Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thriller Thursday - Believes Woman in River Was His Wife


Believes Woman in River Was His Wife

Casper Janin, an Italian Waiter, Positive in Identification of Torso.

Clue Points to Physician.

Story Told by Brooklyn Man of Lost Sister Interests Police.

The mystery of the woman who was murdered, her body cut up and thrown into the Hudson River, came nearer solution yesterday when the police of New Jersey and New York city discovered two new and promising clues on which to work. For the first time since the police started their investigation a feeling of optimism was evident on the part of the detectives.

The first clue was the seeming identification of the torso of the murder victim now in Volk's morgue, Hoboken, by Casper Janin, an Italian waiter of 303 West Thirty-third street, Manhattan, who said the body was that of his wife who had deserted him several years ago.

The second clue was the story told by a young man in Brooklyn who thinks his sister was the victim of a married physician with whom she was infatuated. Accompanied by detectives from the Butler street station, Brooklyn, he spent the afternoon in an effort to have H. S. Hurwitz, the Harlem druggist who sold the tar paper similar to the kind in which parts of the victim's body were wrapped, identify the purchaser from a group of photographs of graduates of the class of 1911, Long Island College Hospital.

The druggist could not pick out the man. The young man then called at the second hand store of George Sachs, where the pillow found with the woman's body was purchased, but Sachs also failed to identify any of the men in the photograph.

Other developments yesterday were the establishment of the fact that the part of the leg found at Keansburg, N. J., belonged to the murdered woman's body and that Miss Lucy Smedes of Keyport, N. J., at first believed to have been the victim, was alive and will in Kingston, N. Y.

Says Birthmarks Are Alike.

The clue which occupied most of the detectives' time yesterday was the statement of Casper Janin that the birthmarks on the torso in the Hoboken morgue were the same as marks on his wife's body. After his visit to the morgue shortly before noon Detective Charlock of Prosecutor Hudspeth's office in Hudson county and detectives of Inspector Faurot's staff in New York started to investigate his story. So good was the clue considered that the detectives refused at first to tell his name for fear of giving an alarm to the slayer.

"I am sure the body in the morgue is that of my wife," Janin told the police after viewing the body. "I know because she had those birthmarks. Our six-year-old child also has them.

"I married my wife, who was a Spanish girl, in Barcelona about seven years ago. She was then 15 years old. In May, 1912, she left me and came to this country. I went to Turin, where I became a chauffeur. Than, about a year ago, I came to New York to look for her. I finally found her living with a man of bad reputation at 18 West 104th street. The man's name was Vincenso Planells.

"I succeeded in making her come back to me, but on August 26 she again left me and went to this man. Later I called and asked him where my wife was. He told me that she had left, but would not tell me where she was."

Janin added that he had been a rich merchant in the northern part of Italy before his marriage. He is now a waiter, according to the police.

Brother's Story Differs.

At 18 West 104th street, where Vinsenso was said to live, John Planells, his brother, told a different story, as follows:
"My brother Vincent came here from Havana, Cuba, about three months ago. At that time I was living in Brooklyn with my wife. When my brother came with a woman he said was his wife the house was not large enough for all of us, so we moved to our present address. My sister-in-law's name was Lena. My wife says the woman did not have any birthmark on her shoulder.

"As my brother could not speak English and my wife could not speak Spanish we did not get along well together. My wife then moved to the country. I joined her later, leaving Vincent and his wife alone in this house. About two weeks ago Lena returned to Havana. Last Saturday my brother left for Havana to join her. That is all I know. I never met this fellow Janin and do not think my brother knew him."

Dr. George W. King, county physician, and his assistant, Dr. Hastings, after their trip to Keansburg, N. J., where the part of the woman's leg was found, were positive that it was a part of the murdered woman's body. It fitted perfectly the lower portion of the torso.

Seek Mysterious Man.

The mysterious man who was seen last Thursday night carrying two suit cases on a Palisade street car near Edgewater, N. J., is being sought by the police in the belief that the cases may have contained the severed parts of the murdered woman's body. The man boarded the car about 11:30 o'clock near North Bergen. Attention was attracted to him because of the peculiar odor coming from the cases.

"Have you an undertaking establishment on the car," a passenger asked the conductor, Louis Odone of 640 Fillmore avenue, Union Hill, N. J.

The man, because of the complaint of the passengers, was asked to get off the car, but begged to be allowed to stay on as he was going only a few more blocks. He alighted at the Fort Lee line junction and walked toward the Hudson River. The point where he alighted is within a short distance of where the first part of the woman's torso was found.

The conductor described the man as dark, about 35 years old, five feet eight inches tall and weighing about 175 pounds. He had a dark mustache and wore a light blue suit, a shirt open at the neck and a dark grey cap. The cases, the conductor said, bulged at the sides and appeared very heavy.

The police of the Weehawken station are of the opinion that the man distributed the parts of the body along the river front where they were found.

Girl Saw Floating Head.

Miss Grace Cure, 17 years old, of Bayonne, N. J., while rowing about 200 feet from shore of the upper bay Tuesday saw a head in the water. The girl says the hair on the head was black and was about a foot long. She says it trailed after the head, which was floating face upward. The features were sharp and clear, the girl said. She became frightened and mad no attempt to get the grewsome [sic] thing.

The head is believed to have been the same one which was seen floating in the lower bay below Tottenville the day before.

The Brooklyn police are responsible for the discovery of the young man who said his sister who was infatuated with a young married physician has been missing since August 1.

The young physician has an office somewhere in Manhattan, the girl's brother said, but he would not tell where.

His sister was about 5 feet 4 inches tall, the brother said, and weighed only a little more than 100 pounds.

Although this does not correspond with the estimate of the weight of the murdered woman, the police are following up the clue because the man in the case is a physician. The cutting up of the body was done by one skilled with surgical instruments, the authorities believe.

Believes Woman in River Was His Wife, The Sun, 12 September 1913.