It was the worst two-week killing spree in Ohio’s history. On the night of July 21, 1948, Robert Daniels and John West entered John and Nolena Niebel’s house in Mansfield, Ohio with loaded guns. They forced the family including the Niebel’s 21-year-old daughter, Phyllis, into their car and drove them to a cornfield just off Fleming Falls Road in Mansfield. The two men instructed the Niebels to remove all of their clothing, and then Robert Daniels shot each of them in the head.
Scott Fields of Mansfield, Ohio was so intrigued by this true story that he turned the horrific events into a page-burning novel that you cannot put down until you turn the last page. During a recent book signing in his hometown of Mansfield, Scott was approached by a man he had never seen before. The man introduced himself and Scott’s jaw dropped.
By Scott Fields
Author of The Mansfield Killings
I had just begun a book signing when a dignified, older man walked through the door. He stood in the back of the room as I finished with the person in front of me. He then approached me and shook my hand introducing himself as Roger Winger. I had no clue as to who he was in spite of his obvious pause as he waited for me to take heed of his presence.
“You don’t know who I am, do you?” he asked.
“No, I don’t,” I said. “Sorry.”
“In July of 1948, I saw the dead bodies of the Neibel family lying in a cornfield off of Flemming Falls Road.”
For several seconds I stood there with mouth open trying to comprehend what he had just told me. “What did you just say?”
“I actually saw the dead bodies.”
I grabbed him by the arm and led him into another room. “How could you have seen such a thing?”
“I was six years old at the time. I lived next to the cornfield where the Niebels were found. That day was like any other summer day. I had seen the group of boy scouts marching down Flemming Falls Road earlier in the day. I hardly gave notice because boy scouts on that road was a common sight to see. Later that day, I stepped outside my house to see find police cars, ambulances and even fire engines all up and down the road. Out of curiosity, I walked down to the cornfield. There were men rushing back and forth but seemed to be concentrating on a spot about 50 feet into the field. I cautiously walked through the corn stalks until I was within a foot or so from the spot where the three people had been shot.”
“Did you see the bodies?” I asked.
“Yes, I did. Their bodies had turned white and were extremely bloated.”
“Was there signs of blood?”
“No. I don’t remember seeing any blood.”
“One of the policemen saw me and yelled at me to get the hell out of here. I took off running thinking they were chasing me.”
“Daniels declared that they did not rape twenty year old Phyllis, and yet the bodies were found completely nude. The first coroner stated that there was no evidence of rape and yet the coroner at Daniel’s trial stated that she had been raped. Why do you think Daniels would admit to everything but deny raping Phyllis?”
“I’m not sure,” said Roger. “I personally think he did it. Back in those days, murder was one thing. Rape was another.”
Small talk followed, and soon we said our goodbyes. I did manage to get his phone number and address, because I have many more questions for him.
Publication Date: December 3, 2012
Black & White on Cream paper
ISBN 10 – 0982993137
ISBN 13 – 978-0-9829931-3-2
Binding Type: US Trade Paper