Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thriller Thursday - Police are Outwitted; Letter Writer Hidden in the River Mystery

Police are Outwitted; Letter Writer Hidden in the River Mystery

Three Men, One With a "Detective's Badge," Spirit Away Father of Missing Ella Sternemann From Rooms in Jamaica.

Had Mailed a Letter to Whitman Assistant.

In Missive Posted Last Night Sternemann Offered to Give Himself Up and Tell All He Knew.

A small trunk was picked up this afternoon adrift in the Hudson River off Shadyside, where the dismembered body of the girl in the murder mystery was found last Friday. Mary Brann, who first saw the package containing the girl's torso, also discovered the trunk. It was empty, but had red stains on the inside of the bottom.

The eccentric letter writer, Peter H. Sternemann, who became a central figure in the Hudson River mystery through his insistence in letters to the Hoboken authorities and the German Ambassador that the fragments of a murdered woman's body now awaiting identification in Hoboken Morgue are those of his missing daughter Ella, was taken from his residence at No. 113 Globe avenue, Jamaica, early to-day by three men representing themselves as detectives - one displaying a badge - and is now being kept hidden from the police and detectives of the District-Attorney's Office, who are searching for him.

Detective Wood, assigned to aid Assistant District-Attorney Deacon Murphy, and ordered by him to apprehend Sternemann as a material witness, was told by Mrs. Mathilda Weiss, landlady of the house where Sternemann had lived since last Thursday, the three men had awakened Sternemann at 1.30 o'clock this morning; that one of them displayed a shield and said he was a detective and that they then took Sternemann away with them.

Neither Brooklyn nor Manhattan Headquarters knew anything about the apprehension of the eccentric milliner, and inquiry from Hoboken and Weehawken Police Headquarters developed the fact that they, too, were ignorant of the coup arranged in the dark hours of morning.

While Murphy was trying to discover who it was that had outwitted his detective he received two further communications from the much-sought father of the missing Ella Sternemann - a brief post card and a long and semi-incoherent letter, both mailed from upper Manhattan last night.

The postcard merely said, "While I am sitting here munching my doughnuts and coffee I might as well drop you a line." The letter, mailed at Station R at 10 o'clock last night, bore a special delivery stamp.

The letter, which was scrawled over many pages of paper, seemed to convey the assurance that any time Murphy wanted the writer he would come to the District-Attorney's Office and tell all he knew about his missing daughter.

F. H. Horwitz, a druggist at Eighth avenue and One Hundred and Forty-seventh street, across the street from the furniture store of George Sachs, where the pillow cases in which the severed fragments of the woman's body were stuffed are known to have been obtained, told the police to-day that ten days ago he sold two sheets of the heavy tar paper similar to that bound about the remains to a man in his shirt sleeves who ran in hurriedly and asked for heavy wrapping paper of that quality. Horwitz believes the purchaser was a resident in their neighborhood.

Simultaneously with the news that Sternemann was under apprehension, Detectives Charlock and Bennett of the Hudson County, N. J. Prosecutor's office appeared at Police Headquarters and had a long ... Faurot, who later carried a message from them to Commissioner Waldo.

Many Bound Bibles Among Sternemann's Crates.

The jumbled furniture and crates of milliner's feathers and artificial flowers standing in the two rooms occupied by Sternemann in the same position in which they were dumped when movers delivered them on Thursday in a wagon marked "Berg," yielded contents to investigators to-day which threw added light upon the disordered mental activities of Sternemann and something of his past life. A multiplicity of Bibles and sections of Holy Write bound separately, coupled with a curiously worded dedication of one of the Bibles to his now missing daughter Ella, seemed to indicate that Sternemann's mind had a strong leaning toward a religious mania.

Sternemann had hired two rooms from Mrs. Mathilda Weiss, a widow. He slept in the front room amid the boxes and baled of his disordered possessions on a pallet a few inches about the floor. The bed he had brought had not been unpacked. On Friday night, after returning late, he was heard by his landlady moving about the rear room, and to-day it was discovered that a kitchen table, which had been unpainted when it arrived, had been painted with a fresh coat of white. The report that brown stains on the under side of the table had been found and were taken as significant by the detectives was discovered to be unverified. There were no stains of any kind on any portion of the table.

Had Copy of Paper Telling of Finds in River.

On top of the table lay a clothesline, still wrapped as it came from the store; a sharp bread knife, an old and very dull hatchet and a copy of an evening paper of the date September 6, opened up to the headlines telling about the finding of the first portion of the two fragments of a woman's body now lying in the Morgue in Hoboken. Many skeins of milliner's wire, such as that which bound the portions of the body found in the Hudson save that the thread covering was black instead of white, were among the man's effects.

Perhaps the most interesting exhibit in all the weird collection of junk was the inscription and dedication written on the flyleaf of a New Testament and Book of Psalms which had evidently been the property of the missing Ella. For one thing, this inscription showed that Sternemann has been using only a portion of his name in this country and that "Sternemann von Gonten" is his whole patronymic.

Inscription Written by the Girl's Father.

The inscription, written in English and in a crabbed hand, reads:
"Do right. Be firm when so you do and have faith in God. To my beloved daughter, Miss Ella Sternemann von Gonten, in remembrance of her illustrious Ma, Caroline Susanne St. v Gonten, who departed this life 2 April, 1891, N. Y. City. Of your loving and afflicted Pa, P. H. (Suffering) Sternemann."

Below this strange dedication was written, as if a part of it, these lines:
"I've been an altar boy and did not thing when at the age of seven I was to meet in life so many unchristian. But, dear, you must now learn to fight for existence. Be an American. Most foreigners are. I spent all I had to safe Mama Lina (presumably Sternemann's dead wife) but it should not be. His, God's will be done and not ours."
On the fly-leaf of another Bible was this random note: "I gave Lena 27 cents to-day."

Through all the pages of the holy books were notes in German and English, some intelligible, some in senseless gibberish. One scrawl read: "Emily is in Kings Park Asylum."

This evidently referred to his second daughter, Emily, who is said to have attempted suicide a few months ago when she lived with her father on Olive street, Brooklyn, and was taken to an asylum.

A policy book of the Prudential Life Assurance Company - such a policy as is held by paying five cents a week, the benefit being $100 - was among the effects. It was upon the life of Emily Sternemann von Gonten and was drawn by S. Goset, agent, at No. 698 Spring street, West Hoboken.

Stories Told About the Sternemann Girl.

The injection of the figure of Sternemann, who seems to have been a roofer and a milliner by turns, into the intricacies of the murder mystery, and his insistence through four incoherent letters sent to various officials, including the German Ambassador at Washington, that his daughter Ella was the murdered girl, has brought report of the missing daughter from half a dozen different sources. These cover a range of more than five years and carry down to a period as recent as eighteen months ago.

Here is a chronological compendium of the information so far gleaned concerning the movements of the missing girl:

Detective Bernard A. Ditsch of the East Fifty-first street station, who says he has known Sternemann and his family for fifteen years, declares that Ella has been missing for more than five years and he believes she is dead.

Mrs. Amelia Shaefer, a costumer at No. 2245 Third avenue, says she took Emma Sternemann in to live with her and work in her shop five years ago, "because the poor girl needed a home." Ella, who seemed to be in fear of her father, disappeared from Mrs. Shaefer's home after living their eighteen months, withdrawing a small savings deposit in the Harlem Savings Bank.

Weighed 100 Pounds Five Years Ago.

The girl went, as Mrs. Shaefer believed at the time, to live with relatives near the Lutheran Cemetery in Middle Village, L. I. She was " a little thing, weighing not more than one hundred pounds" at the time she lived with Mrs. Shaefer.

Dr. William Mosier, who lives at Third avenue and Eighty-nine street, says he rented rooms to Sternemann and his daughter Ella about three years ago, but because of his eccentricities Sternemann was soon notified to vacate. Dr. Mosier, whose name was one of the many mentioned in Sternemann's incoherent letters, described Ella as weighing not more than one hundred pounds at the time he knew her.

....., a theatrical costumer at No ... Third avenue, says his nieces knew Ella Sternemann two years ago and that Ella used to call at the store to see them. She soon dropped out of their sight.

On April 25, ..., Peter Sternemann called at The World office and asked the paper to help him find his daughter Ella, who had disappeared from a place where she was employed in Jersey City. A palmist had told him, Sternemann said, that his daughter had been injured and was in a hospital somewhere.

T. C. Smedly, a photographer at No. 202 Bowery, says that eighteen months ago a girl who gave her name as Ella Sternemann and who appeared to be very nervous and excitable called at his gallery and sat for her picture.

Sister of Ella Sternemann Tried to Kill Herself.

William Mayer of No, 27 Olive street, Brooklyn, says that for nine months prior to last Thursday Sternemann and a daughter, Emily, had lived in a house in the rear of that address. No daughter Ella was with them during their residence there. Emily Sternemann tried to kill herself by jumping from a second-story window three months ago, and she was taken to an asylum, Mayer believes. Emily used to allude to her sister Ella, who was working somewhere in New Jersey, and she often spoke of Ella in a worried manner.

Mayer put Sternemann out last week because he was behind with his rent, business had been bad lately, Sternemann told his landlord. The neighbors regarded the feather maker as a harmless cranky man. He has nothing to say to any of them and talked loudly and sometimes violently to himself as he was going to bed or getting up in the morning. He usually went out a few minutes later. He rose and left the house every morning about 5 o'clock. The neighbors are positive that no woman has visited the house since Emily was taken to the asylum.

Mrs. Mathilda Weiss of No, 212 Globe avenue, Jamaica, rented a room to Peter Sternemann ten days ago and he took up residence there last Thursday. He went alone. Mrs. Weiss did not know that her lodger had any daughters.

Told Strange Stories About His Daughter.

During all these years, both at the times Sternemann knew where his daughter Ella was and at the other times when she seems to have disappeared, he was constantly telling acquaintances strange stories of his his daughter had been murdered. Detective Ditsch is authority for the statement that whenever any unidentified woman's body was found in the vicinity of New York Sternemann instantly jumped to the conclusion that it was that of the missing Ella, though he never made any attempt to identify the several bodies.

Soon after Sternemann took charge of his rooms, according to Mrs. Weiss, he said:
“I have moved from Myrtle avenue. My enemies are after me. If any one comes here for me, say I don't live here.”
As soon as he read in the newspapers of the finding of the first part of the torso he said to Mrs. Weiss:
“That is my daughter.”

He seemed certain of what he said, but made no explanation, nor did it seem to affect him in the least. By that time his eccentricities had made such an impression on Mrs. Weiss that she paid little attention to his assertion that the body was that of his daughter.

Washed Coat, Vest and Trousers, says Landlady.

On Sunder he washed one of his coats, his vest, a pair of trousers, an outer shirt, an undershirt, and a burlap bag. He hung most of these out himself to dry. Mrs. Weiss wondered at the time about the trousers. She says the ones he washed were torn and worn, but that there were several pairs of good trousers thrown about the floor of his room. She is wondering yet why he picked out the ragged ones to wash. Yesterday for some reason, he washed out some of his stock of white feathers and him them on a chair to dry.

Murder Committed Near Where Pillow was Sold.

But as far as they have gone the detectives are working on the theory that the murder was committed in the vicinity of One Hundred ad Forty-sixth street and Eight avenue, because it was in that neighborhood the only two pillows like the one wrapped about part of the victim's body in New York City were disposed of.

A search in launches has been made of both shores of the Hudson, but no trace of the head and limbs of the murder victim has been found. The body of a prematurely born child was found floating near where part of the torso was found last Friday, but there was nothing to connect it with the murder.

Inspector Faurot's men are working in squads. One is searching for a boat with stains such as the boat used by the murderer may contain, and for the missing portions of the body.

A second squad is investigating the list of girls and women who have been reported missing recently, In this connection Mrs. Mary Spillane, of No, 210 East One Hundred and First street, will go to the morgue in Hoboken to-day to see if she can identify the torso of the murder victim as that of her sister, Kitty Shea, who disappeared more than a week ago from Larchmont after having been in this country only four months.

Another Girl Mentioned as Possible Victim.

Last Tuesday Mrs. Spillane received a postal card saying Kitty had been hurt by a fall from a car and was in a hospital. The girl was a domestic in a Larchmont home, and on investigation Mrs. Spillane learned that she had left Larchmont the week before. She has been unable to learn of any accident, and has not been able to get a trace of the girl since she left Larchmont. Detectives assigned to the case say they ascertained Kitty was soon to become a mother, but they have found no trace of her.

Police are Outwitted; Letter Writer Hidden in the River Mystery, The Evening World, 9 September 1913, page 1, column 5, and page 2, column 1.

Thriller Thursday - part 5 of 6 - Trace River Victim by Sale of Pillows

Trace River Victim by Sale of Pillows

Only Two Like One Into Which Torso of Woman Was Thrust Have Been Bought.

Those Sales Not Listed

Autopsy Shows Murderer Was Skillful - Woman Tells Police It May Be Her Sister.

Upon the identification of the purchaser or purchasers of two "Chicago grade" pillows, stuffed with new feathers, 20 by 27 inches in dimensions, depends the discovery of the murderer of the woman whose dismembered torso now lies in the Volk's morgue in Hoboken, N. J. The pillow ticking in which the upper portion of the body was found is the product of the Robinson-Roders Company of Newark, N. J.

At the Elks' Club, in West Forty-third Street, last night, Cyrus H. Young, Vice President of the company, said that the ticking in question had been manufactured in two sizes of pillows, one 17 by 26 inches and the other 20 by 27 inches. The ticking proved to be a poor seller, and the manufacture of pillows from this grade of cloth was discontinued. Only one order for pillows of the larger size was made by the factory. This order was delivered on March 10 last to George Sachs, a furniture dealer with a second-hand license, whose store is at 2,762 Eighth Avenue. The order called for twelve pillows, and this was the only order of its kind revealed upon the books of the company after a careful search yesterday.

Of these twelve pillows investigation showed that Sachs has still ten in stock. Investigation further revealed the fact that the two pillows were sold separately, and only the sales record of one, and that record incomplete, is on hand.

When reporters talked to Vice President Young of the Robinson-Roders Company last night he said that the ticking in which the upper portion of the body had been tied had been positively identified as the covering of a 20 by 27 pillow made by his factory.

When the water-soaked tag bearing the penciled numerals "89" was shown to Mr. Young he said that this figure was a retailer's price and that the only retailer for whom pillows of this size and description had been made was Sachs.

Sales Not Recorded.

A visit to Sach's store was disappointing to a certain degree. Mr. Sachs readily admitted that the tag upon the pillow ticking bore his price mark, and was evidently in his handwriting. He also made an inspection of his stock, which showed that he had still ten of the original twelve pillows on hand. A search of his books was confusing, because of the fact that many of his sales are unrecorded and because he was accustomed to make sales at less than his store marked prices. A search of the store led to the discovery that Mr. Sachs had in stock a number of pillows obtained from the Robinson-Roders Company of the smaller size.

"I conduct a purely cash business," said Mr. Sachs, "and I do not keep a record of all my sales, except in the case of second-hand goods. Such goods I am obliged to record under the terms of my license as a second-hand dealer. In the case of new stock, such as these pillows, a sale is sometimes recorded, but is more often omitted."

When an examination of the sales book was made it appeared that on April 22 a new pillow have been sold for 80 cents. It was recorded because of the fact that the purchaser has paid a deposit of 25 cents to hold the pillow, and had later called with the balance and had taken it away.

"That was probably one of our 89-cent pillows," said Mr. Sachs. "We frequently make a reduction from the marked price rather than allow a customer to go away unsatisfied."

"I am almost certain," interrupted Mrs. Sachs, who assists her husband in the management of the store, "that this was one of the large size Robinson-Roder's pillows. I remember the sale, for I made it myself, and was rather surprised to have the purchaser make a deposit on such a small sale. She was a stout, ill-dressed woman, of medium height, and apparently about 45 years of age. I think that I could identify her is I saw her again, but I am not sure."

No record of any other sale of pillows appeared which corresponded to the price of the one in which part of the murdered victim's body was found, except for an entry on April 23, which showed that two pillows had been sold to a Mrs. Clarke, at 201 West 147th Street, for $1.80, and two smaller pillows for $1.

Pillows of the Material.

A visit to 201 West 147th Street resulted in the identification of the purchaser in this instance as Mrs. Ethel Clarke, who said that she was the wife of George Medill Clarke, who, she said, was associated with his father in the firm of Brooks & Clarke, special representatives of the medical department of the Fidelity and Casualty Company of New York.

A sample of the pillow ticking in which part of the woman's body was wrapped was shown to Mrs. Clark and she was asked whether she had ever seen a pillow made of such material.

"Oh, yes, I have," she said. "I bought two pillows like that when I furnished the adjoining apartment on this floor for the purpose of subletting the rooms. I did not have any luck and I finally gave up the apartment after a month and sold most of the furniture to the daughter of the janitress, who was about to be married. The name of the janitress is Mrs. Messerschmidt, but I do not recall the wedded name of her daughter. However, her daughter lives just around the corner, and I can get the pillows if you would like to see them."

A few minutes later Mrs. Clarke re-appeared with the pillows, which were of exactly the same ticking but of the smaller size. They were price-marked in Sach's handwriting 59 cents.

"I only paid $1 for them," Mrs. Clarke said. "I purchased at one time or another about $100 worth of goods from Sachs, but these are the only two pillows I bought."

"The books at the store show that you bought four pillows, of two different sizes, and that you paid $1 for one pair and $1.50 for the other," she was told.

Mrs. Clarke then left the house and went to Sach's store. After looking at his book she admitted that she had bought two other pillows, but said that they were of a different ticking. Sachs confirmed her in this statement.

"I believe that they were blue-striped pillows, made by the same factory," he said.

When Mrs. Anna Genthe, the daughter of Mrs. Messerschmidt, the janitress of 201 West 147th Street, had been found at 2,542 Seventh Avenue she said that she had bought most of the furnishings of the extra apartment fitted up by Mrs. Clarke, but added that the 17x26 pillows were the only one which she had seen in that pattern of ticking, and that the two pillows shown by Mrs. Clarke were the only ones she had bought.

"There is no doubt," said Mr. Sachs later, "that the pillow in the ticking, of which a section of the body was found, was bought in my store. I identified the price mark as mine, and only two are missing from the lot in that size. My customers all live in this immediate neighborhood. I would do anything in my power to help the authorities to trace the culprit, but you can see from my books that my cash sales records on new goods are incomplete."

Results of the Autopsy.

The autopsy yesterday afternoon in Volk's Morgue in Hoboken, N. J., over part of the dismembered body of the young woman, left the motive for the crime unexplained, and showed the manner of it to have been more brutal that was at first supposed. It appeared from the autopsy that no attempt had been made to perform an operation on the victim. In the second place, it was established that the death wound had probably been inflicted by cutting her throat with a knife, and that her body had been dismembered immediately afterward.

"It is possible," said County Physician George W. King of Hudson County, "that the murderer tortured his victim. There is strong reason to believe that she remained alive while her limbs were being amputated. The murderer performed six distinct operations in cutting off the head, the arms, and the legs, and in severing the trunk. All this was done very rapidly. The woman could not have been dead more than a few seconds before the dismemberment was complete. If there had been a delay of a minute of two, the circulation would have stopped and blood would have remained in the arteries."

Dr. King was assisted in performing the autopsy by Coroner's Physician Timothy H. Lehane of New York and Assistant County Physician Arthur H. Haskins of Hudson County. Detective Lieutenant Wood, who was assigned to the cast last night by Inspector Faurot; Assistant District Attorney Murphy of New York County, Coroner Schlemm of Hudson County, and Detectives Charlock and McDonald of Hudson County were at the Morgue during the autopsy.

The autopsy physicians found that death had been caused by hemorrhages from the carotid artery, when the neck was severed, or from the brachial arteries when the arms were cut off, or from the femoral arteries when the legs were cut off, or from the abdominal aorta when the trunk was divided at the waist.

Skill of the Murderer.

"The blood flowed freely from each cut," said Dr. King, "and it is impossible to tell which came first. Any one would have caused death. The clean-cut character of the work and the speed with which it was done makes it certain that the murderer was trained to use a surgeon's knife and saw. He may not may not have been a surgeon, but he was not a novice at this kind of work.

"Shortly before she met her death the woman gave birth prematurely to a child. The fact, however, appears to be in no way connected with her death. Whether a criminal operation had been performed cannot be ascertained. If so, there were no ill effects from it. The accident, or crime, which prevented her from becoming a mother might have occurred as much as a week before her death.

"An examination of the lungs showed that no chloroform or other anesthetic had been administered. The woman may have been stunned by a blow on the head before the knife was used. It might even appear, if the head was recovered, that the woman was shot. It is most likely, however, that she was conscious when the death wound was inflicted."

District Attorney Hudspeth of Hudson County set a corps of stenographers to work yesterday afternoon attempting to decipher letters sent to Undertaker Volk and Chief of Police Hayes by Peter Sternemann, who was alarmed for the safety of his daughter Ella. The effort to make something out of the letter was wasted, however.

A search continued unsuccessfully all day long yesterday for other parts of the dismembered body which are believed to be lying near the water's edge on the New Jersey side of the Hudson, probably above Weehawken. The arms, legs, and hear, it is thought, will remain on the bottom of the river where they were sunk, if they were disposed of in the same manner as the torso.

Inspector Faurot, who has [sic] notified on Sunday night by Prosecutor Hudspeth of Hudson County that the finding of a piece of New York schist used to sink the part of the torso found on Sunday made it appear that the crime had been committed in Manhattan, sent six Headquarters detectives into New Jersey yesterday afternoon after receiving a report from Lieut. Wood of the Headquarters Squad that there was strong reason to think that the crime had taken place in this city.

Find Body of Child.

Policeman Whipple, employed to patrol the Interstate Park given by Mrs. E. H. Harriman to New Jersey and New York, and extending from opposite Washington Heights up the river, found on Sunday the body of a child, prematurely born, floating near the shore opposite 210th Street. An examination yesterday showed that the premature birth had probably caused the death of the mother.

County Physician King said last night that this find seemed to him to have no significance in relation to the murder. The woman who had been murdered, he said, had suffered no serious injury from the premature birth of her child and was to all apppearances [sic] in excellent health when she was slain.

Mrs. Mary Spillane of 210 East 101st Street reported yesterday to the police of the East 104th Street Station that her sister, Kitty Shea, who had been in this country four months, disappeared more than a week ago from a home in Larchmonth [sic], N. Y., where she was employed as a domestic. On last Tuesday Mrs. Spillane received a postal card mailed at Station Y, which said that Kitty had fallen from a car in motion and had been removed to a hospital. Nothing indicated how badly the girl had been hurt or to what hospital she had been taken. Mrs. Spillane sent a telegram to the home in Larchmont where her sister had been employed, and received a reply that the girl had left the week before. Detectives Carsetta and Genaro of the East 104th Street Station made an investigation and found that the girl, when she left her employment, was soon to become a mother. They were unable to trace the girl from the time she had left Larchmont. Mrs. Spillane has been asked to visit the Hoboken Morgue to-day to view the remains found in the river.

Trace River Victim by Sale of Pillows, New York Times, 9 September 1913.

Thriller Thursday - part 4 of 6 - Clue Found in River Mystery

Clue Found in River Mystery

Pillow Ticking Used for Wrapping Part of Body Is Traced.

Was Sold To A Woman.

George Sachs, the Dealer, Describes Purchaser to Police.

Autopsy Proves Murder

Dismemberment of the Body Was Begun Before Victim Was Dead.

The first definite clue in the murder of the young woman whose severed body was found in the Hudson River near the West Shore Ferry on the Jersey side came to the police last night, thus making possible the solution of the tragedy within the next few days. Investigation of the clue thus far has developed the important fact that the woman must have been killed in a house within a few blocks of 146th street and Eighth avenue.

It is a practical certainty that the pillow ticking in which the torso was found last Friday was sold by George Sachs, a dealer in second hand furniture and bedroom furnishings at 2762 Eighth avenue, near the corner of 146th street. Mr. Sachs told a reporter for The Sun last night that he has sold but two pillow ticks of this type and one to a woman who came into his store on April 22 last.

Describes the Buyer.

This woman, said Mr. Sachs, was hatless and was otherwise dressed in a manner suggesting she was a resident of the neighborhood.
"She told me that she didn't have quite enough money with her," said Sachs, "but she paid a 25 cent deposit on the pillow and returned with the remainder of the price in a very short time."

The storekeeper said that he charged the transient customer 80 cents for the pillow, reducing the price from 89 cents. This accords with the description given by the Jersey police of the tag found on the pillow tick shrouding the grewsome [sic] find. The barely legible price recorded on the bit of limp cardboard was 89 cents.

Sachs described his woman purchaser as about 45 years of age, a bit over medium height and stout. Armed with this description the police are scouring the neighborhood in an effort to trace Sach's customer, who thew [sic] are convinced will be able to shed light on the murder.

An investigation conducted by newspaper men was really responsible for the development of the clue, which was later turned over to the police. The efforts of the newspaper men, however, were based on information given by C. H. Young of the firm Robinson-Roders, manufacturers of the pillow ticks. It is a Newark firm.

Mr. Young said last night that the pattern of the tick was so gaudy that it proved to unpopular with retailers. It was styled the "M3, Chicago" brand of tick and only one lot was turned out by the Robinson-Roders Company.

Of this lot, said Mr. Young, only twelve measuring twenty by twenty-seven inches - the size of the tick that held the torso - were disposed of and those to George Sachs. The latter still had ten left when the newspaper men called on him last night.

In one point, however, Mr. Young differed from the retailer. The former said that judging by the condition of the tick and card attached, the sale must have been made about two weeks ago or else the article was not used by the purchaser. Sachs cannot recall just now the person to whom he sold the other tick, but he is positive that the sale was not of such a recent date.

Alive When Dismemberment Began.

The doctors are now confident, they say, that the young woman was cut to pieces while alive.

An autopsy at Volk's morgue, Hoboken, yesterday afternoon showed that she bled to death. She may have been conscious when the first wound was inflicted, she may have been asleep and not have seen the approach of death.

She was not strangled, shot or poisoned. No anaesthetic was used. Possibly a blow on the head had made her senseless, but it isn't likely. The fact that she was soon to have become a mother appears to have had no relation of motive to this crime.

The North Bergen police noted that the lower part of the body, found near Weehawken, had stranded at a point where the Spuyten Duyvil current vanishes in the Hudson's flow.

An object dropped in the water at Spuyten Duyvil is subjected to what the physics teachers call "the resultant of two forces." The current from the Harlem River tends to sweep across to the New Jersey side. The more powerful Hudson bears an object straight south. Between the two currents this half of the girl's body would have been borne to the point where it was found. This fact, added to the presence of rock known as Manhattan schist, meant to sink the bundle, made it seem more certain than ever that the murder was done on the New York side of the river.

The murder is the most striking of its kind since that of Mary Cecelia Rogers seventy-five years ago, a crime which Edgar Allan Poe made memorable in his story "The Mystery of Marie Roget." Mary Rogers, a beautiful girl who worked in a New York tobacco shop, was killed on Weehawken Heights and her body put into the Hudson.

An excited hunt for her slayer lasted for years but was vain. Long afterward, Poe, working only with newspaper clippings on the subject, elucidated the mystery. He laid scene in Paris, disguised Nassau street as the Barriere du Rouie and the Hudson as the Seine and Mary Rogers as Marie Roget. By compelling logic he showed that the girl's slayer was a young naval officer who had been her lover.

Identity Still to Seek.

But there is no Poe to-day to discover so much as the identity of the Hudson victim. All yesterday detectives from Police Headquarters in Manhattan, police from North Bergen and Hoboken and Weehawken,chugged up and down the river in motor boats hunting for the dead girl's head and examining rowboats and other small craft in the hope of finding something bearing on the crime. They had no success at all.

There were efforts to trace the white pillowslip in which part of the body was wrapped. It had an "A" and floral designs on it, but the work was so unskillfully done that it was evident that the pillowslip could not have come from a hotel. The milliner's wire used to fasten the bundle cannot be traced, but may be useful to reenforce other evidence later on.

County Physician George W. King of Hudson county, his assistant, Dr. Arthur P. Hasking, and Coroner's Physician Timothy Lehane of Manhattan performed the autopsy after a river hunt in the morning. They found that death had been due to the cutting of the brachial artery, the carotid artery, the femoral artery and the abdominal aorta - the great blood tubes of the body. Death had followed by bleeding.

The conclusion of the physician was that the arteries in the throat had been severed first. Had the young woman been strangled or shot they are sure the fact would have been disclosed in the condition of the lungs.

The vital organs revealed no trace of poison. The lungs showed that she had been under no anaesthetic. She had not undergone an operation of any sort. The body was dismembered by a surgeon, or by a man with surgical training - one who may have lacked the surgical knives for such work, but one who was used to cutting and had a considerable knowledge of anatomy. The cuts were clean strokes. There was no unnecessary mutilation. It appears to have been an act of diabolical vengeance, and after that an effort to hide the deed.

Autopsy Deepens the Mystery.

Dr. King, who a year ago yesterday made an autopsy of the body of Mrs. Saabo, and Assistant District Attorney Murphy of Manhattan, who handled the case against Burton W. Gibson, accused of drowning Mrs. Saabo, admitted after the autopsy yesterday that the result of it had enhanced the mystery of the girl's murder to a high degree, while completely clouding the motive for the crime. Dr. King had thought that an effort to hide an illegal operation explained the murder, but the autopsy led him to reverse himself on this point. There had been no operation, he said, and while the young woman had lost her chance of motherhood a few days before her death this appared [sic] to have no bearing on her death.

Dr. Lehane and Dr. Hasking agreed with Dr. King as he discussed the results of the autopsy. The physicians were of the opinion that the birthmark, three small moles on the right shoulderblade, would be a perfect method of identification.

Peter H. Sternemann, the tin roofer who wrote an incoherent letter to Chief of Police Hayes of Hoboken, declaring that the body was that of his daughter, Ella, sent Chief Hayes another letter, which arrived yesterday and somewhat outdid the first in unintelligibility. He also wrote to the German Ambassador, Count von Bernstorff, naming a man whom he had accused in his first letter to Chief Hayes as responsible for his daughter's ruin.

The German Ambassador set Detective Deitsch to work in this city last night in an endeavor to find this man. He is described as about 50 years old, an actor of cheap parts, who used to be seen on Third avenue at Thirty-first and Thirty-second streets. His wife is said to have left him, secured a divorce and to be now employed as a wardrobe mistress in a theatre near Fifty-ninth street. She could not be found last night.

Sternemann's first letter to Chief Hayes was mailed from the Grand Central station at 10 o'clock on Saturday night. The one that arrived yesterday was mailed on Saturday at Fourth avenue and Twelfth street - Station D. It was addressed "Police Chief Mr. Hayes, Personal, Important, Deliver at Once, Hoboken, N. J." There was a special delivery stamp on it.

Second Sternemann Letter.

The handwriting is wild. Part of Sternemann's recital runs: 
"I have got photo made again and again - ask Smedley - knew Ella personally well. She lived out by Mrs. Whitaker, North Metropolitan and Church avenue, Richmond Hills. I have worried for girls years. Especially Ella. I warned her of (a name) * * * I been threatened by a man corner Fifty-seventh street and Lexington avenue. Of 5 Silver street, Ridgewood Heights, L. I. Mrs. Rustman tells me Ella been in her neighborhood 7½ weeks ago across the way and (a name) came to see woman across the way. She was by. Charles Sternemann, 96 Elm avenue, Catalpa avenue, Ridgewood Heights, says he saw five weeks ago Mr. Smedley I asked this morning. He says he does not believe it. Mrs. Whitaker north is now in Quincy, Mass. wrote Emma and me a letter 5 months ago. Personally can tell you more * * * "

That's the way Sternemann throws light on the murder. Yesterday The Sun hunted up persons and places mentioned in his first epistle. Two "funny houses" that he spoke of turned out to be the Eltinge Theatre and the Church of the Holy Trinity in East Eighty-eighth street.

Some one handed out a hot tip that Sternemann could always be found in a saloon on the edge of Greenwich Village. He wasn't there and no one in the place had ever heard of him. Bernard Meyerberg, who used to keep a saloon at Washington Square and Sixth avenue, said he knew Sternemann about six years ago.

"He always acted strangely," commented Meyerberg. "He did some work for me, but we had trouble about it, for he wanted more than he had earned. He threatened to sue me. I think he had a daughter. I knew him only a short time, but what I saw of him convinced me that his mind was unhinged."

Knew Ella Sternemann.

Mrs. A. Schaefer, wife of a costumer at 2245 Third avenue for whom Ella Sternemann worked sixteen months two years ago, said:
"I knew the girl and her father well for about four years. I can say positively that Ella had no birthmark on her right shoulder blade. She weighed only 100 pounds. I think her father is a lunatic. He is harmless, but has hallucinations - among them, that men are trying to get his daughters and that he is being pursued. His father died in an insane asylum, his first wife died insane, his older daughter Emma is in an insane asylum, Ella, the younger child, is weak minded and Sternemann himself is crazy, I think."

Dr. O. L. Mosier, dentist at Third avenue and Eighty-ninth street, who was mentioned by Sternemann in the letters to Chief Hayes, says he knew the tin roofer six years ago and considered him half witted.
"He never knew my son William, whom he mentions," said Dr. Mosier, "He had a daughter Ella and seemed to be afraid that some one would lure her away."

With such testimony as this to hand, Assistant District Attorney Deacon Murphy of Mr. Whitman's office and Inspector Faurot of Police Headquarters were inclined to pay little heed to Sternemann and his tales of his daughter.

Another Lost Daughter.

An incident of the day at Volk's morgue in Hoboken was the visit of Mrs. Josephine Reckenwald of 906 Willow avenue, Hoboken, to see if the dead girl was her daughter. It was not.

Mrs. Reckenwald said that her daughter Tillie was lured away from home by a married man on August 23. Mrs. Reckenwald saw this man a few days later in New York and he told her:
"You won't see Tillie again."

The mother said she had seen Mayor Cooke of Hoboken and had written to District Attorney Whitman of New York,

County Physician King will probably ask Coroner Schlemm of Hudson county to hold an inquest into the murder later this week if the search up and down the Hudson for the girl's head shall prove vain.

Clue Found in River Mystery, The Sun, 9 September 1913, page 1, column 7, and page 2, column 1.

Thriller Thursday - part 3 of 6 - Murder Suspect Lost by Police


Man in Headless Girl Death Mystery Arrested by Private Detectives.


Clues to Strange River Case Few, and Authorities Still Far From a Solution.

NEW YORK, Sept. 9 - With Peter S. Sternemann, aged eccentric man. who has written letters declaring that the headless body found in the Hudson river was that of his daughter, arrested by private detectives and spirited away, the New York police were this afternoon as far from a solution of the mysterious murder as they were a few hours after the portion of the young woman's body was dragged from the river.

Arrested For a Paper.

The men who took Sternemann into custody were supposed to be detectives representing a New York newspaper. The police knew nothing of the arrest, and their chief concern now is to find Sternemann and learn more of the facts, which his letters indicate point to the murder victim being his daughter Ella.

Differences In Weight

The police now believe that the young woman was cut to pieces while still alive somewhere in the vicinity of 2763 Eight avenue, in a hallway. It was discovered that George Sacks, a second-hand dealer at that address, had in stock the only pillows in New York  bearing the mark of the manufacturer found upon that in which the torso of the young woman was wrapped. Sacks had but twelve of the pillows. He remembered selling one to a stout, middle-aged woman last April. He had no record of the sale of the only other pillow which is missing, as he still has ten of them.

With the finding of the second portion of the body, which was wrapped in a pillow slip of fine linen and embroidered and initialed, and the discovery that the dismembering of the body had been expertly done, the police believe the murder had been committed in some private home.

Murder Suspect Lost by Police, The Washington Times, 9 September 1913, page 1, column 4.

Thriller Thursday - part 2 of 6 - Knife Used With Girl's Body Warm

Knife Used With Girl's Body Warm;
Clews to Murder.

Man Milliner, in Two Strange Letters, Asserts Beautifully Formed Slain Woman Was His Daughter.

Missing From His Home

Wrote to German Ambassador Accusing Physician, and to Police About New York Costumer - Birth Marks May Identify the Victim.

Pillow Slip Seller Found.

Embroidered Cloth in Which Torso Was Wrapped Is Traced to a Manhattan Dealer - Whitman Goes to Aid of New Jersey Authorities.

The beautifully formed young woman whose torso, in two parts, was found on the New Jersey shore, opposite 110th street, was dismembered while the blood still flowed warm in her veins.

This was revealed by the autopsy performed at Volk's Morgue, Hoboken, yesterday, and Dr. George W. King, the County Physician, who was in charge, asserted that the slayer was one familiar with the human anatomy and skilled in the use of surgical instruments.

Peter Sterneman, a seller of cheap millinery, who wrote to the police a strange and partly incoherent letter saying he believed the slain girl was his daughter Ella, moved from Brooklyn to Jamaica Thursday. H was not at home last night when a reporter for The Tribune called, at No. 112 Globe street, where he rented a room from Mrs. Mathilda Weiss.

When Sterneman went there Thursday he brought two boxes and several pieces of furniture, including a bedstead and a pine table. According to Mrs. Weiss, these two pieces he painted brown. When the table was examined last night some dark brown stains showed on the underside of the table.

In one of the two boxes, which were padlocked, were found some feathers stiffened with copper wire somewhat similar to the milliner's wire used in tying up the torso, only it was black instead of white.

New Carpenter's Saw.

In another box were found a new carpenter’s saw and a carpenter's chisel, with its edge slightly dented as if it had come in contact with very hard wood or a still harder substance.

In the same box was found a mass of dark brown paper, heavy and glazed on one side, and a penknife, with a three-inch blade, with dark stains on it.

Mrs. Weiss said that when Sterneman came to her house Thursday morning he said:
"I have just moved from Myrtle avenue, My enemies are after me. If any one comes here, say that I don't live here."

When Sterneman read the newspapers telling of the finding of the torso he said to Mrs. Weiss.
"That is my daughter."

Mrs. Weiss said Sterneman Sunday morning washed one of his coats, his vest, a pair of trousers, an outer shirt, and an undershirt, and a burlap bag. The burlap bag he gave her to dry. The rest he hung out himself.

For some unaccountable reason, he also washed some of his stock of white feathers yesterday morning, and these he hung on a chair to dry.

The police were looking for Sterneman last night, but were unable to find him.

An added element of mystery in the case was the discovery that the girl, who, in the course of nature, would have been a mother in three of four months, gave premature birth to a child two or three days before she was slain.

Nothing found by Dr. King or by Dr. Timothy D. Lehane, Coroner's Physician of New York County, who assisted in the autopsy, indicated that an illegal operation was performed.

The murder used no poison or anaesthetic before beginning the dreadful task of dismemberment. The stomach showed no traces of poison, and had chloroform been used the lungs would had have revealed it.

Deliberate Murder, Says Doctor.

"The woman was literally hacked to death." said Dr. King. "It was a brutal, deliberate murder. Perhaps the slayer cut her throat first, and before life was extinct began cutting up her body. All the physical symptoms showed that the body was cut up while the blood coursed through the veins.

"Death was due to hemorrhage, caused by the severance of the femoral artery, the abdominal aorta and the carotid and brachial arteries."

There was no blood in the tissues or veins. If the murderer had waited until the girl was dead two or three minutes before starting to dismember the body there would have been blood found in the veins and tissues, it was said.

The police, while having little to work on, are inclined to the theory that the girl was murdered in either Manhattan or The Bronx. There are two circumstances which give rise to this belief.

One is the bit of gneiss rock with which the lower part of the torso, found at Shadyside, was weighted. This stone is peculiar to the geological formation of Manhattan and The Bronx, and it does not occur in New Jersey, the authorities say.

The other fact is the current that winds down from the mouth of Spuyten Duyvil Creek, swinging in a slightly defined curve to the shores of Shadyside and Cliffside. These two New Jersey villages are almost directly opposite 110th street.

Speaking of the current, Captain Leonard Marcy, of the North Bergen police, said to a reporter for The Tribune yesterday:
"Tests made in the past and observations of years show that any buoyant body dropped into Spuyten Duyvil Creek, or in the Hudson immediately below that point, will be washed ashore at Shadyside or Cliffside. This is because of the current that has its origin at Spuyten Duyvil Creek and which crosses the Hudson bringing up against the shores of the two villages."

Whitman and Faurot Aid.

So convinced yesterday were the New Jersey authorities that the crime was committed on this side of the river that they asked the police and District Attorney Whitman to assist in unravelling [sic] the case.

District Attorney Whitman sent one of his assistants, Deacon Murphy, to New Jersey yesterday afternoon. Mr. Murphy, with County Prosecutor Hudspeth of Bergen County, was present at the autopsy at Volk's morgue.

Inspector Faurot, of the New York detective bureau, assigned ten detectives to the case. Some of these were put to work to run down ends suggested by the letters of Sterneman, and others were sent to make a canvass of the pleasure craft on either side of the Hudson, in the belief that the girl might have met her death on one of these boats.

Besides Sterneman's letter the police have the following tangible clews [sic] to work on:
The birthmarks on the right shoulder.
The pillowslip with the crudely embroidered "A," used to wrap up part of the torso.
The ticking of the pillowslip, which had been emptied of its feathers before being used by the murderer to wrap up the second part of the torso.
Pieces of a heavy dark brown paper, also used to wrap up parts of the torso.

Seller of Pillowslip Found.

One important discovery made by the police yesterday was the finding of the dealer in this city who handled the pillowslips. This information the police obtained from the Robinson-Roder Company, of Newark, and the work of the police was made easier by the fact that only one New York retailer handled the particular sort of pillowslip such as was used by the murderer.

This retailer, whose name the police withheld, purchased only a dozen of the pillowslips. The police believe it will be an easy matter to run down the several purchasers.

This find on the part of the police was regarded of the highest importance, as it may lead to the arrest of the murderer. It was said at Police Headquarters last night that the police were going over the books of the New York dealer who handled the pillow clips in an effort to trace the purchasers.

Three detectives were sent out to hunt for Peter Sterneman, who left his home in Jamaica early yesterday morning. His rambling letter to Captain Hayes, of the Hoboken police, was turned over to Assistant District Attorney Murphy, of Mr. Whitman's staff, by County Prosecutor Hudspeth.

One man mentioned by Sterneman in the letter as a friend of his daughter is a physician. The police searched for him last night. Sterneman in his letter described this man as one "who would do anything for money."

But while the police do not attach too great importance to the letter, because of its incoherency, they believe that is furnishes leads that must be run down, and the most promising of these is the one referring to the young physician.

Another letter of Sterneman's now in the hands of the police was sent by him to the German Ambassador at Washington and referred to Bernard Dietsch, a detective of the East 51st street station, by the ambassador.

Third Avenue Costumer Sought.

In this letter Sterneman wrote that his daughter, in 1910, was employed by a costumer on Third avenue, not far from the Grand Central Terminal. For obvious reasons the name and address are not printed. Detective Dietsch went to see this man last night, but learned that he had not been at his place of business since Friday morning. It was 4 o'clock of that day that the upper part of the girl's torso was found at Shadyside.

Dietsch said Sterneman in his letter accused the costumer of having mistreated his daughter. From another source the detective learned that the costumer and his wife had not lived together for two years.

The detectives of this city also made an effort to see if any of the young women reported missing since August 31, on which day, or the day following, the police believe the girl was murdered, may be the slain girl.

New Jersey police spent the better part of the day grappling in the Hudson River in the neighborhood of Shadyside and Cliffside in the hope of finding the head. If the head was weighted with rock, as was the lower part of the torso, and cast into the river, it probably will remain in the river's bed.

Knife Used With Girl's Body Warm, New York Tribune, 9 September 1913, page 1, column 7, and page 2, column 1.

Thriller Thursday - part 1 of 6 - Butcher's Victim While Yet Alive, Autopsy Shows


Gotham's Latest Crime Develops Startling Revelations.


Unless Bisected Torso Is Identified, No Chance to Convict Slayer Unless He Confesses.

Police of Two States Work on Different Theories.

New York, September 8.- More than three days after the discovery of the dismembered body of a young woman in the Hudson River near Woodcliff, N. J. the police to-night were without any definite proof of the identity of the victim, but had secured evidence showing that her murder was the most brutal that had ever come under their observation.

The girl was literally cut to pieces while alive. She was dismembered while life was still in her body, and death was due to the loss of blood caused by the severance of her head and limbs.

This was definitely established this afternoon, when three physicians performed an autopsy upon the two segments of the victim's torso found in the Hudson on Friday and Sunday. Because the victim's head has not yet been found the physicians were unable to determine that the slayer had even stunned the girl with a blow before he decapitated her and cut off her limbs. On the torso there was no mark of stab or bullet, and in the stomach there was no trace of poison.

Two Cities In Autopsy.

Two cities - New York and Hoboken, N. J. - were represented at the autopsy, which was performed by County Physician George W. King and his aide, Dr. Arthur J. Haskins, assisted by Coroner's Physician T. J. Lehane, of Manhattan. The lay witnesses were representatives of the District Attorney of New York and Hudson County. N. J.

This was the verdict of the physicians:
"Death was due to hemorrhage caused by the severance of the femoral artery, abdominal aorta, carotid and brachial arteries."
These arteries were severed by the murderer in his preparation to dispose of the body, cutting it up so that various parts of the remains might be dropped in the Hudson at different points.

Have Different Theories.

The Hoboken police expressed confidence to-night that the murder was a parallel to that of "Billy" Brown by Chester Gillette. Like Gillette's victim, this girl was to have become a mother in a few months. The New York police, however, were working on a theory that a maniac was the murderer.

In this connection they were attempting to secure some trace of Ella Sternemann, of Brooklyn, whose father sent a letter to Dr. King, reporting the disappearance of his daughter, and stating that he feared she was the Hudson River victim. The letter was of a rambling nature, as if written by a victim of delusions.

Think They Have Clue.

The police followed up the clue, however, and to-night it was reported that they found in the room of a relative of the Sternemann girl a quantity of wrapping paper and wire similar to that used in wrapping up the torso of the dead girl. The police intimated that an arrest would he made within a few hours.

Sternemann is a millinery salesman. The wire found around the torso of the slain girl was such as is used in trimming hats. Sternemann has been known for many years as an "eccentric character." Eight years ago he was arrested on the charge of trying to kill his wife with a saber. The charge was dropped by the wife, who has since died.

Can Trace Pillow Case.

An important development in tracing the slayer was made late in the day at Newark, N. J., when officials of the Robinson-Roders Feather Company gave to the Hudson County authorities the name of the retailer who bought from them six pillow cases of the peculiar size used to encase the torso of the slain girl.

It was said that the retailer would be able to furnish the names and addresses of the customers who bought the cases from him. It was the peculiar size of the case that brought about this development, both the wholesaler and retailer remembering them.

Expect Arrest Soon.

Chief of Police Hayes, of Hoboken, received some important information to-night and then said:
"This means we will make an arrest as soon as we find a certain man. We shall not charge him with murder, but hold him on suspicion."

An attempt was made to identify the victim's body by Mrs. Josephine Reckenwald, of Hoboken. She said that her daughter had been lured away by a New York man last May. She said that she had met the man a week ago, but that he had refused to give her any information as to her daughter. She was not allowed to see the body.

Launches Patrol River.

In an effort to establish the identity of the river victim, two launches patrolled the Jersey shore all day today. The missing head and limbs were not found.

The police theory is that the body was cut up in New York and dropped overboard from a row boat in the Hudson. Without establishing the identity of the girl, they would be unable to convict the slayer, unless he confessed.

Butcher's Victim While Yet Alive, Autopsy Shows, The Times Dispatch, 9 September 1913, page 1, column 3.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thriller Thursday - part 4 of 4 - Girl's Head Severed While She Was Alive

Girl's Head Severed While She Was Alive; Clue to Slayer Found

Autopsy Conducted by Three Physicians Shows That Fiendish Murderer Did Not Wait for Death Before Beginning Dismemberment of His Victim's Body.

No Mark of a Bullet or Any Sign of Poison.

Retailer Who Sold Six Pillow Cases Similar to One Wrapped About Part of Body Has Been Located and He Knows Purchasers' Names

That the victim of the Hudson River mystery was dismembered while life was still in her body was the unassailable finding of three doctors, who to-day performed an autopsy upon the two segments of a young woman's body found in the river on Friday and yesterday. Death was ascribed to the shock caused by the severance of her limbs and head.

Because of the absence of the murdered girl's head – now being dragged for over three miles of the river's course along the Jersey shore – the physicians could only guess that the victim of murderous fiends had been stunned either by a blow on the head or by inhaling some anaesthetic and that while she lay in a come the work of dismemberment was done. No mark of knife or bullet appeared on the torso – there was no trace of poison in the stomach.

New York Doctor at Autopsy

County Physician George W. King and his assistant, Dr. Arthur J. Haskins, were assisted in the autopsy by Coroner's Physician Dr. Timothy J. Lehane of Manhattan. Deacon Murphy, representing the office of District-Attorney Whitman, and Detective McDonald of the Hudson County Prosecutor's office were the lay witnesses of the autopsy. The cause of death was ascribed by the physicians as follows:
“Death due to hemorrhage caused by the severance of the femoral artery, abdominal aorta, cartoid [sic] and brachial arteries.”

The severing of these arteries represents the cuts made by the instruments of the murderer in preparing to dispose of his victim's body. The doctors also discovered that the victim had recently been expecting motherhood but that by artificial means the working of nature had been defeated. There was no evidence of a criminal operation.

A great step toward the solution of the mystery was made late this afternoon when the officials of the Robinson Reders Feather Company of Newark, N. J., who, it was learned, manufactured the pillow cases in which the two fragments of the body were stuffed, gave to the Hudson County authorities the name of the retailer who had bought six pillow cases of the peculiar size of those used by the murderer.

This retailer, as it was stated by one of the Newark manufacturers this afternoon, has been able to give to the authorities the named and addresses of the customers who had purchased these pillow cases from him.

How Dealers Traced the Pillow Cases

The manufacturers were aided in their search through sales records by the fact that the pillow cases were of an unusual size. The retailer was able through this peculiarity to remember to whom he had sold them.
Detectives of Hudson County began immediate work on these new clues aided by Headquarters men in Manhattan.

The discovery of the body of a stillborn infant on the shore a few hundred feet away from the spot where the lower portion of the woman's body was found yesterday was not overlooked by the authorities, eager to seize upon any scrap that seems evidence pointing to the solution of the mystery.

It was said by Detectives Charlock of the Hudson County Prosecutor's office and Lyons of the Weehawken ….. day that there were no external evidences upon the lower section of the woman's trunk – found near the Delaware and Hudson coal dock yesterday wrapped and bound in a manner similar to that of the upper half of the torso found on Friday – to lead to the assumption that an illegal operation had been performed upon the victim of the sensational crime now only beginning to be uncovered.

On the contrary there was every evidence to indicate that approaching motherhood, uninterrupted by illegal practices, established the motive for slaying the young woman and disposing of her body in separate packages in the river.

No Marks of Violence on the Body.

“That is positively no marks of violence upon either the upper or lower half of the body.: said Detective Charlock. “It is our opinion that the young woman was murdered and that the motive was the same as that in the “Billy” Brown murder near Herkimer. Had a criminal operation been attempted or death resulted from such a cause it would not need an autopsy to confirm that fact.”

The second telling circumstance in the sensational crime now pushing the agents of justice both in New Jersey and Manhattan to the utmost endeavor is the determination by the Weehawken and county authorities that the dismemberment of the body was not done by one unknowing in the ways of surgery, but at the hands of a person accustomed to the use of a scalpel and surgeon's saw. In the proof of this belief they point to the fact that the limbs were removed half way down the thigh instead of at the hip socket, because that would have been the quickest and the easiest method for one working under the goad of fear.

The marks of the knife and saw are such as to preclude the possibility that any tools except the specialised instruments of the surgeon were used. No amateur under the stress of terror could have done his gruesome task with absolutely no bungling and haggling.

The detectives lean to the theory that the ten-pound piece of mica gneiss which was found yesterday as anchoring weight in the package containing the lower half of the trunk had been used as an anchor for a small boat – presumably a fisherman's craft on the Hudson.

Chunks of rock are usually used for this purpose, and in the opinion of the detectives the murderer used a small boat to distribute his packages. After sinking one of more his eye caught the rock anchor in the boat he used and he utilised that to sink the portion of the body which constituted a revelation of the motive for his crime.

Two Girls Saw a Hand and Arm in Water.

Helen Zimmerman, a girl whose home is at No. ..0 Broadway, Astoria, told The Evening World that one day last week – she thinks it was Friday – she and her chum, Emma Stritt, who lives on Temple street, were walking on the beach along East River when, at the feet of Jamaica avenue, they saw a human hand and part of an arm lying just out of reach of the waves. They could not tell whether it was a man's or a woman's hand, Helen said, but it looked as if it had not been in the water long. They were so terrified they ran away without telling a policeman.

As the tide reached its ebb at 5 o'clock yesterday morning, Joseph Hagman and Michael Brennan, fishing for crabs [300?] feet north of the Delaware and Hudson Coal Dock, at Weehawken, saw a bundle in the mud. There was no way to determine whether it had floated in or had been dropped from the railroad tracks a few feet away.

Formation of Rock Points to Manhattan Crime.

The rising tide soon covered the package again and the men forgot it until later in the day, when the water receded and it again became visible. They pushed it from the water with poles and saw that the outer wrapping was of brown germiside paper, such as all drug stores sell as a protection for furs and woollens from moths.

A coarse, strong, two-strand rope and yards of fine copper wire wound with white silk were about the bundle. When the cord and wires had been cut and the paper removed a hemstitched pillow slip was revealed, around which was a section of the New York Times of Sunday, Aug. 31. There was also between the brown wrapping paper and the body a jagged piece of rock of the micaceous gneiss type found in Manhattan and the Bronx, but nowhere in New Jersey. The stone weighed about ten pounds and was eleven inches long and four inches across at the widest point.

It did not take long then to discover that part of a human body was inside the [illeg.]. Two Erie Ferry watchmen who were coming along took charge and notified the authorities at Weehawken. After a hurried investigation they notified Dr. George W. King, County Physician, at Hoboken.

Precautions were taken to preserve every possible clue that might be found about the package. The cords and wires were cut so as to save intact the knots for police inspection. The brown wrapping paper contained nothing promising, but the section of Times proved that the murder was committed on or after Aug. 31 – a week ago yesterday, and the fragment of rock indicated it was in New York.

The copper wire offered nothing in the way of a clue. It is the kind used by thousands of milliners, by electricians and by persons in many other callings. It was similar to that around the part of the body found three miles further up the Hudson on Friday.

The pillow slip, however, is expected to play an important part in subsequent developments. It is of good material, and is one of the kind used to cover a “day pillow.” About ten inches from the opening was a handworked design surrounding the capital letter “A,” embroidered in white linen. Such a design can be bought in any notion store. The work itself is not extra good, and indicates a service. The letter “A” was the only identifying mark on the slip as a microscopic examination showed. It had been hoped there might be a laundry mark, or the stamped name of some hotel, but nothing of the kind was found, which convinces the police that the slip was owned by a private family. Consequently they believe the woman was killed and dismembered in some private dwelling or flat in New York.

Quite a crowd had gathered about the fishermen as they were unwrapping the package guessing as to its contents. Hagman, who is a paper hanger, insisted that the package could not contain anything valuable, or it would not have been allowed to remain there so long, and as he peered in he shouted: “It's a human body. The upper part of the legs are here and some of the stomach.”

An attendant of the Hoboken morgue was sent in an automobile to get the package, and a superficial examination by Dr. King showed that the thighs had been cut from the part of the body already in the back room of the morgue. Then evidence was found that the woman would have become a mother in four months.

The new discovery added materially to the description the authorities re so anxious to make complete. The dimensions of the thighs proved the woman to be a bit heavier that was at first supposed. It is now believed that she may have weighed between 140 and 145 pounds instead of a maximum of 130. The estimate as to her age, however, remained the same. That the woman was of almost perfect proportions was proved. The she possessed dark brown hair, tinged with bronze, was also established. A clot of hair had been tossed into the pillow slip, and when dried was seen to be rich in color and exceedingly fine. It was such hair as is well cared for by its possessor.

Girl's Head Severed While She Was Alive; Clue to Slayer Found, The Evening World, 8 September 1913, page 1, column 5, and page 2, column 1.

Thriller Thursday - part 3 of 4 - River Yields More of Woman's Body

River Yields More of Woman's Body

Lower Part of Torso Found Three Miles Below Place of First Discovery.

Rock a Valuable Clue

Of a Kind Found in Manhattan but Not in New Jersey - Letter "A" Worked on Pillow Slip Covering.

The lower part of the torso of the young woman whose dismembered body had been sunk in the Hudson River was found yesterday afternoon at the water's edge at Weehawken, N. J., opposite Thirty-ninth Street. This was about three miles below Woodcliff, N. J., where a part of the body, packed in a pillow half full of feathers and wrapped in heavy manila paper, was found on Friday afternoon.

In the bundle in which the lower part of the body was found yesterday was a piece of New York schist weighing about nine pounds. This is a greenish-gray rock glittering with mica, which occurs everywhere on Manhattan Island, but is rarely or never found on the New Jersey side. The piece was irregular in shape and appeared to have been broken off by blasting. Such a piece might be found anywhere in Manhattan where foundations are being excavated.

This find led County Physician George W. King and Prosecutor's Detective William J. Charlock to believe the woman had been killed in New York City. Last night the police and District Attorney's office of New York were notified by telephone and Assistant District Attorney Murphy made a visit to Hoboken to begin an investigation.

The package found yesterday afternoon lay on a cinder bed of the Jersey Junction division of the West Shore Railroad. The railroad runs at the edge of the water, and the cinder roadbed forms the bank of the river. Extending more that a hundred yards into the Hudson at this place is a flat which is used for the graveyard of barges, schooners, and small boats which have been burned or wrecked along the Hudson. The place is called the Baxter Wrecking Company's basin. At low tide the rotting hulls of hundreds of small craft are exposed, but high tide submerges everything except the tops of the ribs of the larger wrecks.

There were more that a score of boys with nets hunting crabs in the ships' graveyard from the shore of from the hulls of the boats all day yesterday. James Hagman, a young paperhanger, of 504 West Fifty-third Street, and Michael Brennan, a painter, of the same address, who were climbing about the skeletons of old sloops at the foot of Hamilton Place, Weehawken, were the first to see the bundle. This was at 6 o'clock yesterday morning. It was low tide then and the bundle was lying just above the water line. The two crab hunters paid no attention to it at this time. They went ashore to rest, however, at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and noticed the bundle again, this time under about a foot of water, as the tide was coming in.

Hagman with a long stick rolled the bundle to shore. It was wrapped in heavy brown paper, evidently of the kind which is treated with chemicals for use in wrapping clothes to keep moths away. Around the bundle several yards of fine milliner's wire had been wound. After taking off the wire, Hagman found a pillow-slip inside the bundle. Within the pillow-slip was the section of the woman's body wrapped in a newspaper.

Hagman and his companion called others to see their discovery, and a few minutes later the Weehawken police were notified. Detective Michael Lyons, Capt. Charles Hessner and Policeman James Weir were sent to investigate. Detective Lyons examined the bundle and found the chunk of rock with tended to establish the fact that the crime had taken place in New York City. The newspaper in which the section of the body was wrapped bore the date of Aug. 31, and this date tallied with the conjecture of County Physician King that the crime had taken place recently. From the condition of the body Dr. King believes that the woman probably died last Monday or Tuesday.

In spite of the fact that the bundle was weighted with a nine-pound rock, Dr. King was of the opinion that it might have been sunk somewhere in midstream and have floated to the Jersey side. On the other hand, it is possible that the bundle was thrown into the stream from the shore in front of the Baxter Wrecking Company's basin and that it did not move from the spot where it sunk. If the bundle was thrown into midstream from a boat it must have found a channel at high tide which would take it through ten or twelve rows of wrecked ships in front of the place where it was found.

The first part of the body was found in a pillow which had been ripped open and half emptied of its feathers. The second part was wrapped in the slip which had evidently gone over the pillow. The slip furnished the authorities with what is believed to be a valuable clue.

On the slip was the embroidered latter "A," with fancy designs on either side. It was hand embroidery which had evidently been done by one who was a beginner at needlework. The "A" was about an inch high and began and ended in a flourish, which made its width about an inch and a half. On each side of the "A" a circle was embroidered, and within the circles were a number of embroidered dots. On three sides of each circle were embroidered what appeared to be curving branches each bearing several leaves. The "A" had evidently been slightly beyond the powers of the embroiderer, as its sides were uneven and the flourishes at the end were poorly executed. The embroidering was in white silk on a white cotton pillow slip of the size 32 by 21 inches. The handwork led the detectives on the case yesterday to believe that the body had been dismembered in a private residence.

The autopsy was not held yesterday because of the evidence which made it probable that the crime had been committed in New York City. On this account Dr. King wished a physician representing New York County to be present, and the autopsy will probably be held to-day or to-morrow.

Dr. King, however, stated yesterday that there was evidence that the woman had died undergoing an operation. The two portions of the body fitted perfectly, showing that they were from the same person. The legs had been severed from the body a few inches below the hips, the bones evidently being cut with a surgeon's saw.

Chief of Police Leonard Marcy of North Bergen had five detectives in motor boats making their way yesterday along the Jersey Shore for several miles above and below Woodcliffe, where the section of the body was found on Friday, in search of bundles containing other parts of the dismembered body.

Other detectives went to various manufacturers of women's wear in an effort to trace the undergarment wrapped about the upper part of the torso which was found Friday. The search along these lines had not led anywhere last night.

Chief of Police Hayes and A. J. Volk, keeper of the Morgue in Hoboken, each received an anonymous letter by special delivery yesterday. They had evidently been written by a lunatic. Both letters were several pages in length, but neither contained a sentence which made sense. They were written about the finding of part of the woman's body at Woodcliffe, but neither Chief Hayes nor Undertaker Volk was able to interpret successfully a single idea that the letters were intended to convey.

River Yields More of Woman's Body, The New York Times, 8 September 1913

Thriller Thursday - part 2 of 4 - More of Girl's Torso Found

More of Girl's Torso Found

Lower Part of Body Fished Our Further Up North River.

Clue in Pillow Slip

Initial “A” on Cloth, Rock and Paper Wrapper Aid Police.

May be New York Crime.

Father Writes of Missing Daughter – Victim of Illegal Operation.

Another fragment of the body of a young woman who had been murdered and dismembered was fund in the North River yesterday afternoon near the West Shore ferry in Hoboken, about opposite West Forty-second street, Manhattan, and about three miles south of where a part of the torso was found by children last Friday night.

The fragment found yesterday gave the police of this city and of Hudson county, New Jersey, something definite upon which to base an investigation. It was the lower part of the torso and perfectly joined the upper part that was found last Friday.

It had been placed in a white cotton pillow slip on which was embroidered in white silk the letter A about an inch and a half from the edge of the slip. On each side of the slip are hand embroidered floral designs.

Around the pillow slip and its contents had been wrapped heavy brown tar paper of the sort that is used to discourage moths. Within this wrapping was a piece of rock, gneiss, weighing about ten pounds, a kind of rock thag [sic] is found everywhere in Manhattan and The Bronx but is not common in New Jersey.

Page of a Newspaper.

Also within the wrapping paper was part of a page of the New York Times of August 31. The bundle had been carefully and strongly tied with fine thread-wrapped copper wire such as is used by milliners in hat making and trimming.

Dr. George W. King, county physician of Hudson county, satisfied himself yesterday that the girl had been murdered in New York, probably in the upper part of the city, and that the murderer, who was wither a doctor or else a man remarkably familiar with surgeons' tools, had dropped portions of the body into the North River on different days so as to lessen the chances of detection.

The county physician and the police believe now that the young woman, who was probably about 25 years of age, of dark complexion, rounded figure and of medium height or a trifle less, was the victim of a criminal operation.

Last night Dr. King communicated his information to the police in this city. The District Attorney's office was informed of the evidence discovered by the Jersey authorities and Deputy Assistant District Attorney Deacon Murphy went to Hoboken to confer with the authorities there and to be present this morning at an autopsy which Dr. King will conduct at Volk's morgue, 638 Washington street, Hoboken.

Thinks it His Daughter.

A singular letter received yesterday by A. J. Volk, the morgue keeper, has provided the only suggestion so far as to the possible identity of the murdered woman. A man wrote that he was Peter H. Sternemann, a veteran millinery salesman to be found at Berg's tin roofing shop in Williamsburg, insisted that the murdered girl was his daughter Ella, who had been decoyed into an immoral life and who had been known for some time as Julia Alois.

The letter was incoherent, in many parts incomprehensible, but the writer was positive that is was his daughter who had been killed by a doctor after or during an illegal operation. The Hoboken and the New York police were looking last night for Sternemann, the writer of the letter, to see if more information was obtainable from him.

The fragment of a body which was discovered yesterday afternoon was found by Joseph Hagman and Michael Brennan, paper hangers, who live at 504 West Fifty-third street and who had gone over to the Weehawken side of the river very early yesterday morning to look for crabs. They were working up and down the river in the vicinity of the West Shore ferry house and of the Delaware and Hudson coal piers.

At about 8 o'clock they saw a partially submerged bundle of some kind off Hamilton place and about 300 feet north of the Delaware and Hudson coal docks. The bundle lay in barely a foot of water and had obviously been exposed by the ebbing tide.

It seemed most unlikely that the bundle could have drifted to such a position because that part of the river near the shore was blocked off by small boats, kreckage [sic] and odds and ends of driftwood.

Dropped Near Same Spot.

The police assume that the bundle had been dropped into the river at the place where is was found, and that the murderer, or the one who disposed of the parts of the body for him, had used a boat for the purpose of cunningly getting rid of the dismembered body.

For several hours Hagman and Brennan kept hands off the bundle, although they passed it several times. At 1 P. M., however, they hooked it from the river and turned it over to Stephen Hamilton and Stephen Sullivan, Erie Railroad watchmen. The watchmen notified the Hoboken police station and Detective Sergeant Michael Lyons took the bundle to Volk's morgue.

Dr. King, the county physician, who had examined the fragment found on Friday, and who had already made a little progress toward speculating, at least, concerning the murdered girl and the motive for the crime, examined the new found fragment for several hours.

In the first place he joined it to the portion of a torso that was found Friday. That was the upper half of a torso. The new found fragment, the lower half, joined accurately. It was obviously the missing part of the torso.

It had been cut away with a very long and very sharp knife used by one familiar with anatomy and with surgical knives. The lower part of the torso had been cut away just below the navel and just above the hip joints.

Looks Like Doctor's Work.

“It looks as if the dismemberment had been done by a physician,” said Dr. King.

Further on in his examination Dr King satisfied himself that the girl had been the victim of an illegal operation.

“There, of course, is a motive established,” said the doctor.

What interested him particularly was the finding of a ten pound piece of rock peculiar to the New York side of the river.

“No such rock is to be found here in New Jersey,” said Dr. King. “Therefore, I believe that the murder was committed in New York. The rock is gneiss such as is uncovered in every sort of excavation made in Manhattan and The Bronx.”

Last night the New York police were inquiring of all hotels that come under “A” in the directory, seeking to locate the hotel from which the pillow slip had been taken. That work was of course only a shot in the dark. The “A” embroidered on the pillow slip might have been a family initial, the initial of the murdered girl, or of the murderer. It was a pretty tenuous clue at best.

To-day a virorous [sic] search will be made for four miles or more along the Jersey side of the North River in the hope of finding the head. If that search is successful, identification would be possible. Without the head identification would be unlikely.

Reaching out for any sort of information, any sort of clue, Dr. King and the Hoboken police gave considerable attention to the curious letter that Undertaker Volk received yesterday. The writer, Peter H. Sternemann, was so confused and vague in most places that the police could hardly do more than guess at his meaning.

Mentions a Doctor.

Among the persons mentioned as knowing his daughter Ella by Sternemann in the letter to Mr. Volk was Dr. William Mosier at 1827 Third avenue. There was no Dr. William Mosier at that address last night, but Dr. O. L. Mosier, who conducts the Yorkville Dental Parlors, at the northwest corner of Third avenue and Eighty-ninth street, said that he had formerly employed Sternemann, but hadn't seen him for a long time.

“He has two daughters,” said Dr. Mosier. “One is insane, I believe. The other is at Middle Village, L. I., I have been informed.”

Dr. Mosier added that he has a brother, William Mosier, who was formerly a doctor, but who gave up the practice of medicine. William Mosier is living near Asbury Park, his brother said. He didn't know the address.

“I have read in the papers,” Sternemann wrote, “of the finding of a body 22 years old. Already have I sent a description [he meant a description of his own missing daughter, it was gathered] to Chief of Police Hayes of Hoboken.

“I have lived.” the letter continued, “in Hudson county from 1892 until seven years ago. A French woman [the name was furnished] who associated with loafers had a sister. The sister combined with a man to make immoral my oldest daughter, who is now in a hospital.

“My youngest daughter, Ella, fell into the hands of bad people [Sternemann gave the names of the persons he had in mind] and Ella was placed in bad places. An illegal operation was performed on her. [Here Sternemann gave the name of a doctor who knew his daughter, he says.]

“My daughter Ella was known as Julia Alois. She was weak minded, 22 years of age, auburn hair, large eyebrows, gray eyes, small head and mouth, long, straight nose; overlapping upper teeth, childlike in her talk.”

Police Get Names

The names and addresses supplied by Sternemann were turned over to the police, who started last night in cooperation with the New York detectives to see if there was any truth in the man's seeming incoherencies.

Undertaker Volk recalled yesterday that on Saturday a man who appeared to be 55 years old, who was sharp faced, wore eyeglasses, who stooped and seemed to be nervous, called at the morgue and asked if the portion of a body that was first found has been identified.

Inquiries made about Sternemann by The Sun last night produced some information. The only address he gave for himself in his letter to Undertaker Volk was “Berg, Tinroofer, Bushwick avenue, near Arion place, Williamsburg.”

Herman Berg, a tinsmith of 576 Bushwick avenue, told a Sun reporter last night that he knew Sternemann, who lived formerly in Olive street, Williamsburg.

Appeared to Worry.

“Sternemann,” said Mr. Berg, “is a peculiar man, very peculiar. He used to talk to me when I was busy. I never paid much attention to his ramblings, but he appeared always to be in trouble or to be worrying over his daughters. He had two. One of them is now in the Kings Park lunatic asylum. She tried to jump out of a front window last June.

Sternemann in order to be near her moved to somewhere down near the asylum. I haven't seen him recently. The other daughter, the younger, disappeared about a year ago. She was about 22 years of age.”

In Sternemann's letter to Mr. Volk he said that his missing daughter had worked for Frank Shaefer, who had a millinery store in Third avenue, between 122d and 123d streets.

Last night Stephen Harper, a young man who works for Shaefer, said that is was true that Ella Sternemann had been employed in the store, but that she had gone to Middle Village, L. I., to live with an uncle, and that a Mrs. Mae Wilkinson of Hoboken, whose address Harper did not know, could tell of the girl's present whereabouts.

With these developments the case rested last night. This morning Dr. King will perform an autopsy in the Volk Morgue. Prosecutor Robert S. Hudspeth of Hudson county will be present, as will Assistant District Attorney Deacon Murphy of New York.

List of Missing Girls.

The police have sent out general alarms for the following girls and received no reports yet as to their whereabouts.

Ida M. Bowles, 23 years old, of Charleston, W. Va. Black eyes, dark hair, weighing 140 pounds and tall.

Louisa Antone, 17 years old, of 3878 Third avenue. Black eyes and brown hair, weighing 130 pounds, 5 feet 1 inch tall. Missing since August 31.

Anna Sullivan, 28 years old, of 522 West Twenty-first street. Blond hair and brown eyes, weighing 130 pounds, 5 feet 3 inches tall. Missing since September 1.

Anna Simpson, 16 years old, of 407 Suydam street, Brooklyn. Brown hair and eyes, weighing 130 pounds, 5 feet and 4 inches tall. Missing since September 1.

Julia Kolosowoga, 25 years old, of 458 Eleventh avenue. Brown hair and eyes, with scars from burns on both ears, weighs 110 pounds and is 5 feet tall. Missing since August 29.

Annie Halpin, 20 years old, of 311 East Thirty-fourth street. Missing since August 9. Dark eyes and brown hair, weighing 90 pounds and 5 feet 4 inches tall.

Mary McBeth, 25 years old, of Newark, N. J. Dark eyes and hair, weighing 95 pounds and 5 feet 2 inches tall. Missing since August 15.

More of Girl's Torso Found, The Sun, 8 September 1913, page 1, column 7, and page 2, column 1.