Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

New York, 1915: accounts of "ripper" murders of children

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • New York, 1915: accounts of "ripper" murders of children

    I have managed to put together a rough timeline of these child murders, mostly by looking at New York papers at the Library of Congress' s Chronicling America Historic Newspapers site.

    March 19, 1915: Leonore Cohn, aged five years, nicknamed "Smarty", leaves to get a pail of milk. Later, she was found near death in a darkened hallway on the second floor of the tenement house at 350 Third Avenue, in which she lived with her mother and other relatives. She had been "criminally assaulted" and slashed with, according to differing reports, either a short-bladed penknife or a long-bladed, sharp knife. She was carried upstairs to her family's home, where a cousin tried to give her artificial respiration, but said "she was frothing at the mouth." She expired "soon after the ambulance surgeon arrived." [New York Tribune, Sunday, March 21, 1915, pages 1 and 9

    March 22, 1915: Funeral of the little Cohn girl is followed a crowd of women, many with children in tow. Detectives find it necessary to restore order, and do so without trouble. The rabbi prays for God to help the police and detectives. The Evening World, Monday, March 22, 1915, pages 1 and 2

    March 25, 1915: A man named James Hoey (alias James Hogan) is arrested on March 23 and detained in case detectives on the Cohn case wish to talk to him, but no detectives show at his arraignment. Hoey was interrupted by Police Solomon as he was "dragging nine-year-old Nellie Palmer toward a dark part of East Thirty-Second street." Hoey is described as in his thirties, unemployed laborer, powerfully built, and with "heavy features and general appearance of deficient mentality." He had on his face fresh scratches and a blackened eye, explained he had fallen out of a barroom chair in which he was sleeping. Magistrate Ten Eyck sentences Hoey to six months on Blackwell's Island. It later develops that this man for the last two weeks roomed with Michael Flood and his wife, at the corner of East Twenty-Sixth Street, only a block from the Cohn girl's home. The Evening World, Thursday, March 25, 1915, pages 1 and 2

    March 26, 1915: One week has passed with no arrest, and the papers detail everything the investigators have been doing in the Cohn girl's case. This includes interviewing all tenants in the tenement house, checking into the type of hard candy Leonore was clutching in her hand, examining blood-stained clothing, and assuring the press they have "at least one person under suspicion." Police were quoted as saying "no importance was attached to Hoey's case." Meanwhile, Brooklyn police were searching "for the man who attacked Julia Hawkins, six years old, in the basement of the building in which she lived at 554 Third Avenue, Brooklyn. "Physicians said the child's condition was such that she will be ill a long time." Mrs. Hawkins announced she will organize the women of her church to search for the man, and protect children. New York Tribune, Friday, March 26, 1915, page 16

    March 29, 1915: Mrs. Anna Cohn today receives a threatening letter, signed "Jack the Ripper", the text as follows:
    MRS. COHN:
    Dear Madam: Your family had better call off the police and detectives. They are a lot of rag-pickers. They could not clear up this case or any other in a hundred years. They are going about this job in their usual thick-headed way, accusing an innocent man wrongfully.
    I did the job. If you persist in your present methods and conduct I will kill a couple more of your family.
    JACK THE RIPPER.
    On the other side of the sheet was a barely legible scrawl accusing the Ecker family (the relatives the Cohns lived with) of "having guilty knowledge about the murder. At the bottom of the page are these words:
    This is my signature,
    H. B. Richmond,
    Brooklyn, N.Y.
    At the opposite side of the sheet is a vile drawing. Below it are words: This is my business." [The Evening World, Monday, March 29, 1915, page 3

    I will come back with more on the second child victim in another e-mail later.
    Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
    ---------------
    Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
    ---------------

  • #2
    Very interesting thanks I was hoping to learn more about this. Why didn't the police speak to james hoey? These murder remind a little bit of the 1970s Charlie chop off murders of children in nyc which you probably know...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by RockySullivan View Post
      Very interesting thanks I was hoping to learn more about this. Why didn't the police speak to james hoey? These murder remind a little bit of the 1970s Charlie chop off murders of children in nyc which you probably know...
      Things are a bit confusing with James Hoey/Hogan. One account says he was stopped by a policeman in the act of apparently abducting a little girl. He was sent away for it, but police looking into the Cohn murder indicated they had no interest in him.

      Another account has the Hoey name coming up in connection with a man from a local lodging house who had bloody clothing. He claimed they were the clothes he was given to wear after being released from prison, and apparently the "blood" wasn't really blood? At any rate, he was cleared. (I think this guy wasn't Hoey, but perhaps the reporter mixed up the name?)

      In the Cohn case, the police seemed to focus on the family and neighbors. This was probably because her mother insisted her daughter wouldn't go anywhere with a stranger. The neighbors who found Leonore claimed no one from the child's relations, the Ecker family (aunt, uncle, cousins) who were home came downstairs when the alarm was raised. A cousin who was about 20, studying to be a dentist, disagreed with this, and said he had come down, seen the child, and had dashed back upstairs to telephone first the ambulance, and then his aunt, Leonore's mother. (She was a nurse, worked at a doctor's office, and a widow. I gather she had also lost a younger child, some time before.) The cousin who was a dental student was the one who attempted artificial respiration.

      One other odd detail about this first murder was the later discovery of a table knife, daubed in red paint, found on the roof of the Cohn's tenement building. A sick prank? Some way of pointing to a suspect in the same building?

      It's also interesting that the first "Ripper" letter had scrawled accusations about the Ecker family on the back of it.

      More info on that first letter: the police decided the paper looked like the type given out to prisoners, and visited a young man in jail, and had him give a writing sample. He did so willingly, and it was said the samples matched. This young man was named either Robinson or Richardson (need to check my source), and they had settled on him because the postmark and time seemed to fit with a visit he'd had from his sister and a man who had signed the register as his brother. The police felt he had written the letter in jail, then slipped it to his visitors to smuggle it out and mail it. I'm not yet sure what they finally concluded re this letter, though I wonder why they released it to the press.
      Last edited by Pcdunn; 02-23-2015, 02:47 PM. Reason: Correct name spellings
      Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
      ---------------
      Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
      ---------------

      Comment


      • #4
        The first person I think of, for crimes like this -- especially where taunting notes to the parents are concerned -- is Albert Fish.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Fish

        Not that he's to blame, of course, for every horrible child murder of that period. But I'll be a monkey's aunt if there's a not a dozen murders he never confessed to. Sickos like him just love to keep a few back for their own enjoyment, not just the thrill of the kill, but they love to feel like they've got one over on everyone.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi, Ausgirl, and Rocky,

          I've got to admit I had to Wikipedia both "Albert Fish" and "Charlie Chop-off", as I'm not the serial killer scholar you folks may be, lol. I'm looking into this 1915 case mainly because I was curious about the outcome, and couldn't turn up any information about these murders elsewhere on the Internet. Plus, it gives me experience doing newspaper research with that great archive at the Library of Congress.

          I knew Albert's name, but not all the details. The outline on Wiki was quite enough, thank you. But I did glean some things that seem similar.

          There is one article about the Cohn case in which the coroner stated he could tell from the autopsy that the murderer was "insane", which suggests to me that the papers never got all the details. And somewhere there is a comment that both the children had been slashed on the front of the body, which does sound like Albert's M.O.
          Sadly, in one edition, right next to the article pertinent to the case, I saw another piece about a three-year-old boy who had been branded on his back in Baltimore (I think it was), and there was speculation about a secret society of men... What?! I didn't read the whole thing, but that was what I got in a brief glance at it.

          No wonder we needed child protection agencies!
          Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
          ---------------
          Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
          ---------------

          Comment


          • #6
            Albert Fish was a real sweetie, it seems, or you might say 5CUM
            G U T

            There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah, he was a piece of work alright.

              Pcdunn, I'm looking forward to any further stuff you might turn up in NY in that era.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ausgirl View Post
                Yeah, he was a piece of work alright.

                Pcdunn, I'm looking forward to any further stuff you might turn up in NY in that era.
                Well, thanks for the encouragement, Ausgirl. The murder of four-year-old Charlie Murray occurred in early May, yet I'm not able to find many New York papers archived for the month of April. I think I'll broaden the search to "all newspapers" in an effort to fill in the gap in time. Charlie's family was Catholic, while the Cohns and Eckers were Jewish, so the killer seemed indiscrimate as far as those details went. Charlie's older sister was eight, and claimed to have seen a man in the hallway-- she was actually used as a police witness.
                Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
                ---------------
                Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
                ---------------

                Comment


                • #9
                  Apparently Leonore Cohn had a handful of short, grey hair. Which might narrow her killer's age group down somewhat. Putting it squarely in Albert Fish territory, hehehe.

                  Some articles, sorry if you already have them:

                  http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...639C946496D6CF

                  http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...639C946496D6CF

                  http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...639C946496D6CF


                  I doubt Cumonella had the language skills to pen any of those notes. I found a couple I hadn't seen before, in those articles.

                  They really damned well sound like Albert Fish though, same cockiness, taunting, cruelty. I'll go out on a limb here and say it'd be worth seriously checking out his general whereabouts in that particular year, keeping in mind that he also travelled between states a bit.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the links ausgirl. the grey hair is the obvious clue I wonder why it's not mentioned in those three times articles. I wonder if cuomonella had grey hair? He's described as 45 & 49. It's most likely a neighbor I would think. The only similarity with the ripper murders i noticed is how the neighbors were said to be very close by but didn't hear a thing. Interesting about the black hand letter rumor also. Does make you wonder about John Gill a bit

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      trying to delete this error duplicate post...
                      Last edited by Pcdunn; 02-26-2015, 10:44 AM. Reason: Duplicate post
                      Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
                      ---------------
                      Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
                      ---------------

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi,folks,

                        Your N.Y. archive is very user-friendly, Ausgirl, maybe you should take over this investigation. My difficulty with the LoC's Historical Newspaper collection is figuring out how to capture the articles with only an iPad. They use images of the pages, and rely on OCR to produce text files, BUT if the original article is of poor print quality, the text produced is gibberish. Then I need to fall back on notebook and pen to transcribe the content.

                        Last night I transcribed an article from April 1, 1915, about the third letter sent to poor Mrs. Cohn. It has some interesting details, to follow in another post.
                        Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
                        ---------------
                        Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
                        ---------------

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Third Letter to Mrs. Cohn

                          Source: The Evening World (New York, N.Y), Thursday, April 1, 1915.

                          "H. B. RICHMOND" IS AGAIN HEARD FROM IN "RIPPER" MURDER /
                          This Time He Writes About a Man Who
                          Paid to Have Girl Killed


                          A letter addressed to Mrs. Anna Cohn, mother of the child who was murdered at No. 350 Third Avenue two weeks ago, was received to-day by Leo Eckert [sic], Mrs. Cohn's cousin. The young man hurried with the letter to Police Headquarters, where he saw Deputy Commissioner Frank Lord and Capt. Gildes of the Second Branch Detective Bureau.
                          They were surprised to find that the letter was in the same handwriting as the two "H. B. Richmond" letters already received by Mrs. Cohn. One of these was on the paper of the of the Republican Club of New York City and denounced the "rag picking police" and the other was posted in Brooklyn, signed "H.B. Richmond or Jack the Ripper", and also denounced the "rag picking police."
                          In the second letter the writer demanded $100, for which price he offered to find the murderer of little Leonore Cohn, and he threatened that if he were not paid he would do a fearful murder and then see whether the police could find him.
                          In to-day's letter, which is signed "H. Richmond," the crank professes sympathy with the afflicted mother. He writes:
                          "I want to be a friend to you, and I am really sorry for your poor child.
                          "I was writing threatening letters for a reason and was getting paid for it. This fellow paid for the killing of the child. I know more fellows who know all about this case." [END OF ARTICLE]

                          This third letter probably got the police thinking of the Black Hand and similar societies of crime, and indeed does seems to bring up the idea of "contract killings". Not Albert's style at all, I venture to say-- if he was involved in the first letter, I don't think he sent this one.
                          Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
                          ---------------
                          Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
                          ---------------

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pcdunn View Post
                            Hi,folks,

                            Your N.Y. archive is very user-friendly, Ausgirl, maybe you should take over this investigation. My difficulty with the LoC's Historical Newspaper collection is figuring out how to capture the articles with only an iPad. They use images of the pages, and rely on OCR to produce text files, BUT if the original article is of poor print quality, the text produced is gibberish. Then I need to fall back on notebook and pen to transcribe the content.

                            Last night I transcribed an article from April 1, 1915, about the third letter sent to poor Mrs. Cohn. It has some interesting details, to follow in another post.
                            Nah, this is your baby, Pcdunn. But feel free to throw me some search terms if you're looking for something in particular. Those articles I linked I got by clicking 'download pdf version" or whatever on the preview page that comes up in google, if that helps. Very handy feature, bless whoever took the time to make these copies available.

                            Our 'trove' site does that garbling thing, too, so I spend a fair amount of time transcribing/correcting those. It's a pain sometimes.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              .

                              Were there more murders of children in 1915 in New York? I googled but coudn't find much information.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X