Thursday, October 31, 2013

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


BUTCHERS VICTIM WHILE YET ALIVE, AUTOPSY SHOWS


Gotham's Latest Crime Develops Startling Revelations.

HEAD AND LIMBS OF GIRL MISSING


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.