Death of ‘Great Train Robber’ Roy D’Autremont

Miami Herald – June 20, 1983

Roy D’Autremont, who led his two brothers on what became known as the last great American train robbery, has died in a nursing home. He was 83.

Mr. D’Autremont, who died Friday, blew up a Southern Pacific mail car in 1923 at a rail tunnel south of Ashland in the Siskiyou Mountains along with his brothers, Ray and Hugh. The blast killed a mail clerk and the D’Autremonts shot an engineer, a fireman and a brakeman to death before making their getaway.

The brothers, led by Ray, were after $40,000 in gold thought to be aboard the train. In fact, there was no gold. Nevertheless, the heist became nationally known as the last great American train robbery.

After an intense, four-year manhunt, the three were captured. Hugh was found in the Army in the Philippine Islands and twins Roy and Ray were caught in Ohio.

Hugh was convicted of first-degree murder and his brothers pleaded guilty in 1927. All three were sentenced to life terms at Oregon State Penitentiary.

Hugh, the youngest, was paroled in 1959. He died of cancer three months later. Ray, who lives in a Eugene nursing home, was paroled in 1961.

Roy was considered a problem prisoner at the penitentiary, diagnosed as a schizophrenic and given a frontal lobotomy. He was transferred to the Oregon State Hospital at Salem in 1949.

He remained at the hospital until 1973, when he was transferred to a Dallas nursing home. Still technically an Oregon State Penitentiary prisoner, he was moved to a Salem nursing home in 1981. He was officially paroled in March of this year.