Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thriller Thursday - part 1 of 4 - Boys Find Another Part of Woman's Body


Boys Find Another Part of Woman's Body

Was Floating in Baxter's Basin, Weehawken, Three Miles From First Discovery.

A second piece of the torso of the young woman found floating in the Hudson River Friday at Woodcliff was discovered yesterday afternoon among abandoned boat hulls and sunken barges in what is known as the "ships' graveyard," in Baxter's Wrecking Company's basin at Weehawken, N. J., about three miles south of Woodcliff and three hundred yards north of the Delaware and Hudson coal docks. The bundle in which the part of the torso pay was weighted down by a heavy stone.

County Physician Dr. George W. King and his assistant, Dr. A. P. Harking, are certain the portion of the body found belongs to the torso. It measured about fourteen inches, and when placed next to the other part found on Friday measures about twenty-seven inches.

Covering the find was a white pillow slip, on which was embroidered the initial "A." Over this was the real estate section of "The New York Times" of August 31, 1913, and a heavy disinfectant paper used to protect clothing from moths. The newspaper and pillow slip were smeared with blood. The slip corresponded with the bag, which contained the part of the body first found.

The pillow slip, together with the chemises, originally found, was taken by detectives from the County Prosecutor's office to be examined by manufacturers in Hoboken, Newark and other New Jersey towns in the hope of finding a clue.

The bundle containing the portion of the woman's body was first seen by two watchmen, Sullivan and Hamilton, employed by the Erie Railroad, which has a dock nearby. Little attention was paid to it until later in the day, when two boys playing on the sunken barges fished out the mysterious package with sticks. When the contents were revealed the lads' cries brought Joseph Hagman, a paperhanger, and Michael Brennan, a painter, both living at No. 504 West 53d street, Manhattan, who were crabbing in the basin.

The police were informed, and the part of the body was taken to Volks undertaking establishment, at No. 633 Washington avenue, Hoboken. Dr. King and his assistant examined it. A bunch of loose, dark brown hair was hanging to the body, which it is hoped, may aid in giving a clew [sic] as to the identity of the woman.

A motive for the crime, it is thought by both Drs. King and Hasking, has been discovered. An examination showed that the woman had undergone an operation. The theory has been advanced that she either died while under the anaesthetic or from the effects of the operation. An autopsy will be held to-day at the undertaking establishment.

Deacon Murphy, of the District Attorney's office, Manhattan, has been asked to be present at th autopsy, since it is considered probable that the woman came to her death in this city.

The stone found in the package is what is commonly known to the engineers and contractors doing tunnelling work in this city as New York schist. It is softer that the ordinary rock and is only found on the island of Manhattan.

Employes [sic] of the Robertson-Roders factory at Newark were busy part of yesterday going over the sales book of the concern in an endeavor to find the store where the material used in making the pillowcase was purchased.

A special delivery letter addressed to a Mr. Volks and postmarked "Grand Central" was turned over to the authorities yesterday. In a rambling way the letter tells of the writer having read in the newspapers of the finding of the torso of a woman's body and informs the authorities of the presence in New York City of a doctor who would do anything for money. It repeatedly mentions the name of Ella, for whom, it appears, the writer is looking.

At the head of the letter, which is written on a dozen sheets of paper, is the name of Peter H. Sternemann, care of Burke, tin roofer, Bushwick avenue, near Arion Place. Here it was learned that Herman B. Berg, a tin roofer, was meant. Mr. Berg said last night he knew Mr. Sternemann and recalled that Sternemann had told him of a daughter about twenty-two years old who ran away from home about a year ago.

At No, 2253 Third avenue, another address given in the letter, Frank Schafer, a costumer, lives. It was said there that Sternemann called quite frequently, and it was the general opinion that he was irrational.

Boys Find Another Part of Woman's Body, The Tribune, 8 September 1913, page 1, column 6, and page 2, column 3.