of my parents were interviewed by detectives regarding the case.
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:34 AM
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I grew up in Winston Salem nc- most of my people DID NOT believe Porth to be guilty at all no matter what he said later-it was said his nerves went sour on him so later he may have said anything hence taking the blame but for who?- was he protecting someone- AND what happened to the truly creepy Nancy Cockerham Johnson-the 33 year old so called sweetheart- allegedly a mother of 5 and possibly dangerous schizophrenic [ meeting him the year after his adopted daughter Kathy died sadly and under a question mark with her mother and arsenic] Johnson testified on the witness stand she thought Mr Porth did it- who was she- what was her connection to Winston Salem nc and ft Lauderdale Florida- separated at the time since 1959 from a husband- where were the 5 kids- was she divorced- and where did she go- what was her involement with the death of Ms Porth -did she experience anything else like this again- why did she do this to her friend Mr Porth in court-what was she doing with a man she claimed was murderer-Was he hiding her? did he go to prison for her doings- she ran away after the trial allegedly back to Ft Lauderdale- where is she now-what was her story after? allegedly in and out of psychiatric centers at and before the time and supposedly in Ft Lauderdale at the time of the death of Mrs Porth-was she in Florida or just checked in-why did she live with him before the trial if she believed that Mr Porth was a killer
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Old 11-01-2014, 10:19 AM
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Default Re: Porth murder

I grew up down the street from the Porths, the next generation.

His granddaughter is the same age as my sister and we all played together. I always knew the story about her grandfather murdering her grandmother and we'd drive past their old house on Phillips Bridge Rd whenever it rained a lot because it always flooded. Our neighborhood is only a couple miles from that house.

I also remember when he got out of jail. I was only 7, but clearly remember that he came to stay with them when he was first released. I often saw him on the front porch and he just looked like an old man in a cardigan and glasses... but it gave me goosebumps to see him- because... 7 years old and murder!

Granted, I was very young, but my impression was always that the homicide was justified somehow... the wife was "crazy", as my mother always said. There were rumors of an affair. What I never, ever heard however, was anything about the death of a daughter. That was before I was born. There was obviously also a son, since the granddaughter's last name was also Porth. If it was really common knowledge he'd murdered both his daughter and wife, why would his son allow him to stay with him and his family? There were at least two children in the home at the time of his release.

This always fascinated me growing up- almost celebrity-like status in my neighborhood, yet no one ever talked about it in front of them, of course.
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