Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thriller Thursday - Priest Cut Body of Girl Into Bits


Priest Cut Body of Girl Into Bits

Father Schmidt Confesses He Killed Young Woman While She Slept and Threw Parts in River.

"I Loved Her," He Moans

Victim of Butchery Was Anna Aumuller, a Servant in Parish House of Church to Which He Was Attached as Curate.

Arrested at St. Joseph's

Detectives Trace Murderer Through Pillow Slips and Find That Liaison Ended in Death - Weeps Over Picture and Makes Move Toward Suicide.

Father Hans Schmidt, alias "A. Van Dyke," a curate of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, at No. 405 West 125th street, was arrested at 3 o;clock yesterday morning, charged with the murder of the woman whose dismembered body was found in the Hudson River last week.

The victim was identified as Miss Anna Aumuller, a young woman who was employed as a servant in the parish house of St. Boniface Church, at 47th street and Second avenue, to which Father Schmidt formerly was attached.

Father Schmidt was arrested in the parlor of the parish house of St. Joseph's Church, where, after half an hour of grilling by Inspector Faurot and Detectives Cassassa and O'Neill, he broke down and admitted he committed the crime, the police officers say. He was taken over the scenes covered in his story and added many details to his confession. At the West 152d street station he was identified by the agent who rented a flat to him. He was taken to Police Headquarters.

After another examination there he had a formal hearing before Coroner Feinberg, who remanded him to the Tombs, without bail, under a charge of homicide in the case of Anna Aumuller.

Father Luke J. Evers, chaplain of the Tombs, after an hour's talk with the imprisoned priest in the afternoon, said the self-confessed murderer had told him he had killed the girl because his patron saint had so ordered it.

"I asked Schmidt why he had murdered the girl," said Father Evers. "He said, 'I was commanded by my patron, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, to offer a sacrifice. Like the sacrifice of Abraham, it mush be one of blood. So I killed Anna Aumuller, and after I had done so drank some of the blood in order to consummate the sacrifice.'"

Bundles Dropped from Ferry.

The scene of the murder, which, as the detectives told of it, was a butchery of a most revolting nature, was a third floor rear apartment in the house at No. 68 Bradhurst avenue. It was committed a few minutes before midnight on September 2, and the dismembered portions of the body, some of which were found later at different places along the shores of the Hudson River and bay, were carried one at a time by the murderer from the Harlem flat to the Fort Lee ferry, from which they were dropped into the river, weighted with stones.

So far as a motive was concerned, the police last night admitted that their talks with Father Schmidt produced nothing more definite than his repeated assertion when questioned as to his motive:

"I loved her."

Inspector Faurot was convinced, however, that fear of discovery and exposure was the ruling motive, and that Schmidt thought to end his liaison and his fear of the exposure of it, which would end his career as a priest.

As the story of his confession was given out by police, the priest's intrigue had progressed so far that no ordinary means would suffice to end it. He knew the girl when she was a servant in the parish house of St. Boniface's where he was a curate. He continued his relations with her when he went to St. Joseph's, and she remained at the rectory of St. Boniface's Church, and finally he placed her in an apartment, where for a very short time he continued to visit her.

Meanwhile the priest and the girl obtained a marriage license at the City Hall - this was dated February 26, 1913 - and, according to the police version of the confession, Father Schmidt said he performed a marriage ceremony himself.

Whether the priest misled the young woman into the belief that she was legally married to him or not, the police established the fact that she was an orphan, whose brothers and sisters are all in Hungary, and with no nearer relative in this country that a cousin, who had not seen anything of her for more than a year.

Flat Rented for Murder.

Partly by reason of the very brief period which elapsed between the time when Father Schmidt rented the Bradhurst avenue flat for her and the time of the murder, and partly because of the scantily furnished condition of the rooms, the police were convinced that the priest did not intend to live with her there, but established her there solely for the purpose of providing a place for the murder.

The murder itself, according to the police story of Father Schmidt's confession, was abnormal in its brutality. According to this story, he bought a long-bladed butcher's knife and an ordinary carpenter's saw, kept them in his room at the rectory for several days, and then on the night of September 2 went to the flat.

He found the young woman asleep, cut her throat so viciously that he almost severed her head from her body, and, while the body was still warm, dragged it to the bathroom, where he proceeded immediately with the work of dismemberment.

Anna Aumuller left her employment in the parish house of St. Boniface Church on August 31. Father Schmidt rented the flat in Bradhurst avenue on August 25 and paid $5 deposit. On August 28 he paid the other $14 of the $19 a month rent asked for the four rooms and on that day moved in a few pieces of furniture.

The young woman, a few days under twenty years old, told Father John S. Braun, the pastor of St. Boniface, that she was going to get married. To a fellow servant, Annie Hirt, she confided that she intended to marry an artist, Alexander Borgen, who lived in a small city in Ohio. Detectives who were told this story by a Tribune reporter began an investigation with the idea that it might furnish another motive for her murder, in that if her story to the Hirt girl was true the priest might have feared discovery of his liaison by the man she was going to marry and subsequent exposure for himself.

While Father Schmidt insisted that he was a regularly ordained priest and was able to furnish a complete story of his life, education and service as a priest, both in this country and in his native Germany, the church authorities of this diocese and of Trenton, N. J., whence he came to New York, threw doubt upon the authenticity of his story of having been ordained.

May Be Impostor as Priest.

Monsignor Lavelle, after hearing a report from Father Francis J. Sullivan and Father Luke J. Evers, who went to see Schmidt in the Tombs, said they could not learn from him any specific details as to when and where he was ordained a priest, and that it was rumored that he had been arrested in Munich, Germany, as an impostor on the complaint of a priest.

Bishop McFaul, of the Trenton diocese, said Schmidt was connected with the New York diocese and served in Trenton at St. Francis's Church only in the temporary absence of the Rev. Dr. Rathner.

The detective work by which the murder was traced down to the point where the police felt justified in confronting Father Schmidt with the crime goes to make up one of the most careful pieces of such work with which the department has been credited.

It began with the pillow slips, one of which was found wrapped around the first part of the victim's torso found in the river. The manufacturer, in Newark, provided the name of a Harlem dealer, George Sachs, and Sachs was able to give the police the names and addresses of the purchasers of the twelve such pillow slips be sold.

Ten of these pillow slips were traced by the police, and the two remaining sales were made by Sachs to Hans Schmidt to be delivered at No. 68 Bradhurst avenue. For four days Inspector Faurot had that apartment house watched for the occupant of the third floor rear flat, but Schmidt's work was done and he was gone before the vigil started.

Before 1 o'clock yesterday morning Faurot with his detectives went to the Bradhurst avenue flat determined that inasmuch as no tenant had been seen either entering or leaving the flat since the guard was set they would break in.

Detective Cassassa was sent up the fire escape, and after gaining an entrance through the window he went through the flat and opened the door to let in Inspector Faurot, with detectives O'Neill and Horan. They found evidence of the crime almost immediately, in the shape of a long-bladed butcher's knife and the carpenter's saw, which had not been thoroughly cleaned of blood.

They picked up also two pictures of Anna Aumuller, some underwear similar to that on the torso found in the river, a man's coat of a mixed gray material, in the pocket of which was a card inscribed "A. Van Dyke"; a portion of a spool of millinery wire, similar to that found on the bundles containing the dismembered parts of the victim's body; a receipted bill, showing that Hans Schmidt bought from George Sachs, No. 2762 Eighth avenue, one white enamel bed, one mattress and two pillows and pillow slips, for which he paid $12.68, and two trunks, in one of which were found a number of letters addressed to Miss Aumuller at St. Boniface's Church, 47th street and Second avenue.

Letters Signed "Hans."

Some of these letters were signed "Hans," and others, more formal, with the full name of "Hans Schmidt," and through these letters the trail led straight to the identification of the victim and the apprehension of the priest who is charged with the murder.

Just after 1 o'clock yesterday morning the police automobile containing Inspector Faurot and his detectives whizzed over to St. Boniface's Church parish house, where Father Braun immediately identified the photographs of Miss Aumuller. Faurot asked where Father Schmidt might be found, and Father Braun directed him to St. Joseph's Church parish house, at No. 405 West 125th street.

At 2 o'clock in the morning the police automobile stopped at the St. Joseph's Church rectory, and a few minutes later Father Huntman let in the officers and went upstairs to send Father Schmidt down.

Father Schmidt came into the parlor of the rectory, from which he was to go out a few minutes later a prisoner charged with murder, clad in his clerical vestments. Faurot's first questions he parried with skilful denials, and said he did not even know Miss Aumuller and that he did not rent a flat in Bradhurst avenue or anywhere else. He went too far, however, in his sweeping denials and involved himself in contradictions both of his own stories and of the evidence the police had previously gathered in the flat.

That evidence, incidentally, disclosed the strangest mixture of the professional criminal's careful destruction of evidence, combined with the amateur and first offense criminal's utterly neglectful attitude toward evidence, which a big murder mystery has ever offered in this city.

The blood of the victim, which apparently splattered all over the floor and walls of the little hall connecting the bedroom with the bathroom, was carefully cleaned from floors and walls, except in the corners. The body, so brutally dismembered, was carefully removed and the mattress burned, but the telltale letters and photographs were left behind.

The results of the murder were cleared away with almost scrupulous care, but the tools, which bore testifying finger-prints, were left behind. All in all, it was a curious mixture of supreme carefulness with utter carelessness, and these contradictions gave the detectives the basis for a grilling which, they say, Father Schmidt was not able to combat for very long.

Manner Becomes Callous.

When the break came and he began to tell the story of the murder, the police say, he came near to a collapse, but once over the brink of confession the priest talked freely, and as the story progressed his manner became callous.

According to the detectives, he shocked even their case-hardened nerves with the brutal frankness of detail with which he described his actions. When he went to the flat on the night of September 2, the detectives say, he found the young woman asleep, and murdered her with a powerful slash across the throat.

The detectives last night said that Schmidt, in his second version of the murder story, at Police Headquarters, told them that he tasted the blood of the victim.

Along this line, Inspector Faurot, whose years of experience as an instructor in Bertillon methods and as a student of facial characteristics of criminals qualifies him as an expert, said that Father Schmidt's face offered a contrast in itself of the sublime and the bestial, if viewed from different angles.

This peculiarity, Faurot said, was a different proposition from the usual one of facial characteristics being governed by mood, because the contrast in Schmidt, ha said, was always present. Coroner Feinberg, who examined the priest at Police Headquarters, described it technically as an "asymmetrical" face.

The details of his revolting story, completed as it was by his police examination in the parlor of St. Joseph's rectory, at the flat in which the murder was committed and in the open field where he burned the mattress, were repeated yesterday morning at Police Headquarters with Coroner Feinberg and Assistant District Attorney Deacon Murphy present.

It developed in this subsequent examination also that Schmidt rented a room in a neighborhood near the church where he went to change his clothes. When he left the rectory he was, of course, dressed in his clerical vestments. But when he went to the flat which he rented for the Aumuller girl he would not risk the conspicuousness of his priest's garb.

In the flat the police found several hundred cheap cards on which the following inscription was printed:
"Dr. Emil Moliere, Assistant Surgeon, Municipal Woman's Hospital, Paris, France. Representative of the Chemical Hygienic Manufacturing Company. Demeraile Freres."

Father Schmidt's pedigree, as taken at Police Headquarters, gave his age as thirty-two; born in Germany; occupation, priest, and married. His height is only 5 feet 2½ inches, but he is a well developed man with powerful arms. His skin, hair and eyes are dark, but his face when he appeared at Police Headquarters yesterday was sallow.

He has performed the duties of his priesthood with equanimity since the murder as before.

Coroner Feinberg was lavish in his praise of the work of Inspector Faurot. He said that neither Scotland Yard nor Paris had ever surpassed it.

"Every step of discovery of this revolting crime," said the Coroner, "pointed anywhere but to the cloisters of a church, and Inspector Faurot deserves great credit for the careful way in which he worked out the case."

Goes to Sleep in Tombs.

Father Schmidt was put in Cell 139 at the Tombs, and, according to the guards, he calmly went to sleep on the cot in the cell almost as soon as he was locked in.

Father Gerard Huntman, pastor of St. Joseph's Church, held the usual Sunday night service last night. The church was crowded. No reference whatever was made by him to the crime. Outside the church there was a big crowd looking up at the rectory and discussing the case.

Policemen detailed there kept the throng moving. Men of the West 152d street station formed police lines in front of the apartment house in Bradhurst avenue, which were continued all of yesterday and last night.

In America Six Years.

To the story of the murder and the associations which led up to it, the story told at Police Headquarters added the following biographical details:

Schmidt was born in Bavaria in 1881. When twelve years old he went to a college at Mainz, Germany, and remained there until he was eighteen, when he entered a seminary at St. Augustine, Germany. He was ordained to the priesthood on September 23, 1904. His first assignment was at St. Elizabeth's Church, Darmstadt, Germany, where he served six months. From there he went to Burgel-on-Main, and was out of the priesthood a year on account of illness.

He came to this country in 1907, going to Louisville. From there he was transferred to Trenton, N. J., and from that city came to St. Boniface's Church in 1910. He was connected with St. Boniface for two years, leaving it to go to St. Joseph's.

Priest Cut Body of Girl Into Bits, The Tribune, 15 September 1913, page 1, column 3, and page 2, column 1.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thriller Thursday - Priest Admits Girl's Murder

Priest Admits Girl's Murder

Hans Schmidt Killed Anna Aumuller and Cut Up Her Body.

Put Pieces in River

Loved Victim, a Servant in House of His Former Pastor.

Slew Her in Hired Flat

Catholic Church Authorities Schmidt Is an Insane Imposter

Hans Schmidt, an assistant priest at St. Joseph's Catholic Church at 495 West 125th street, was arrested early yesterday and confessed that he had murdered and them dismembered the body of a girl, parts of those body have been found in the North River during the past few days.

The murdered girl, whose name was Anna Aumuller, was a servant in the pastoral residence of the Rev. Father Braun, rector of St. Boniface's Church on the southeast corner of Forty-seventh street and Second avenue, where Schmidt from December, 1910, until May, 1912, was a curate.

Schmidt's only explanation of the cause of the murder yesterday was that he "loved Anna."

Catholic Church authorities of the York [sic] York diocese, headed by Mgrs. Mooney and Lavelle, who was vicars-general of the diocese, held a conference yesterday after receiving reports of an interview with Schmidt in the Tombs by the Rev. Father Evers to learn whether or not Schmidt really is a priest of the Catholic Church.

Schmidt made statements to Father Evers about being "ordained a priest by St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who told me to kill Anna as a sacrifice of blood," and made many more wild statements that incline to the belief that he is insane.

Think Him Impostor.

There are reasons to believe, according to the church authorities, that Schmidt is an impostor. For some years, however, he has performed the duties of a curate at two churches in New York, at Trenton and at St. Louis, and according to his own story he was a priest in Germany before coming to America from Bavaria in 1907.

Schmidt, according to Assistant District Attorney Deacon Murphy and Police Inspector Faurot, confessed that he entered a four room flat on the third floor of the apartment house which he had rented for the Aumuller girl at 68 Bradhurst avenue, two doors north of West 145th street and a short block east of Eighth avenue, at midnight on September 2 and cut her throat while she slept.

He tasted the blood then, he says. When he was sure the girl was dead he dragged her body to the bathroom of the apartment and there dismembered it.

Then he wrapped the parts of the body up in either five or six pieces, he doesn't remember which, and when daylight came he took the packages about Fort Lee ferryboats during several trips and dropped the packages overboard.

These trips, so he told the police in his confession, took up the better part of the day following the murder and the next. Toward dusk of the second day, while trying to wash away signs of his crime from the flat, he came across a part of the mattress which was so soaked with blood that he could not obliterate the stains.

Burned Stained Cloth.

Whereupon Schmidt told the police and others yesterday he took the stained cloth of the mattress at nightfall to a vacant lot in 144th street between Seventh and Eighth avenues.

In a "gospel tent" on the lot a religious revival was going on when Schmidt went there with a bundle under his arm. All about the lot are stones like those which Schmidt used to weight down the five or six parcels containing the head, upper torso, lower torso, legs and arms of the girl he had murdered.

He told the police during an early morning visit to the lot yesterday that he had got the stones for weighting the body at this place.

Some boys were playing about the lot near the tent, Schmidt asked them to help him gather firewood. The boys, glad to have a bonfire started, helped him. And they stood around while he burned the bloody bedclothes.

Steps taken by Inspector Faurot and his detectives resulted in the arrest of Schmidt when the inspector on Saturday afternoon just before dusk decided that inasmuch as Francis D. Day, who had "identified" the few parts of the dismembered body of the girl found in the North River as his sister only to admit later that he was mistaken, it was time to take drastic measures to run down the very few hopeful clues still remaining in New York.

Fine Detective Work.

A bit of detective work that Coroner Feinberg yesterday spoke of as "something that puts the best work Scotland Yard or Paris to shame" then was brought about.

Inspector Faurot, accompanied by Detectives J. J. O'Neill, John O'Connekk, Frank Casassa, Richard McKenna and Thomas Horan, decided to look up an apartment house at 68 Bradhurst avenue.

At this address had been delivered two of twelve pillow cases of a particular pattern corresponding to the pillow case materials about the severed parts of the murdered girl found in the river. Ten of the pillow cases already had been accounted for.

When George Sachs of 2768 Eighth avenue had told the police four days ago that he had sold two of the peculiarly patterned pillow cases to a tenant at the Bradhurst avenue address Detective O'Neill had been assigned to the "plant."

During the four days preceding the arrest of yesterday morning, O'Neill had watched the flat where the pillow cases had been delivered, but no one had come near it.

There was one flat in the apartment house which was of interest to the other tenants. It has been rented, the neighbors knew, but so far as any one had seen no furniture had been delivered there except a bed and bed clothes.

On two occasions, the tenants said yesterday, they had seen a woman enter the flat, whom they identified yesterday upon being shown photographs of Anna Aumuller.

At times too they had seen Schmidt enter the flat, always dresses in "citizen's clothes," as the tenants put it. Usually he carried a bundle. They could hear voices in the apartment at times, always about midnight or later.
The tenants had wondered, they said yesterday, why it was that the dumb-waiter leading to the apartment never had stopped at the third floor rear with meat or vegetables for the mysterious occupants of the flat.

No Answer to Bell.

Inspector Faurot late on Saturday night decided that the mysterious flat should be investigated. The inspector rang the doorbell repeatedly. There was no answer. On an order from the inspector Detective Frank Cassassa went around to the rear of the building and climbed the fire escape that ran past a window of the apartment.

The window was locked. Cassassa said yesterday that he finally got it open with the aid of his jackknife and entered the kitchen. Only a short survey of the kitchen and bathroom was enough to cause Cassassa to press the button that admitted Inspector Faurot and his detectives.

These are the things the inspector and his men found in the apartment. In the kitchen were six eggs, a loaf of bread, part of a roll, a coffee strainer, two empty milk bottles, four empty ginger ale bottles and some sugar, a cook book printed in German, a bottle of ink, a black skirt, black waist and blue calico skirt and some underwear in a drawer.

On the kitchen sink shelf was a long butcher's knife stained with blood. Near by was a carpenter's saw, which Schmidt later said he had bought in Centre street between Police Headquarters and the Criminal Courts Building, where he also had bought the knife, and with these two implements he had killed Anna Aumuller and had dismembered her.

There were three photographs in the apartment, one a bust picture of Anna Aumuller and the other a full length picture of her. The third was a picture of a woman whose identity the police would not disclose.
Also the inspector and detectives came upon a man's boat of mixed gray with the name "A. Van Dyke," a name the police say Schmidt has used at times, in the inside pocket.

There were bits of underwear like that used to wrap the torso of the body found in the river. Also there were a spool containing a few lengths of milliner's wire and some heavy cord, wire and cord the same as that used to tie up two of the parcels containing parts of the body found in the river.

More Clues Found.

There was a piece of a New York morning paper dated August 31 and the police took this because one of the packages dragged out of the water was wrapped partly in a piece of the same paper of that date.

All about were evidences that some one had tried to wash away much blood, but as hurriedly had the job been done that the corners of the room, especially the bathroom, had been overlooked.

There was a revolver and a few cartridges, two trunks, a receipted bill showing that "H. Schmidt" had bought from George Sachs, 2762 Eighth avenue, a white enamel bed, a mattress and two pillows, for all of which $12.63 had been paid.

But of chief importance to the police was a letter. It was addressed to Anna Aumuller. What the letter contained the police would not say yesterday. It was admitted, however, that after reading it Inspector Faurot and his detectives climbed into automobiles to look up Joseph Igler at 423 East Seventieth street and also made note of five other addresses in the letter.

Igler, the letter said, is a cousin of Anna Aumuller. He is a boatman employed at Central Park. He didn't "give a damn about Anna Aumuller," Igler told Inspector Faurot. Anna had come to America two years ago, Igler said. She had some here on a Hamburg-American boat in the second cabin.

"I got her a job at St. Boniface's Church," said Igler, "and that's the last I heard from her."

Which was quite sufficient for the police. The inspector and his men, taking Igler with them, climbed into their cars - it was now about 8:30 o'clock Saturday night - to go to St. Boniface's and ask about Anna and to try to find out also who the "Schmidt," usually spoken of as "Schmidtty" in the letter found in the flat by the police, was.

Girl Was a Servant.

The Rev. Father John S. Braun, pastor of St. Boniface's Church, came into the parlor. Father Braun upon being shown the photographs of Anna Aumuller found in her flat said that he recognized the girl as a servant who once had worked for him.

"Do you know anybody named Hans Schmidt, father?" asked the inspector.

Father Braun told briefly all that he knew of Schmidt and added some details about Anna Aumuller.

Schmidt came to Father Braun's, the rector of St. Boniface's said, in December 1910, from Trenton. A priest whom Father Braun did not mention by name had recommended Schmidt to him when Father Braun was in need of a curate. Anna Aumuller was a servant in the house at the time.

"My sister, who is my housekeeper," Father Braun told reporters later in the day, "took a little trip with me to Europe in 1911, and while we were away Anna had trouble with the servant who temporarily was taking taking my sister's place. Anna quit. After we came back from Europe she came to ask for her place again and she was reengaged.

"If any intimacy between Anna and Schmidt began while there were both here it must have been while I was in Europe. Certainly I never saw anything wrong.

"Schmidt I might call an "average priest." Although he performed his duties here acceptably, there was always something about him that seemed mysterious to me. Usually his face bore an expression of meek piety, but at times he suddenly would glare like a lion.

A Jekyll and Hyde.

"I was so interested in these changes of expression that I tried to puzzle out what caused them, but couldn't. He was the nearest to Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde so far as expression is concerned that I ever saw. Although we got on fairly well enough together I can't say that we ever quite harmonized."

Father Braun said that in May, 1912, Schmidt told him that he had decided to go back to Germany. Schmidt was busy with his packing when word came to Father Braun that an assistant priest was needed temporarily up at St. Joseph's church in West 125th street.

Schmidt went to St. Joseph's, supposedly to stay only a short while, but liked the place so much that he remained there until arrested for the murder of Anna Aumuller yesterday morning.

As soon as Inspector Faurot had got the address of St. Joseph's parish house he and the detectives motored there. Shortly before midnight a ring at the bell brought Father Hunten, a curate, to the door. There was a priest named Hans Schmidt in the house, said Father Hunten.

Inspector Faurot said yesterday that Schmidt, sleepy eyed, came down to the reception room of the parish house wearing "clerical garb, including a stole." The inspector, for reasons of his own, promptly introduced himself as head of the detective bureau and then introduced the men with him, being careful to say "Detective" before each name.

Then the inspector showed a picture of Anna Aumuller to Schmidt and asked whether or not Schmidt knew her. Schmidt said he didn't. For half an hour the inspector and detectives quizzed Schmidt with little success. Suddenly he swayed.

Admits He Killed Her.

Detective Cassassa jumped forward quickly and supported the man or Schmidt would have fallen.

"Yes, I killed her," the inspector says Schmidt told him when he had recovered from his weakness. For a long time the police tried to get from Schmidt why he had done the murder. He would only answer, "Because I loved her."

Then he told his story.

He was born in Bavaria, he began, in 1881, where his father and mother still live and when 12 years old had gone to college there until 18 years old. Next he had entered a seminary and was ordained "by the Bishop of Mains" (he said later that he had been ordained, as has been said, "by St. Elizabeth of Hungary").

To the police, he said that he had entered a seminary at Mainz, when he was 18 years old. He said he was ordained a priest on September 23, 1904. He told father Evers later in the Tombs that he was ordained on Christmas Day, 1906.

"The reason I killed Anna," he told Father Evers also, "was that St. Elizabeth, who ordained me, told me to give a sacrifice in blood."

"why did you throw the parts of the body in the river?" Father Evers asked him.

"Because every sacrifice must be consummated in blood and water," Schmidt answered simply.

First he was curate at a church at Darmstadt, Germany, St. Elizabeth's he said it was. He was at St. Elizabeth's six months when he got sick and went home for a year. He said he came to the United States in 1907 and was a curate in a church at Louisville for a while and then came to Trenton. From Trenton he came to St. Boniface's in December, 1910.

Inspector Faurot now took Schmidt up to his bedroom in the rectory of St. Joseph's. While Schmidt, upon orders from the inspector, was donning a dark sack suit that hung in a closet, the detectives looked over Schmidt's effects and found about 500 cards, cheaply printed, that interested the detectives especially, because it has been said so often that the dismemberment of the murdered girl was done by some one who knew something about anatomy.

The cards read: "Dr. Emil Moliere, Formally Assistant Surgeon, Municipal Women's Hospital, Paris, France." Then at the bottom of the cards, "Representative of the Chemical Hygenic Manufacturing Company of Demoralle, France."

When the man was dressed for the street the inspector took him to the Bradhurst avenue flat. Here he told, as he told subsequently at Headquarters and at the Tombs, how he had entered the flat, found Anna sleeping and had killed her by cutting her throat. He had dragged the body to the bathroom, he said, and had cut it up so that it made five or six bundles.

The work of dismembering the body and wrapping the parts had taken most of the night, Schmidt said. Early the next morning he went down stairs carrying the head wrapped in what Schmidt called "brown paper" (the parts of the body found were wrapped in a tar paper of a brownish color) and boarded an Eighth avenue car.

Crossed River in Ferryboat.

At 125th street he changed to a cross-town car running west. The he boarded a ferryboat of the Fort Lee Line and from a secluded position aft had waited until the boat was in midstream, where he threw the package containing the head overboard.

He went back to the Bradhurst avenue flat again and again to repeat his trips to dispose of the packages. Night came on and he went back to the rectory with either two or three of the packages still in the flat.

The next day he went to the flat early and throughout the day took away the last of the packages and dropped them into the river from the Fort Lee ferryboat. Schmidt says he dropped all of the parcels overboard in broad daylight. Each was weighted with a stone.

After he had disposed of the five or six bundles he devoted the late afternoon hours to cleaning up the flat. Then he took the part of the bedding that was too bloodstained to wash to the vacant lot in West 144th street.

From that evening, which was September 4, to now he has been performing his duties as priest at St. Joseph's Church, baptizing a child as late as Saturday.

When Schmidt had gone over parts of his story again in the flat where he had murdered the girl, he was taken about 3 o'clock yesterday morning, first to the lot in West 144th street, where he showed the inspector and detectives the charred bits of bed clothes he had burned there, and then to the West 152d street station house.

Janitor Picks Him Out.

The janitor of the Bradhurst apartment house was sent for. The janitor, Carlton Brooker, went into the station house as Inspector Faurot was lining up Schmidt, dressed in a dark blue sack suit, straw hat, a narrow black four-in-hand cravat and black shoes, with four prisoners just taken from cells for the purpose.

Brooker immediately picked out Schmidt as the man who had rented the flat where Anna Aumuller was killed. Schmidt had cam to Brooker, the janitor said, on August 25 and had paid $5 on the rent of the flat.

Two days later, according to Brooker, Schmidt had come back and had got the keys to the apartment, paid the balance of the first month's rent and then had a special lock placed on the door, paying $2 additional for the lock, and said that he wanted a lock which could not be opened even by the janitor's pass key.

That afternoon the bed and bedding were moved into the flat. Schmidt had told the janitor in the meantime that his "wife will be here soon." Anne Aumuller came there that night, August 27. It was not until August 31, however, that Anna announced to Father Braun that she was about to leave "to be married."

Schmidt said when first arrested that he was married to Anna Aumuller, but later said he wasn't. In his room at St. Joseph's rectory was a marriage license taken out in the names of Hans Schmidt and Anna Aumuller, dated February 26, 1913. When first admitting that he and the girl had been married he said in answer to a question as to where and by whom he and the girl had been wedded, "I'm a priest and so I married us myself."

The girl would have become a mother in about four months.

From the West 152d street station house Schmidt was taken to Police Headquarters. Assistant District Attorney Murphy and Coroner Feinberg were summoned by Inspector Faurot. To both the Coroner and to Mr. Murphy Schmidt repeated substantially the same story he had told Inspector Faurot. Neither Coroner Feinberg nor Mr. Whitman's representative would go into details of their talk with the prisoner, although both did say that he had confessed to the murder.

Schmidt was taken to the Tombs during the forenoon, where he said he was both hungry and sleepy. He ate a hearty meal and then promptly went into a sleep that was interrupted only by the visit of a Catholic police chaplain.

Called Himself Impostor.

It was learned later that Schmidt during a string of statements about his connection with the Church which were at variance with statements he had made earlier said that he was "an impostor and once was arrested in Munich as an impostor."

The only motive advanced by the police as to cause of the crime is that Schmidt, fearing that the birth of a child to the girl would cause disclosure of his relations with the woman, which of course would bring punishment from his superiors, decided to kill her.

Before going to the Tombs Schmidt readily showed Inspector Faurot the shop in Centre street where he had bought the knife and saw used in the murder and dismemberment.

The portions of the body taken from the river will be brought over from the New Jersey side to-day and an inquest will be held by Coroner Feinberg here.

The Coroner, after hearing Schmidt's story yesterday, held a hearing in Inspector Faurot's office at Headquarters, after which Schmidt was held on a charge of homicide.

Finger prints taken by Inspector Faurot's men corresponded with the bloody finger prints on the saw found in the Bradhurst avenue flat and with the many finger prints that mark the packages containing Anna Aumuller's body, taken from the river.

Schmidt admitted that among other activities he had sold patent medicine preparations, the nature of which he did not explain. The name "Dr. Emil Moliere" on the cards found in his room took on added significance when Schmidt told the police that Gertrude Moliere was his mother's maiden name.

The pictures of Anna Aumuller found by the police show a rather prepossessing girl, although some persons who knew her said yesterday that the photographs "flattered" her. She was about 24 years old.

Schmidt, whose age the police recorded as 33 years, is sallow faced with glassy eyes, whose general appearance and actions yesterday caused many to think that he is addicted to drugs.

Sent Back from Trenton.

Bishop McFaul Though Schmidt Mentally Irresponsible.

Trenton, Sept. 14. - Bishop James A. McFaul of the Trenton diocese said to-day that he believes Schmidt, the alleged murderer, is not mentally responsible. The Bishop formed this opinion, he said, when Schmidt was serving temporarily as pastor of St. Francis's Church in this city, and it was because of that fact that Schmidt's services here were brought to an early close.

Schmidt came to Trenton in 1910, having been "borrowed" from New York, as Bishop McFaul expressed it to-night, to fill temporarily the pastorate of the Rev. Dr. Joseph Rathner, who went abroad that year for his health. Schmidt served for seven months as pastor of St. Francis's Church and then was released to return to New York.

So far as could be learned to-night there was no actual breach between Bishop McFaul and Schmidt, although the Bishop admitted that his impression of Schmidt was distinctly an unfavorable one.

Bishop McFaul said to-night that he knew little of the record or antecedents of Schmidt other than that he had been sent here from New York. It was understood that Schmidt was a graduate of the University of Munich, coming to this country from Germany.

While on his vacation last July Schmidt made a brief visit to Trenton. He spent two days at the priest's house of St. Francis's Church. There was nothing about the condition of Schmidt at that time to excite comment.

Studied in Louisville.

Hans Schmidt Went There in 1909 From Germany.

Louisville, Ky., Sept. 14. - Though Hans Schmidt studied English in Louisville for nearly a year, those who were associated with him closely were able to-night to tell little of his work while here. Other than that he was a close student and exceedingly quiet, nothing could be added.

At the end of nine months study Father Westerman said Schmidt spoke English fluently. He then left for Trenton, N.J., and since then has not returned to Louisville. Schmidt, according to Father George W. Schumann, pastor of St. John's Roman Catholic Church, came from Bavaria. His father was chief of detectives of the Bavarian railroad.

Priest Admits Girl's Murder, The Sun, 15 September 1913, page 1, column 7, and page 2, column 1.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thriller Thursday - Doubt Schmidt's Standing

Doubt Schmidt's Standing.

Church Investigates His Record - Dismissed from Charges.

When Mgr. Lavelle, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of New York, was asked last night if there was any doubt as to Schmidt's pretensions to ordination, he said:

"That is something which we are trying to clear up now. I know practically nothing of the man. He came to this diocese with credentials which were apparently in every way authentic and genuine. We hope, of course, to be able to prove that this unspeakable monster was an impostor and that he had been using forged papers. Fathers Sullivan and Evers of St. Andrew's Church were unable to obtain from him information as to where he was ordained or the circumstances of his first entry into the Church.

"An investigation was made in Schmidt's case when he came here with the result that we learned that he had officiated regularly as a priest. We found nothing wrong with his record except that he had once been disciplined by the Church. I am not at liberty to say when or where this happened, but for your information and of the public I will say that the offense was not one constituting moral turpitude, but merely an infringement of a rule of the discipline in the priesthood.

"It is too horrible to conceive," Mgr. Lavelle continued: "we can only hope that he may prove to have been a pseudo-priest."

Father Luke J. Evers, chaplain of the Tombs and pastor of St. Andrew's Church in City Hall Place, visited Hans Schmidt yesterday afternoon in his cell in the Tombs at the request of Mgr. Lavelle, to whom he afterward made a report on what he had learned about the priest. Last night in the parish house of the church he told a reporter about his visit.

Father Evers said he had come to the conclusion that Schmidt had never been ordained into the priesthood and was masquerading as a priest of the church. Schmidt, he said, did not appear to be in the soundest mental condition, as his talk at times had been rambling and vague.

When asked why he had killed Anna Aumuller, Schmidt replied, Father Evers says "I was in love with the girl, and I wanted her to go to heaven. It was necessary to make a sacrifice, and the sacrifice had to be consummated in blood in the same manner as Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac."

When Father Evers asked him why he had cut up her body and carried the fragments to the river, Schmidt replied that sacrifices must be consummated in blood and water. Schmidt said that the fragments in the water would go into "clouds of eternity." He added that he expected to meet the girl in heaven.

"Schmidt," said Father Evers, "told me he was a priest. He said he came from the City of Mainz, Germany, where he had lived a year. He first said he had been ordained a priest by the Bishop of Mainz, and that he had left that diocese for Munich because the Bishop did not like him. In Munich, he said, the Bishop of Mainz had caused his arrest for impersonating a priest. I told him that is the Bishop of Mainz had ordained him, the Bishop would not afterward have had him arrested for not being a priest. He then told me that it was not the Bishop of Mainz, but St. Elizabeth, the patron saint of Hungary, who had ordained him."

Father Evers said that from what he could get out of Schmidt the latter came to this country in 1907 or 1908, and having no friends here went to the Leo House for Immigrants in Battery Place. After remaining here a short time he went to Louisville, Ky., where he remained six months. He got into trouble of some kind, and the Bishop told him to go. He then went to Trenton, and later came to New York. Here, he told Father Evers, he met a German friend, who introduced him to a German priest in the city. This priest in turn introduced him to Father Braun, pastor of St. Boniface's. He remained at this parish for four months, when Father Braun dismissed him, and it was then that he went to St. Joseph's, in Harlem.

The Rev. Father Huntmann, rector of St. Joseph's Church, was weeping when he received reporters there yesterday in the study of his church. He said:
"All that I have to say is that I have told the proper officials the facts of the case as I know them. I do not care to say anything else."

A story told by some of the parishioners of the church yesterday was that Father Schmidt confessed his crime first to Father Huntmann and that the police were notified by him. Father Huntmann would not talk about the matter.

Father Braun of St. Boniface's Church said yesterday that Schmidt had originally come to his church on the recommendation of some one in Trenton. During his stay at St. Boniface's, Schmidt did not make a good impression on persons he came in contact with, according to Father Braun, who said:
"I did not like the man myself and was glad when he left here. There was never any objection to the way that he discharged his duties, but his personality was displeasing. He seemed humble and meek at times, but occasionally there was a fierce expression on his face and his manner was disagreeable. His relations with Miss Aumuller could not have existed while I was here. It must have been during the time that I was in Europe."

Doubt Schmidt's Standing, The New York Times, 15 September 1913.

Thriller Thursday - River Murder Traced to Priest


River Murder Traced to Priest Who Confesses

Is Rev. Hans Schmidt, Assistant at St. Joseph's, Harlem, Victim a Servant Girl.

He Lived a Double Life

Went Through Marriage Form with Anna Aumuller, Killed and Dismembered Her.

Traced By Pillow Case

To Apartment They Shared, Where He Slew Her in Her Sleep in the Night.

Full Proof of The Crime

Confronted in His Parish House Slayer Breaks Down and Tells All - Suicide Plan Frustrated.

The Rev. Hans Schmidt, assistant pastor of St. Joseph's Church, at 405 West 125th Street, confessed early yesterday morning in the rectory of that church to Inspector Faurot and Detective Cassassa that he was the murderer of the young woman parts of whose dismembered body have been found on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. The murdered woman was Anna Aumuller, 21 years old, a servant who had been employed at St. Boniface's Church, Second Avenue and Forty-seventh Street, where Schmidt had been a priest. She was killed and dismembered shortly before midnight on Sept. 2 in an apartment on the third floor of an apartment house at 68 Bradhurst Avenue. The priest and the girl had obtained a marriage license in this city on Feb. 26 of this year, and Schmidt told the detectives that he officiated at a ceremony which was intended to unite himself and the young woman. He had given her a wedding ring, which he took from her finger after slaying her.

In his confession Schmidt said that he had frequently posed as a physician under various names. Inspector Faurot said that evidence was found in his room to show that he was interested in the sale of preparations familiar in criminal medical practice.

His Motive Uncertain.

The Rev. Father Luke J. Evers, Tombs Chaplain and pastor of St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church in City Hall Place, interviews the prisoner in the Tombs last night. He said that, when asked why he had killed the young woman, Schmidt replied:
"I loved her. Sacrifices should be consummated in blood."

The only reply Inspector Faurot and Assistant District Attorney Deacon Murphy could get from Schmidt when they asked his motive for killing the girl was: "I loved her."

Schmidt refused to say whether she had threatened to expose their relations. While he talked freely about the manner in which he had committed the crime and attempted to conceal the traces, he displayed extreme reluctance to discuss his motives.

Anna Aumuller was born in a small German village, and had been in this country for five years, working at several addresses in New York as a maid. Her only known relative in America is Robert Igler of 428 East Seventieth Street, a boatman in Central Park.

Schmidt's confession bore out the statement of County Physician King of New Jersey that the woman had given birth prematurely to a child shortly before she was murdered. Schmidt refused to tell whether he had been guilty of malpractice.

Schmidt's Account of Himself.

According to his own account of himself Schmidt was born in Aschaffenburg, Germany, in 1881. He attended public schools in that city until he was 12 years old, and then went to Mainz, where he attended college. At the age of 18 he enrolled in St. Augustine's Seminary in Mainz, and on Dec. 23, 1904, was ordained by Bishop Kestein of that institution. He was then assigned to St. Elizabeth's Church in Darmstadt, where he remained for six months. Next he was assigned to a village church in Burgel.

After being in poor health for a year, according to Schmidt, he came to this country on the North German Lloyd Line. After a short time in this city he went to Louisville, Ky. In 1909 he was connected with a church in Trenton, N. J. In December, 1910, he became assistant to Father Braun, rector of St. Boniface's Church, at Second Avenue and Forty-seventh Street. Here it was that he met Anna Aumuller.

In November, 1912, Schmidt left St. Boniface's Church and became an assistant to the Rev. Gerard H. Huntmann, rector of St. Joseph's Church in 125th Street. Schmidt was connected with this church when he committed the murder, and he continued in the exercise of his functions up to the time of his arrest yesterday morning.

It could hardly be said that Schmidt was even under suspicion up to the time that Inspector Faurot and Detective Cassassa introduced themselves to him in the office of St. Joseph's rectory on Saturday shortly before midnight. The shudder and appearance of alarm, however, that passed over the man when he learned who his visitors were, amounted almost to a confession, according to Inspector Faurot.

Pillowcase the Clue.

The pillowcase in which the upper part of the torso of the murdered body was wrapped furnished the clue which brought about the arrest and confession of Schmidt. When this was fished out of the Hudson on Sept. 5, a tag was found attached to it bearing the name of the Robinson-Roders Company of Newark and the figures "89" written in pencil. The books of the Robinson-Roders Company showed that only twelve pillows of this size and pattern had been manufactured, and that all twelve had been sold to George Sachs, a furniture dealer at 2,768 Eighth Avenue. Sachs had all but two of these in his stock. One was traced to a woman who was found to know nothing of the crime.

Inspector Faurot obtained from Sachs a list of all the pillows which he had sold since last March, when the twelve pillows were purchased from the Robinson-Roders Company. There were nearly forty pillows on the list, and these were carefully traced by Detectives Bennett and Charlock from the Prosecutor's office in Hudson County, Lieut. O'Neill of the East 152d Street Station, and several detectives from Headquarters.

There was an item in Sachs's books of the sale on Aug. 25 of two pillows, a chair, bedsprings, and a white enameled bed for a total of $12.68. All these had been delivered to 68 Bradhurst Avenue. Lieut. O'Neill, who was assigned to follow this clue, learned from Carlton Brooker, Superintendent of the building at 68 Bradhurst Avenue, that this furniture had been moved into a four-room apartment on the south side of the third floor in the rear.

The apartment had been engaged in the name of Hans Schmidt on Aug. 25, the day that the furniture had been purchased from Sachs. Schmidt had told Brooker that he was engaging the apartment and furnishing it for a young woman, a relative of his, who was soon to be married.

It was last Monday that the detectives first visited 68 Bradhurst Avenue. Since that time Inspector Faurot has kept men watching the place day and night. During these five days no one visited the apartment. This circumstance aroused suspicion more and more, and when other clues had been investigated and one by one proved false, Inspector Faurot grew impatient and on Saturday night decided to break into the apartment.

The Apartment Entered.

Accompanied by Lieut. O'Neill, Detectives Cassassa, McKenna, and Thomas Horan and Stenographer O'Connell, Inspector Faurot entered the apartment at 6 o'clock on Saturday night with a key obtained from the Superintendent of the building.

A glance about the flat was enough to convince them that the murder had been committed there. There was a dark stain on the green wall paper of the room in which the bed lay and another stain on the floor of the hall between the bedroom and bathroom. The stain on the floor had been almost effaced by scrubbing. A new scrubbing brush was found in the sink in the kitchen and six cakes of soap on the drain board beside it.

The springs lay on the white-enameled bed, by the mattress, pillow and bedding had been removed. The only furniture in the apartment besides the bed was a single cheap wicker-bottomed chair, a refrigerator and a stove in the kitchen. The refrigerator and stove came with the apartment.

There were two trunks, a steamer trunk and a small zinc trunk. On the small one lay a tin box and a small wooden box which had contained a package of paper. There were opened first and emptied of fifty or sixty letters written to Anna Aumuller at various addresses. Some of the letters were several years old and quite a number were in German. There were also a good many postal cards.

When they opened the large trunk the detectives found on top of a heap of women's clothes a butcher knife fifteen inches long and a large hand-saw. The knife had been recently ground on a stone and both had been scoured.

Beside the knife and saw, nothing was found in the two trunks but a woman's wearing apparel. There were three worn suits of dark material, several calico working dresses and a number of waists and undergarments.

Several pocket handkerchiefs were found, on each of which a small "A" had been embroidered. These bore a startling resemblance to the initial on the pillow-slip in which the lower part of the torso of the murdered woman had been wrapped.

In the kitchen were found six empty ginger ale bottles, a sack of granulated sugar, part of a loaf of bread, a bread knife, a glass water pitcher, and two drinking glasses. In the cupboard there was also a glass inkwell and a glass stamp-moistener. The refrigerator contained nothing except an empty milk bottle. In a closet were hung a blue calico working dress, a black waist, and a black dress. The only man's garment in the apartment was a dark gray coat hanging in the bathroom. Sewed in an inside pocket was the name "A. Van Dyke."

Traced to the Rectory.

Inspector Faurot parceled the letters out among the detectives to be read for the names and addresses of persons who might be acquainted with the girl. Most of the letters appeared to be from women and from relatives in Germany. None threw any direct light on the murder, so the detectives picked out three addresses where the girl had worked, and set out to learn what they could about her from these places. They went first to places on Sixtieth Street and on Seventieth Street. Inspector Faurot said that little was learned about the girl at these two places. He declined to name the families with whom she had worked as a servant.

The third place was the rectory of St. Boniface's Church, on Forty-seventh Street and Second Avenue, where the detectives saw the pastor, the Rev. J. S. Braun. He said that the girl had entered his employ on Dec. 10, 1912. Shortly after this Father Braun and his sister made a trip to Europe, leaving the rectory in charge of a housekeeper who had trouble with the girl and discharged her. After the return of Father Braun in May, Miss Aumuller again applied for a place. She remained there till Aug. 31, when Father Braun discharged her, he said, because he was not satisfied with her way of life.

Inspector Faurot questioned Father Braun at length about the girl's friends and habits. When he learned that there was a priest named Hans Schmidt connected with the rectory while the girl had been there, Inspector Faurot remembered that the same name was given by the man who had engaged the apartment at 68 Bradhurst Avenue. When he learned that Schmidt was then connected with St. Joseph's on 125th Street, the Inspector promptly closed the interview and started for that address in his automobile.

"We were still bothered by the fact that no one in a priest's garb had ever appeared at the apartment," said Inspector Faurot yesterday. "We were by no means certain that Schmidt was implicated. It seemed rather unlikely, as a matter of fact. We expected, however, that Schmidt would know something about it, especially if it was he who had rented the apartment."

Inspector Faurot, Detective Cassassa, and Stenographer O'Connor left the automobile and went up the steps of St. Joseph's rectory a few minutes before midnight. They rang the bell several times before the door was answered by a priest. It was explained that the three visitors had come on an important mission to see Father Schmidt. The priest showed them into a small office of the rectory and went away to call Schmidt. In about five minutes the man came slowly down the steps and entered the hall, dressed in priest's attire. He hesitated a moment when he reached the bottom of the steps, and then walked into the office.

Faurot Faces Schmidt.

Inspector Faurot jumped to his feet walked toward him, and said:
"Father Schmidt, I am Inspector Faurot and there are Detectives Cassassa and O'Connor."

The nervous shock Schmidt experienced convinced the detectives that they were at the end of their search for the murderer. The priest threw up his hands as if to clasp them over his face. A strong effort of will overcame this gesture and he pressed his hands tightly over his breast. The he nodded and waited, with his body trembling, for Inspector Faurot to say more.

"We are looking for the murderer of Anna Aumuller." said the Inspector.

A second shudder passed over the man but he nodded again and remained silent.

"Did you know the girl?" asked the Inspector.

"No." said Schmidt slowly, looking from side to side as he spoke. "I do not recall the name."

After Schmidt had several times denied knowing the girl, Inspector Faurot pulled from his pocket a photograph of the girl found in the apartment, and thrust it suddenly before the priest's eyes, exclaiming:
"What? You didn't know that woman?"

Schmidt recoiled and hid his eyes with his hands. Inspector Faurot kept the photograph before him, insisting that he should look at it. The priest took his hands away from his eyes and stared at the picture. Then he shook his head, denying that he knew the girl.

Inspector Faurot put more questions to him about the girl and about the apartment at 68 Bradhurst Avenue, The priest shook his head or answered in the negative each time, but finally, when the questions revealed how much the detectives knew, he sank into a chair and began to weep. Inspector Faurot placed his hand on the man's shoulder and told him to brace up.

"Don't lose your nerve." urged the Inspector. "Brace up and tell us the truth. You murdered Anna Aumuller. We know all about it. Now, control yourself and tell us the truth."

"Yes, I killed her." said Schmidt at the end of a fit of weeping. "I killed her because I loved her. I am guilty and I am ready to pay the penalty."

After this admission Schmidt's reticence was at an end, and he was ready to go into the most complete detail regarding his deed. He was averse to discussing his motive and would only repeat, when questioned about it, that he loved her.

After he had described the crime, Schmidt rose to his feet and said he wished to go to the bathroom.
"Search him." ordered the Inspector.

Schmidt submitted while the two detectives went through his clothes. In an outside pocket they found a razor, which Schmidt had clasped in his hand when he stood up.

After this had been taken away from him, Schmidt told the Inspector that when he was awakened he feared that men had come to arrest him and that he had put a razor in his pocket before coming downstairs. If he had seen men in police uniform in the office, he said, he would have cut his throat before a word was said to him.

Inspector Faurot then ordered Schmidt to dress in civilian clothes and detectives watched him while the priest made the change.

Schmidt admitted his relations with the young woman while he was a priest and she was a domestic servant at St. Boniface's rectory. He told how he and the girl had obtained a marriage license in February and he had performed the marriage ceremony. Schmidt told the police that he considered this a legal marriage and that he had officiated at it himself because he would be expelled from the church if the fact became known.

Resolves to Kill Her.

The young woman had lived in the apartment, Schmidt said, after she lost her place on Aug 31. It was on about that day, he said, that he had finally resolved to kill her. He then purchased the butcher knife and saw at the store of Stern & Co., dealers in second-hand machinery, at 116 Centre Street, directly opposite the Criminal Courts Building, where Schmidt in all probability will be tried for murder.

He took the knife and saw with him to his room at the rectory and kept them there two days. Armed with these weapons, he went shortly before midnight to the apartment at 68 Bradhurst Avenue. He told Inspector Faurot that he turned on the electric light in the bathroom only so that the sudden illumination would not rouse the girl, whom he knew to be sleeping in the next room.

"She never knew what happened," Schmidt said.

With the knife, found later, Schmidt cut the woman's throat. Almost immediately after inflicting the death wound, he carried her into the bathroom, placed the body in the tub and proceeded to dismember it with the knife and saw. He cut the body into seven pieces, severing the head first. Then he removed the arms and severed the trunk. The legs were next amputated at the hip and severed again below the knees.

Physicians who examine parts of the body have agreed that the dismemberment was expertly done. When the detectives questioned Schmidt about this, he said that he had studied surgery for several months in Germany.

Most of the precautions taken by Schmidt in attempting to cover the evidence of his crime had been planned in advance. Before the murder he had provided himself with a spool of milliner's wire and with several sheets of tar paper.

Schmidt wrapped up the head in a sheet and blanket, but before he had placed the wire and tar paper around it it occurred to him that it might be well to weight it with a rock. He made a trip to a vacant lot on 144th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, where several large pieces of New York schist were lying about.

Takes Body to the River.

It was some time after midnight when Schmidt left the place with the bundle under his arm. He took the crosstown car at 125th Street, he told Inspector Faurot, rode to Riverside Drive, and took the Fort Lee ferry. He stood on the rear end of the boat until it was half way across the river. Assuring himself that no one was near enough to see him through the darkness, he dropped the bundle overboard.

This was on the morning of Sept. 3, and three or four times before daybreak Schmidt repeated this. Each time he went first to the vacant lot and carried away a rock. Then, returning to his apartment, he made up a new bundle, carried it to the Fort Lee ferry, and dropped it overboard.

Schmidt could not tell the police how many times he had done this on the morning of Sept. 3. At any rate there were several pieces remaining, and these he disposed of in the same fashion on the night of the same day. He used up all the sheets and blankets on the bed, as well as the pillow and pillow-slip in which two parts of the body were found wrapped.

Schmidt regarded it was dangerous, he told detectives, to leave the blood-stained mattress in his room. On this account he rolled it up and carried it under his arm after nightfall on Sept. 4 or 5 to the vacant lot where he had picked up the rocks. With some burning papers he set fire to it where he had previously ripped it open with a knife.

A number of children gathered around him curiously, he said, while he was setting fire to the mattress, and when it began to burn brightly a large crowd collected in the lot and looked on. At the same time in another part of the lot several hundred persons were sitting under a small circus tent listening to the words of evangelists, preaching under the management of the Evangelical Committee at 541 Lexington Avenue.

Schmidt led Inspector Faurot and the detectives to this lot, showed them where he had found the rocks and where he had burned the mattress. A large part of it only scorched by the flames lay scattered about the ground.

The day after the mattress had been destroyed Schmidt spend hours scrubbing the floors of the apartment to remove traces of blood. He had intended, he told the detectives, to pack the trunks and remove them, so that no evidence would remain. He began to be afraid, however, that persons in the apartment were watching his movements. On this account, he stayed away a day or two and in the meantime the discovery was made of the torso floating in the Hudson. The publicity the case received after that day frightened him so much that he did not dare to return to the building.

The whole conversation which passed between the detectives and their prisoner after his arrest early yesterday morning was taken down by Stenographer O'Connor. At the same time Inspector Faurot began to round up witnesses. The first was Carlton Brooker, from whom Schmidt had rented the apartment. When Brooker arrived at the West 152d Street Station he found five men lined up against the wall. Without hesitation he identified Schmidt as the man who had taken the apartment. Brooker said that Schmidt had paid $5 down, and that the rental was to be $19 a month.

Before taking their prisoner to Headquarters, the Inspector and detectives visited his room at St. Joseph's rectory. Here they found among his personal belongings an opal ring and a gold wedding ring. Both of these, Schmidt said, he had given to Miss Aumuller and removed from her fingers after killing her.

Passed as a Surgeon.

In Schmidt's wardrobe was a woman's coat matching a skirt found in the flat. The keys to the apartment in Bradhurst Avenue and the rental receipt were also in his room. But what interested them more then all these and opened a new field for investigation were business cards bearing this inscription:

Dr. Emil Moliere, formerly Assistant Surgeon of the Municipal Women's Hospital, Paris, France. Representative of the Chemical Hygienic Manufacturing Company.

There were 500 of these cards. Schmidt said that he had sometimes described himself as Dr. Emil Moliere and that the cards were for his own use. Schmidt also admitted that he had described himself as a physician under various other names.

A number of bottles of medicine were found in the room. These, the detectives learned from Schmidt, were manufactured by a company in which he was interested, and their use was condemned by law. A number of certificates of stock in corporations manufacturing patent medicines were also discovered in the room.

Inspector Faurot said last night that he had questioned Schmidt about his pretenses of being a physician and about his interest in drug preparations intended for illegal use. The Inspector refused, however, to tell whether in his confession Schmidt had accused himself of criminal medical practice.

"There are some very important questions to be investigated concerning this case," said Faurot. "Schmidt was reluctant to talk about his remedies and his medical cards and stock. There may be much more to be said about this later."

Schmidt said that the name of Moliere, which he had taken in posing as a physician, was his mother's name. He declined to tell Inspector Faurot whether he had masqueraded as a doctor during the time that he was attached to a church.

It was about 5 o'clock yesterday morning when Schmidt was finally locked up at Police Headquarters. There he was subjected to an examination of two hours by Assistant District Attorney Deacon Murphy. Before it ended Schmidt signed his name to a short confession. At noon the prisoner was taken before Coroner Feinberg.

Inspector Faurot yesterday had most of the contents of the apartment at 68 Bradhurst Street removed to Police Headquarters. The letters written in German to Miss Aumuller have not been translated and it is expected by this means to learn something about her past life, about which very little is known at present.

In his statement to Assistant District Attorney Murphy, Schmidt said that his mother and father were living, and that he had several brothers and sisters in Germany. Most of them, he said, are in his native town, Aschaffenburg, Germany.

While Inspector Faurot, Assistant District Attorney Murphy and several detectives made a minute examination of the apartment yesterday afternoon a crowd of 3,000 persons gathered in front of the place and reserves from the West 152d Street Station were called out.

The crime, to which Schmidt has confessed was revealed on Sept. 5, then Mary Bann of Woodcliff, N. J., saw a brown bundle floating in the Hudson River near an abandoned dock on the New Jersey side, opposite Ninety-sixth Street. The bundle contained the upper part of the torso of the murdered woman.

On Sept. 7 the lower part of the torso was found in a bundle at the water's edge on the New Jersey side of the Hudson, near Weehawken. The two parts of the body were taken to the Hoboken Morgue, awaiting identification.
The police were thrown off the trail three times by persons who erroneously identified the remains. The first was Peter Sternemann, an aged millinery salesman, now under observation at the psychopathic ward of Bellevue Hospital. He was sure that the body was that of his daughter Ella, until she was found to be living on Long Island.

The second claimant of the body was Casper Jaanen of 303 West Thirty-third Street, a waiter. He identified the body as that of his wife, but the following day it was learned that she was alive and well in Havana.

The third was Francis Day of 206 Union Street, Brooklyn, who on Thursday said that the murdered woman was his sister Antoinette. The mother and two sisters of Antoinette Day, however, viewed the body on the following day and made an affidavit that it was not she.

River Murder Traced to Priest Who Confesses, The New York Times, 15 September 1913.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thriller Thursday - Police Again At Sea Over Jersey Murder

Police Again At Sea Over Jersey Murder

Brother of Annette Day Now Denies Body Is That of Missing Sister.

Deceived By Birthmark

Faurot and Men Working on Two New Clews Involving Motor Boat and Tales of Yonkers Boatmen.

What was considered by the police to be the most promising clew to the solution of the murder of the young woman, three parts of whose body have been found in the waters in the vicinity of the city was set to naught late yesterday afternoon, when Francis D. Day, his sister Mary and brother Salvatore visited the Hoboken morgue and declared the torso there was not that of their missing relative.

Francis visited the morgue Friday night and positively identified the body from the birthmarks on the right shoulder. Again at Police Headquarters, where he was in conference with Inspector Faurot, he reaffirmed his identification, and when leaving headquarters said there was no doubt whatever in his mind that the victim of the mysterious case was his sister, Annette Day.

The birthmark on the shoulder was what led Francis Day to declare he had identified the body, he admitted yesterday. Although he said he had never inspected the marks in his sister's shoulder carefully, he was sure Friday night that those on the torso were those on the skin of his missing sister, Annette.

One fact which convinced the Days yesterday that the girl was not their sister was the difference between the weight of the missing girl and the probable weight of the person whose body was in the morgue. Annette Day did not weigh more than one hundred pounds, it was asserted by her family, while the murdered girl must have been at least forty pounds heavier.

Inspector Faurot went to Hoboken yesterday afternoon to look at the parts of the dismembered body, and was at the morgue when the Days repudiated their identification. The inspector explained he had come to examine the body in order to be able to answer accurately numerous inquiries being made at his office.

"I was excited and worried," Francis Day said yesterday, "and was deceived by the fact that the bluish birthmark on the dead body is almost exactly like that on my sister's shoulder.

"My sister, however, was much smaller that the girl whose body was found. Annette did not weigh much more than 100 pounds, and her figure was not similar. Careful measurements were taken when I returned to the morgue again, and they prove that I was mistaken. In addition, we know positively that Annette was not in the physical condition that it is said the girl who was found was."

There were two other developments yesterday which looked promising to the police at work on the case. One was being personally investigated by Inspector Faurot in Yonkers, and the other was a story told Leonard Marcy, of the North Bergen police force. The second story concerns the mysterious disappearance of a motor boat said to be owned by a physician and a young man who is employed in one of the offices in the downtown business section of this city.

The boat was taken from its mooring, the Harlem River and 145th street, about the time which has been definitely fixed for the commission of the murder and the disposition of the girl's body.

When the first part of the body was found a week ago, the boat was seen at 145th street and the Harlem River, but the next day it went away, and nothing has been seen or heard of it since. The owners cannot be found. Marcy reported his findings to Inspector Faurot, who detailed men of his staff to investigate.

The other story is related by John Cummings and Louis E. Hecht, Yonkers boatmen.

Cummings told Inspector Faurot and the Yonkers officers that a week ago, about sundown, he rowed a stranger across the Hudson to the New Jersey shore. The man had a large suitcase, which was so heavy and large that it attracted Cummings's attention. The man would not let Cummings touch it, but lifted it in and out of the boat himself.

The stranger did not give Cummings his name, but said he lived at 14th street and Ninth avenue, New York, and wanted to cross the Hudson to visit relatives who lived in one of the small houses at the foot of the Palisades. When the Jersey shore was reached the man gave Cummings 75 cents and disappeared. The boatman says his passenger weighed about 140 pounds, was slight in build and smooth shaven. He wore a gray suit and straw hat.

When Cummings returned to Yonkers Louis E. Hecht, another river man who works about the docks with Cummings, told Cummings that while he was gone two other men, both carrying suitcases, came and asked to be rowed across. Hecht informed them he had no boat and they went away. They told him they came from New York on a trolley. Hecht said they looked like Spaniards or Italians.

These incidents aroused suspicion in the minds of Cummings and Hecht, especially as the regular ferry to Alpine, N. J., was running at the time the strangers asked to be rowed across.

Police Again At Sea Over Jersey Murder, New York Tribune, 14 September 1913, page 9, column 1.

Thriller Thursday - Motor Boat Clue in River Mystery

Motor Boat Clue in River Mystery

Police Assert They Know Man Who Threw Girl's Body Into the Hudson.

Was Not Annette Day

Family of Missing Brooklyn Woman Positive Torso Is Not Hers.

A "mysterious" motor boat is being sought by the police in an effort to solve the Hudson River murder after it was established definitely yesterday that the victim was not Miss Annette Day of Brooklyn, whose brother had identified the parts of the torso in the Hoboken morgue as those of his sister. The police admit that virtually nothing has been accomplished toward clearing the mystery since the discovery of the crime.

One after another theories have been exploded. As fast as theories broke down new ones have taken their places. The searchlight of publicity has disclosed many private troubles and laid bare family secrets, but has not shed any light on the murder mystery.

Decline to Name Suspect.

The police decline to say who owns the motor boat, several trips of which they believe may have had some connection with the slaying of the girl. It was from the boat that the police believe the parts of the body were thrown. The boat's owner is believed to have been responsible for the girl's death.

The boat went on a trip about the time when the crime is believed to have been committed. It is between twenty-five and forty-five feet long and can accommodate four persons nicely, the police say. The following facts about the craft were learned from Chief Leonard Marcy of North Bergen who spent yesterday in a launch following the trail of the motor boat.

The boat is owned by a man in New York, said to be prominent, whose close associate is a physician. This new "man in the case" is said to have had trouble of various occasions with women. About the end of August, accompanied by his physician friend, he went on a cruise with two women. The boat was absent from its moorings in the Harlem River - the exact place is kept secret by the police. No attempt has been made to arrest the men, as the police admit they have not enough evidence. Where the boat is now is not known to the police but many clues have been discovered.

Chief Marcy is Confident.

"It is evident," Chief Marcy told reporters yesterday, "that the crime was committed in Manhattan. That much is certain. I have a line on these men in the motor boat and expect something to develop before long. We think the motor boat was used to distribute the parts of the victim's body."

Detective Michael Lyons of the Weehawken station is still looking for the man who was seen on a car carrying two suit cases from which emanated disagreeable odors. This man, Detective Lyons believes, had in the suit case the parts of the victim's body.

Inspector Faurot is investigating a story told by Robert Cummings, who works around the docks at Yonkers. According to Cummings he was approached by a stranger Saturday a week ago, who asked him to row him across the Hudson River to New Jersey. The stranger carried a heavy suit case which he guarded carefully, says Cummings.

The man is described as being about 27 years old, weighed nearly 140 pounds, and was five feet eight inches in height. He wore a gray suit and was smooth shaven. The stranger told Cummings he lived at Fourteenth street and Ninth avenue.

Looked Like Italians.

Another dock hand, Louis Hecht, also was asked by two strangers to row them across the river. They too, carried suit cases, according to Hecht. Hecht refused and the men left. The strangers were described as having dark complexions and looking like Italians.

Inspector Faurot spent yesterday with the Day family, the members of which denied absolutely that the woman who had been murdered could have been Annette Day, who disappeared August from her sister's home in Tarrytown. Salvatore and Mary Day, brother and sister of the missing girl, viewed the torso in the Hoboken morgue and were certain it was not part of Annette's body. The physician who had been accused by Francis D. Day was located in California and said he had not seen the girl for many months.

Motor Boat Clue in River Mystery, The Sun, 14 September 1913, page 4, column 1.

Thriller Thursday - River Victim Not Missing Day Girl

River Victim Not Missing Day Girl 

Brother Retracts His Identification and Doctor She Knew Is Heard From.

Police Have a New Clue

Suggest That a Harlem Doctor Given to Motor Boating May Have Dismembered Woman's Body.

Francis Day of 206 Union Street, Brooklyn, who assured Inspector Faurot on Friday night that he had identified the torso in the Hoboken Morgue as part of the body of his sister, Antoinette Day, signed an affidavit in Hoboken, N. J., yesterday in which he asserted that he had been mistaken. The affidavit denying the torso was that of Antoinette Day was signed also by her mother, Mrs. Marietta Day, and her two sisters, Emma and Mary.

Young Day, with his mother and sisters, called at the morgue yesterday at noon and examined the body. A glance was enough to convince the two young women and their mother that the body was not that of their relative. The murdered woman, they said, had been much heavier and taller than the girl missing from their family.

Dr. Alfred Orrichia, whom detectives were sent out to interview in Brooklyn last night in regard to the Day girl's disappearance, was found yesterday in San Jose, Cal. He denied knowing anything of Miss Day's whereabouts, and said he fled from Brooklyn from fear of the "Black Hand."

Chief of Police Marcy of North Bergen, N. J., said last night that he had spent the day with detectives from New York Police Headquarters searching for evidence against a man who started our from the Harlem River on a week's motor boat cruise on Aug. 27.

"All clues except this one have been eliminated," said Chief Marcy. "I am not in a position to tell the principal grounds of suspicion we have, but we are investigating the actions of a man whose home is in Harlem.
"He is a physician, living a short distance from Sach's furniture store at 147th Street and Eighth Avenue, where the pillow was purchased in which part of the dismembered body was wrapped. Several months ago the same man had a narrow escape from trouble when he and some friends took a motor boat with some young women.

"We believe that the bundles containing parts of the dismembered body were thrown into the river from a motor boat about thirty-five feet long, which had been moored int he Harlem River. After disposing of the body, our information is that the murderer and a man accomplice went up the Hudson in the motor boat, and returned only a day or two ago. There are now in New York City.

"I found to-day on both sides of the Harlem River any number of loose chunks of New York schist like that used to anchor the bundle containing the lower part of the torso. We have evidence that the body, after dismemberment, was carried in two suitcases to the motor boat. For one thing, the fact that the body was cut into so many pieces indicates that the murderer intended to carry it away in parts in a suitcase.

"We have gained no information concerning the murdered woman, and nothing in the investigation we have made of this clue points to the owner of the pillow-slip on which the initial "A" was embroidered."

Chief of Police Wolf and Lieut. McGowan of Yonkers, accompanied by two New York detectives, questioned boatmen along the Hudson at Yonkers yesterday regarding stories that two men with suitcases had hired a motor boat there on or about Aug. 1 and disposed of several large bundles in the Hudson. Chief Wolf refused last night to say whether their investigation had thrown ant light on the murder.

River Victim Not Missing Day Girl, The New York Times, 14 September 1913.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thriller Thursday - Missing Woman Not River Victim

Missing Woman Not River Victim; Clues Are Faulty

Mystery Deepens as Annette Day's Relatives Declare Body is Not Hers.

Once more the evil genius of the Hudson River mystery has moved to block the solution of the puzzle, now a week old, and to uncover to the world intimate facts in the lives of people whose existence has no relation to that of the murdered woman.

Salvatore and Mary Day, brother and sister of missing Annette Day, of No. 206 Union street, Brooklyn, went to Volk's Morgue in Hoboken this afternoon, where last night their brother, Francis, had declared it his positive belief that it was his sister's haggled body that lay there. After carefully viewing the upper and lower portions of the female body on the slab the brother and sister stated with equal positiveness that they were not fragments of Annette's body.

Mary Day, who was better able to judge of marks upon her sister's body, carefully examined the birth mark on the left shoulder blade and declared that though it was very like that on the body of Annette the marks were not identical.

Body of Dead Woman Larger Than Hers.

The girth of the woman's body was greater that that of her sister, she added, there was evidence that the dead woman possessed a more developed and muscular figure. While Annette Day weighed in the neighborhood of 100 pounds, the portions of the murdered woman's body, so far recovered, indicate that, in life, her weight must have been something like 140 pounds.

Capt. Coughlin of Brooklyn Headquarters and Detective Duane escorted Francis Day, his brother and sister to the Hoboken Morgue. Inspector Faurot of Manhattan Headquarters and Detective Clinton Wood later joined the party. The three Days spent some time at their unpleasant task and when Salvatore and Mary Day emphatically denied that the body was that of their sister, Francis, the identifier, agreed he must had been mistaken.

Police Just Where They Were at the Start.

This leaves the whereabouts of Annette Day a matter purely of family interest unless they ask the police to send out an alarm for her.

Inspector Faurot admitted that the collapse of this last clue in the case of many false leads leaves the authorities just where they started. They have now positively no index to the identity either of the murdered girl or the murderer. The case bids fair to pass into history along with that of Marie Rogers of nearly a century ago - the girl whose unsolved murder in the Weehawken meadows near where the fragments of the present body were found gave Edgar Allan Poe the opportunity to write one of his greatest mystery stories.

Missing Woman Not River Victim; Clues Are Faulty, The Evening World, 13 September 1913, page 2, column 6.